The Finnish company behind the open-source file system NTFS-3G, Tuxera, has announced it has signed a confidential intellectual-property agreement with Microsoft about creating a Linux exFAT driver which they will sell to Linux OEMs. They are in talks with Microsoft about an open source exFAT driver.
“The confidential Intellectual Property Agreement is basically about patents and giving us access to some Windows source code,” Tuxera chief executive Mikko VÃ¤limÃ¤ki told ZDNet UK, “ExFAT is part of the forthcoming SDCX standard for flash cards, and we’ll be selling our driver to OEMs for devices like cameras.”
Tuxera is also talking with Microsoft about the possibility of an open source exFAT driver for Linux. “We’re talking to Microsoft about an open-source exFAT driver, but that’s not covered by the agreement,” VÃ¤limÃ¤ki said, “We cannot sell end-user proprietary drivers, we can only sell exFAT on Linux to OEMs at present.”
When it comes to NTFS, Tuxera has a dual-licensing scheme, producing an open source variant and a proprietary one. The proprietary one has additional features making it a better fit for certain specific purposes. VÃ¤limÃ¤ki claims there are no patent issues with NTFS. “Microsoft has never publically said anything about patent issues with NTFS. Our open-source NTFS driver has been available for 10 years, and our commercial driver for two.”
He added: “We’ll be licensing our Linux NTFS under the GPL, and we have an agreement with Microsoft. If you’re a user, you don’t need to worry about Microsoft. We’ll deal with them directly.”