Recently I bought a new external harddrive. I asked myself is there a good
reason today to leave it formated with fat32 (sometimes even in fat16!). Many of todays filesystems have superior features, but is there also a filesystem with the cross platform compatibility of FAT?My requirements for the filesystem
- good compatibility with my main operating system: mac os x
- high filesize limits
- unix filesystem permissions
- journaling if possible
While writing this entry I found an excellent article that covers many point's (so I don't have to): move your data
It explores the positives and negatives of the different filesystems. It's main focus is on a filesystem that is accessable by windows and linux.The idea of two partitions
My personal focus is on data that is read&writable with linux and mac os x and at least readable under windows.
I begun conducting research on this filesystem question. I discovered the idea of two partitions on a jumpdrive.
A small partition formatted with fat32 which is readily mountable in windows and everywhere. The second,larger and main partition is formatted with the more "special" filesystem.
On the small partition I place a driver or other applications that allow access to the more specially formatted partition. Furthermore if you can't or don't want to install the driver you can store some files directly on the FAT partition.First run with EXT3
Ext3 was my main filesystem with linux, has unix permissions, journaling and a driver for windows
. It covers all my requirements (at least I thought so). No journaling with windows, but I won't use it often with windows so I could live with that. Thus I decided to take this way.
As I didn't have my macbook pro back then I couldn't test the filesystem with osx. As the future showed the osx driver is not stable. The first and only time I had kernel crashes was while using this driver. Alternatively I tried to use the fuse ext2 driver
- no success. Time to find a new filesystem.Success with HFS+
My next try with hfs+ - the standard os x filesystem - was successful.
It mounts without manual work in my Ubuntu GNU/Linux box and has limited support for windows.
A fileexplorer (readonly) for Windows XP is HFSExplorer
For more drivers and information see the wikipedia article for HFS+
HFS+ is mounted readonly, to enable the write support within linux I had to disable the journal of the HFS+ partition, see http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_hfsplus
. It's sad I have to disabe the journal, but at least I get write support if I need it. Don't forget to reenable the journal afterwards ;-)