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Re: Vfat or NTFS?

On Sun, Mar 07, 2010 at 06:50:12PM +0000, Russell Gadd wrote:
> I've been using Vfat for data partitions which I can access from both Linux
> and Windows (multibooted). Recently I added another hard drive formatted
> NTFS and have had no trouble getting Lenny to use it.
> I am wondering now whether to convert my Vfat partitions to NTFS as there
> are some advantages. For example I recently forgot about the 4GB file
> restriction of Vfat when trying to download a DVD iso - it got to 4GB then
> gave up so I had to redownload again to the NTFS volume. I suspect NTFS is
> more reliable at least in Windows. Are there any potential issues in Linux -
> e.g. reliability / speed.
> Should I go NTFS now for my data files? (keeping the main Lenny root
> filesystem on an ext3 partition).

Just my experience but:

1) VFAT is a terrible filesystem with all sorts of restrictions, not least
   filesize and encoding issues.
2) NTFS (using ntfs-3g) performs terribly on Linux.  The FUSE driver is
   slow, and this makes data transfer a very lengthy affair.  No idea
   about reliability, but I think it's better than it was and I've not
   run into issues myself.

Note that there's a third option: EXT2.

Ext2 obviously works very well on Linux.  Using the EXT2IFS driver for
Windows, you can use Ext2/3 filesystems on Windows as well.

The main restrictions are that you need to format the filesystem with a
128 byte inode size, and you can't use an ext3 journal (but you can use
it as ext3 in Linux).  It also ignores the ownership/permissions and
gives you access to everything.  I formatted like this:

mkfs -t ext3 -v -I 128 -j -L disklabel -m 0 -O sparse_super -O dir_index -O filetype -O large_file /dev/sdxn

and I can now use a filesytem without filesize limitations, encoding issues,
performance issues etc. on both Linux and Windows.

I use this on a 500GB RAID1 array connected via FireWire 800, and it's
*fast*.  With ntfs-3g, it crawled due to maxing out my CPU.


  .''`.  Roger Leigh
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