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Thread: External USB/FireWire filesystem recommendations

  1. #1
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    Default External USB/FireWire filesystem recommendations

    So I'm on a quest of buying a new external drive (wallet type) since my mobile space needs have increased so much. However I'm debating on what filesystem(s) will better suite my needs. vFAT is one rather obvious option, however is better suited for smaller than 4Gb files, and I'm likely to surpass that limitation in the drive with some files, however, it is readily supported in RW by pretty much any OS on the planet. Another alternative would be to use NTFS, which might be a good idea, however it has two major drawbacks for my particular needs: 1) ntfs-3g with FUSE causes any transfers (while speedy) to heavily tax the CPU; and 2) It is not fully supported by MacOS... I will be using the drive in a mixed environment composed of pretty much Mac, Linux and maybe a few Windows machines, this would make the choice a nobrainer if it wasn't for the 4Gb limit of vFAT and limited support for NTFS under Mac (after all the intense CPU tax in Linux only occurs on large transactions, but I don't plan on doing much when the files are being synced, anyway). I played with the idea of using native Linux filesystems (Ext4) but again support for those under Mac or Windows isn't native, though MacFuse looks rather intersting for either NTFS _or_ Ext*.

    However, dealing with Ext* would bring the perms headaches (especially when dealing with heterogenous Linux flavors, i.e, user numbers vary from distro to distro), which i think could be easily circumvented by defaulting the partition to be o+rw, would have to think on that.

    What do you think?

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    The satanic rumor mill says UDF is well supported on all three. I have no experience on that, especially on a HD, comments anyone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    The satanic rumor mill says UDF is well supported on all three. I have no experience on that, especially on a HD, comments anyone?
    You mean UFS? UDF is only for optical media.

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    UFS is supported on windows?

    Yes, I mean UDF. The earlier versions, 1.something, should work all around, and yes, I've heard they are ok on hds.

    http://linux.die.net/man/8/mkudffs

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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    UFS is supported on windows?
    Ya there is a driver, not sure how it works on the newer versions of windows however.
    http://ufs2tools.sourceforge.net/

    Yes, I mean UDF. The earlier versions, 1.something, should work all around, and yes, I've heard they are ok on hds.

    http://linux.die.net/man/8/mkudffs
    I have honestly never heard of anyone using UDF for a hard drive, learn something new every day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanjo View Post
    Ya there is a driver, not sure how it works on the newer versions of windows however.
    http://ufs2tools.sourceforge.net/
    A driver like that is not as useful as native support; what about systems where you don't have admin privileges?
    And if you do, ext2 could be better. (I have no experience of UFS; perhaps it's faster than ext2).

    I glanced over the UDF spec, and it appears to support just about everything. POSIX permissions, symlinks, hard links, POSIX ACL, NTFS ACL, mac resource forks etc.


    Michael, how about a bench of UDF on a HD? If it's not too bad, and works on all three OSes, publicizing that would surely bring views After all that's not widely known.

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    Eh, fake edit, that's not a driver, so it might work without admin access.

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    Just an update. I did get the drive, and currently it is formatted as vFAT, however I'll look into that UDF thing and will have to decide between that or NTFS, as I've found the way for MacOS to have full support for it, apparently natively.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thetargos View Post
    ...NTFS, as I've found the way for MacOS to have full support for it, apparently natively.
    Scratch that... Apparently in the late Beta series of Snow Leopard, it had the ability for full NTFS support (RW) but it was removed in the final release. The iNTFS "package" contains a replacement of the 'mount_ntfs' binary file (substitutes the one already in the system) and as far I've been able to dig into the "app", it is the version from or circa the last pre-release version of Snow Leopard, what scares me is the possiblity of hidden backdoors, and other nasties since the .dmg will actually make an overwrite of a system binary.

    In the mean time, I'm digging a bit further into FUSE ntfs-3g on the Mac, and see if it offers the same as in Linux (i.e. zero-conf and auto-mount), and I'm willing to cope with the CPU tax it produces. By the way, does anyone know if MacFUSE support for ext2 (and ext3) supports automount and user attributes?

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