Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Sep 2012 21:45 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Microsoft and RIM have announced that RIM has licensed Redmond's exFAT patents. The press release contains a ridiculous amount of hyperbole nonsense, and if you translate it into regular people speak, it basically comes down to RIM paying Microsoft protection money for stupid nonsensical software patents. Ridiculous articles like like this make it seem as if we're talking about patents on major technological breakthroughs, but don't be fooled: this is because for some inexplicable reason, we're using crappy FAT for SD cards.
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RE: Metadata
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 19th Sep 2012 01:44 UTC in reply to "Metadata"
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

Problem is, FAT gets incredibly inefficient the larger you make your partition. You would have to be nuts to actually want to format a 128GB drive or partition with FAT, and I wouldn't really want to make a FAT partition with a size of 64GB either. There's a reason Microsoft has placed an artificial limitation in Windows and FDISK versions starting with Windows 98 (though maybe excluding Windows ME): FAT SUCKS on larger volumes.

It's not just to get you over to NTFS (although that is no doubt the primary reason). But in this case, they're actually right: it does make more sense to use NTFS instead of FAT on larger partitions. Far more sense, in fact. Cluster sizes jump from 16K to 32K in volumes over 32GB, leading to more slack space, especially if you have a decent number of small files. The larger the partition is, the larger the file allocation table becomes, to the point of being a massive waste of space on its own. The FAT, quite literally, gets fat.

Only potential exception: flash memory devices. NTFS is not designed to work well with those and their finite number of writes per block. I guess if you're only going to put a bunch of large videos and similar files on it you might be fine, but watch out for another potential problem: FAT has a file size limit of 4GB. Sorry, no full-size DVD images here.

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/partSlack-c.html [slack space]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/partCluster-c.html [partition/cluster sizes]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/partFAT32-c.html [FAT sizes]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/part.htm [the whole site]
http://www.allensmith.net/Storage/HDDlimit/FAT32.htm [another site with some information]

I was forced at one point to use FAT32 to format one of my external hard drives to be able to use it to play music from while playing my Xbox 360. If I had the choice to use another file system, I would not have resisted at all. Even NTFS would have been nice--another Microsoft file system that is much faster, more efficient and more reliable with large drives, but the system would only accept FAT.

FAT just sucks, and exFAT is every bit as bad when it comes to these patents that Microsoft was granted and is enforcing. Not to mention its support outside of Windows before Vista sucks, as does its use as a general cross-platform-compatible "universal" file system.

Edited 2012-09-19 01:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Metadata
by Lobotomik on Wed 19th Sep 2012 05:19 in reply to "RE: Metadata"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

Not that I think that FAT or exFAT is anything other than a POS, but who cares about cluster sizes of 32K when the files are mostly going to be media files a couple megs long (pics or songs)?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Metadata
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 19th Sep 2012 06:24 in reply to "RE[2]: Metadata"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

I don't know about you, but my Android device doesn't even take pictures that are "a couple megs long." ;)

They're far smaller and more compressed than that. I'm surprised to see it produce one that is even 1MB in size. I don't know about you, but I also have other small file like simple text files that I make and use and on a regular basis on my phone. Surely there might be some small PDF files, and many configuration files scattered around too. I tried to format the microSD card with ext2 right when I got the phone and ditch the pre-formatted FAT file system, but Android won't recognize it and just asked to re-format it with FAT. That should not be the case given that it runs the Linux kernel; hell, version 2.2.2 of Android that it runs uses ext4 as the OS file system. So, well, I'm forced into FAT. Again. Yay.

I would like to ditch FAT on every machine I have, except in a rare FreeDOS virtual machine for nostalgia and fun, but it won't happen when companies keep supporting this wretched ancient family of file systems. And then you're got Microsoft extending the creaky thing far beyond its usefulness. Having had to use FAT32 with Win9x and experience (or should I say, put up with) the sudden disappearance of random system files and other files on a regular basis, I definitely have something against FAT. It is, IMO, complete trash. It needs to be accepted as what it is: obsolete technology that has long outlived its welcome.

There is no reason for a Linux-based device to enforce the use of such an old non-native DOS file system, and it's crazy that a piece of Microsoft hardware running a modified Windows NT kernel (the Xbox 360) requires FAT32 and will not operate with NTFS.

Edited 2012-09-19 06:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1