M$ to license FAT

Tim Writer tim-s/rLXaiAEBtBDgjK7y7TUQ at public.gmane.org
Wed Dec 10 00:46:42 UTC 2003

Taavi Burns <taavi-LbuTpDkqzNzXI80/IeQp7B2eb7JE58TQ at public.gmane.org> writes:

> On Mon, Dec 08, 2003 at 02:10:15PM -0500, Tim Writer wrote:
> > And Linux already offers file systems that are more appropriate for this type
> > of use. JFFS2, for example, includes wear leveling to minimize wear which can
> > cause certain types of flash devices to fail much earlier than expected.
> > IIRC, FAT stores critical information (the file allocation table and a single
> > backup) in a fixed area of the file system.  When it fails due to wear,
> > you're toast, even if the majority of the device is in good shape.
> Most (all?) of the standard Flash memory devices these days have onboard
> controllers which can detect failing sectors in the flash memory, and will
> reroute data to spare sectors, much as HDs do these days.

Are you sure?  The JFFS2 folks don't seem to think so and anecdotal evidence
seems to bear me out.

> Of course, if the filesystem can help out, all the better. :)
> > In fact, many (most?) such products already come with software from the
> > manufacturer, even if it's not stricly necessary.
> But do you want to encourage this behaviour?

No, but this is a way of life that Windows users are used to.  Moving to
JFFS2 (or any trusty, open source file system) would make Linux easier to use
at the expense of Windows.  Wouldn't that be nice, for a change?

> And how many distros come with JFFS2 drivers?

Not many at present, I expect.  How many came with ext3 when it first came

> Is it even part of the standard kernel
> source (it doesn't look familar to me; then again, I haven't been
> looking for it).

Not yet.

> There is still the question of which would cost
> more: VFAT licensing (if even required), or the writing and maintenance
> of a driver.  We might be happy if they came out with some random
> open source Windows driver (that couldn't very well be GPL, now, could
> it), but others might get a "bad" feeling about it.

Cost (because it would appear to be minimal) isn't the issue.  The concern is
that Linux could be forced to drop FAT support (due to patent infringement)
making these devices less convenient to use from within Linux.  An open
source alternative like JFFS2 is a win-win solution.

tim writer <tim-s/rLXaiAEBtBDgjK7y7TUQ at public.gmane.org>                                  starnix inc.
905.771.0017 ext. 225                           thornhill, ontario, canada
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