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[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by phoudoin on Wed 19th Sep 2012 08:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
phoudoin
Member since:
2006-06-09

The problem isn't the FAT file system. The problem is that Microsoft refuses to support any free file system which could be used. As such, they are leveraging their monopoly in the desktop market to affect another.


So true.
But their monopoly in the desktop market matters less than it used to.
Today, all major mobile OSes but Windows Phone are perfectly able to support free file systems out of box, making formatting your SD card in FAT less mandatory, except if you often move your SD card out of your phone to your desktop or you pro camera.

And this put Windows Phone in an unique position: being the late competitor, users wanting to switch to Windows Phone may ask more and more to be able to keep their SD card content from their current Android or iOS mobile device without having to reformat first them into exFAT, possibly forcing MS to actually support at least one free file system like ext2/3/4.

May I was Google, I'll push to format by default any new SD card inserted in an Android device to a free file system. Could be a good marketing operation too: see, we don't use patented/proprietary technology that could trap your private data.

That is grounds for anti trust actions. The easy and obvious way to avoid this would be for them to implement ext2/3/4. But then they wouldn't be able to sue over it.


Or the open source community to implement it for Windows plateforms. Someone will first have to cover the Windows FS kit cost, though.

An alternative could be to keep FAT32, but store only two files on it: a set of 4Gb "block" files hosting a guest free file system in it, and one single file, relying on auto-run feature: a free Windows tool to manage the guest file system within block files. Like the ZeroCD trick used by USB devices these days to embebded their drivers, but for file system.

Zero-FAT, or FAT-free, isn't that cool names for a technology!?

;-)

Edited 2012-09-19 08:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by smashIt on Wed 19th Sep 2012 10:02 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

FAT at least up to FAT32 is patentfree
long filenames are patented, but you don't need to support them
in fact i haven't seen a single camera that uses something different than 8.3 naming

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by phoudoin on Wed 19th Sep 2012 13:19 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

FAT at least up to FAT32 is patentfree
long filenames are patented, but you don't need to support them
in fact i haven't seen a single camera that uses something different than 8.3 naming


Today SD cards aren't anymore used to store photos.
I'm seeing a pattern where the SD card is becoming to mobile devices what the USB keys are to desktop/laptop computers: removable storage.

In that context, it matters more to have better file system features set on the new removable storage support than when it was used only for music and photos.

And the only reason why [ex]FAT[32] is still this file system is for out-of-box interoperability with Windows users, and because the main use case was to make a copy of your data stored on your main Windows computer to be able to access (read, mostly) them from a mobile device.

This use case is moving toward a less desktop centric storage, via cloud and/or versatile compact storage support like SD cards and where the content can be generated directly from the mobile device.

The once mandatory file system seamless integration with Windows thru FAT can now be replaced with a software manager tool, as one could do with tarballs for instance.

My point is that even if Microsoft can forbid Windows to support natively all file systems but theirs, it's perfectly possible to use the plain old FAT with 8.3 names as a backend to a far more open, free guest file system that would launch automatically the software manager on a Windows system.

A FATPatent-free solution.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Neolander on Wed 19th Sep 2012 14:48 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

FAT at least up to FAT32 is patentfree
long filenames are patented, but you don't need to support them
in fact i haven't seen a single camera that uses something different than 8.3 naming

IIRC, it's not even long filename support that is patented, but simultaneous support of long and short filenames.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by kovacm on Wed 19th Sep 2012 17:18 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
kovacm Member since:
2010-12-16

FAT32? Patents worth MILLIONS of dollars??

yeah, right...

It was overturned partly on the basis of 20-year old Usenet posts Linus Tordvals and an anonymous Atari hacker made when someone asked how to implement long filenames. The ideas they sketched up off the top of their heads was what FAT32 did. i.e. It was obvious to someone skilled in the field.

journal articles on subject: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/ms-patent/

and source from 1992.:

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/comp.os.minix/0r...
https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/comp.sys.atari.s...

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by dsmogor on Wed 19th Sep 2012 12:57 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

That's way too late. You'd have to re-flash billions of gadgets that have FAT support in their guts.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by phoudoin on Wed 19th Sep 2012 13:25 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

Why reflash?
Publish a software manager with a migration feature that will turn your current FAT content into a FAT-hosted file system.

With some tricks, you can possibly make the new hosted file system easy to detect on systems with native support, making it mountable directly.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by vaette on Wed 19th Sep 2012 14:10 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

Or the open source community to implement it for Windows plateforms. Someone will first have to cover the Windows FS kit cost, though.

This happened over a decade ago actually, you can get a fully functional ext2 driver for Windows here: http://www.fs-driver.org/

It is really an excellent piece of work, all features one would expect work: UTF-8 filenames, plugging into Windows disk caching system, you handle the partitions in the normal Windows disk tools, you can have the pagefile on ext2, it supports the more advanced indexing of ext3, and it is in general lightning fast. I always point this driver out when people complain about interfacing with NTFS from Linux, since using ext2 in Windows is really a lot easier. The only issue is the lack of journaling, but to be honest it is not an all that big deal for a desktop PC.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by phoudoin on Wed 19th Sep 2012 20:11 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

Great.
Let's reformat our sdcard into ext2/3 and install this driver on our Windows machine and bye bye exFAT patent trap.

Reply Parent Score: 0