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[5]: Metadata
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 20th Sep 2012 00:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Metadata"
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[6]: Metadata
by moondevil on Thu 20th Sep 2012 06:51 in reply to "RE[5]: Metadata"
moondevil Member since:

You know that there are many other types of computers besides desktops, right?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Metadata
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 20th Sep 2012 08:19 in reply to "RE[6]: Metadata"
UltraZelda64 Member since:

You know that there are many other types of computers besides desktops, right?

Yes. And you know there are other file systems besides FAT, right?

Coding in support for a few file systems more modern than that creaky old thing developed back in the 1970s with 8.3 file names and a kludge for what has become known as "long filenames" wouldn't kill anyone, would it?

Is it really so much to ask that the portable devices we actually spend money on be designed to accept the small handful of file systems that are native to the operating systems installed on our desktops/laptops/tablets/etc., which they are supposedly designed to connect with in the first place? Or even the file system(s) native to the kernel the fucking device itself it running (Android=ext2/3/4)? If it's removable storage (SD, microSD, etc.), you should be given the choice. Simple as that.

It's not like they would have to support microwave ovens, traffic light control systems, space shuttles, and supercomputers. Just the types of machines that normal people would plug a typical cell phone, camera or other portable device into using a USB cable.

Just to make it clear: Supporting other operating systems does NOT fucking mean you have to immediately drop FAT support, and therefore all of those Windows machines already out there that Microsoft continues to stubbornly and anti-competitively not allow interoperability with the rest of the computing world.

Reply Parent Score: 1