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

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

RE[4]: Metadata
by moondevil on Wed 19th Sep 2012 12:17 in reply to "RE[3]: Metadata"
moondevil Member since:

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.


Which other filesystem do you know that is so universally accepted by most devices as FAT and its successors?

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Metadata
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 20th Sep 2012 00:21 in reply to "RE[4]: Metadata"
UltraZelda64 Member since:

That is NO EXCUSE for an operating system based on the Linux kernel to not just read and use an ext2/3/4-formatted microSD card that I formatted in Linux myself. Similarly, it's no excuse for a system with a modified NT-based kernel to refuse to use an NTFS file system that I formatted in Windows myself.

NTFS "interoperability" with systems other than Windows has been pretty decent for a while now thanks to FUSE and NTFS-3G with full read/write capability, although Microsoft would prefer that it wasn't. And even if it wasn't, considering Microsoft would like you to believe that no operating system other than their own exists in the world--even from that perspective it makes absolutely NO SENSE why FAT is required of a modern video game system released by them in 2005.

Consider all of the technical and graphical specifications the Xbox 360 has... some impressive stuff... and for external storage devices, it supports... FAT32?! WTF?!? Even Windows has moved away from it--I haven't used FAT partitions on my hard drives starting with Windows XP over a decade ago, and being the default I doubt many other people have either. The immensely improved reliability was well worth it (no more randomly lost files and fewer failed Windows boots), but the performance is much better too (as long as you stay on top of the excessive fragmentation and resulting slowdown typical of Windows...).

To put it simply, unless you are using DOS on ANY of your machines, you really do NOT need FAT for interoperability with all of your computers. Are you? I'm not. It's 2012, not 1990. And if a device (cell phone, digital camera) runs a kernel that natively supports its own file system, you should NOT be forbidden from formatting your storage device to that file system and using that instead of the lowest common denominator (FAT), especially in a time when dozens or hundreds of gigs have long been typical and FAT has been losing relevance for years. Hell, when I left Windows in late 2006 I was using NTFS, ISO9660 and the occasional UDF... no sign of FAT, anywhere.

Either way, my point still stands. If no one steps up and just says "fuck FAT" and uses something else instead, FAT will continue to be used indefinitely. It's cheap, it's simple, it's unreliable and inefficient and it's crap, but the first two parts seem to make up for the rest for most companies. There is no need for it in many cases, and once people start using (or even allowing) other file systems on their devices FAT will finally fade away. If not, we'll be constantly tormented by it on virtually all portable devices for decades to come, despite many better alternatives being available.

Of course, it doesn't help that Microsoft doesn't support any disk file systems other than their own three... other people have already brought this up as being anti-competitive, and I agree. Would it kill them to implement read/write support for ext2/ext3/ext4/UFS? Microsoft wants to keep everyone on FAT for their portable storage, so once flash drives are commonly seen in sizes like 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and bigger and capacities of 64GB and lower become more uncommon, they will already have the companies by the balls and easily get them to start using exFAT by default.

Then after that comes hardware support--and by hardware support, I mean exclusive exFAT support, because at such capacities any other version of FAT would make zero sense. And with the active patents on the exFAT file system... well, you can guess what will happen next if someone implements it and doesn't pay Microsoft the toll. By then, it'll be time for Microsoft to start cashing in the big bucks, whether a company pays Microsoft for a license or they end up being taken to court (assuming the court doesn't invalidate the patent(s) in the process).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Metadata
by lucas_maximus on Wed 19th Sep 2012 12:43 in reply to "RE[3]: Metadata"
lucas_maximus Member since:

Xbox 360 does not use a Modified Windows NT kernel.

According to Microsoft, it is a common misconception that the Xbox and Xbox 360 use a modified Windows 2000 kernel.[36] They claim that the Xbox operating system was built from scratch but implements a subset of Windows APIs. The idea that it does, indeed, run a modified copy of the Windows kernel still persists in the community

Be glad to be able to use FAT 32 because I had to use older filesystems ... Sun Ray Machines don't even recognize FAT32, they only recognise FAT12 and FAT16.

Edited 2012-09-19 12:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Metadata
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 20th Sep 2012 00:25 in reply to "RE[4]: Metadata"
UltraZelda64 Member since:

If the Xbox 360 does in fact *not* actually use a modified version of the NT kernel, that is still no excuse for using FAT when NTFS was already well on its way to becoming the PC standard if it wasn't already--and default (due to Windows XP)--well before the time of the system's release.

I briefly read the page linked from the Wikipedia article you pointed out, and honestly... the way it was written (vaguely), I'm not so sure it's talking about the *kernel* as much as it's referring to the complete *operating system* that the machine runs. I would have to guess it's talking about the whole deal. Duh, obviously it doesn't run a complete Windows OS--I wasn't implying that at all. But I seriously doubt that Microsoft built a brand-new kernel 100% from scratch, and surely they didn't take much if anything from the DOS kernel when they've got NT and would be better off rewriting parts that are not already in it.

That blog entry doesn't really make it clear (to be fair, I just kind of skimmed through it), but it sounds to me like they're talking about the system as a whole... I see no mention specifically of the kernel, which I still would assume is NT-based. It does mention that the OS was built from the "ground up," but if I wanted to bad enough I could build an OS from the ground up based on the Linux kernel. It might share the userland and have the same kernel as the rest, but hey... it'd be built from the ground up.

Reply Parent Score: 0