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FS-Portability of data-LCD-FAT?

Disregarding for the moment the talk about MS and their licensing issues about FAT, I am not a Hardware implementor, what is the Least Common Denominator for File Systems across operating systems and hardware? FAT, FAT32....? The reason I ask is, all of a sudden what started off as an indulgence in curiosity, has turned into some lucrative jobs in installing and configuring Linux Networks.

So, for existing data to be available for a rollback in case of design faults in the networking premises and assumptions, or for maintaining data to be shared across platforms, which filesystem is the safest bet. Additionally, though not required at the moment, what would be the LCD, should Security Descriptors also be a prerequisite?

Regards

KayJay

Indian Developer in India
Thursday, December 25, 2003

I'm not quite with you.

It doesn't matter in the least what the file system is if the data is to be stored across a network. The data is sent via a network protocol so a Linux machine can receive data stored on a Mac or PC and vice-versa.

On a local machine if you want data read/srite accessible from a Linux/windows dual boot configuration you use FAT32 but on a network you wouldn't want to use it as a file system.

Normally on a mixed network you would keep files on a Samba server, but think of the Intenet. You can access any file on any computer in the world independently of the file system if you have the correct seciurity clearances. Most of the intenet is data stored on Linux machines accessed by Windows or Macs.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, December 25, 2003

Sorry! I was not clear. That was not my Q. 

Here goes.....

Only File Sharing on LANs for the moment. Of course, SAMBA will be configured. That part's ok.

But most PCs will have to have Dual Boot and a Slave Disk where the data will reside for actual day-to-day work.  The Master will be partioned and 2 OSes will be installed with equivalent software installed on each, so that work remains un-interrupted.

And that is where the problem arises as
Linux cannot write to NTFS. Windows does not even recognize Ext2. Ext3, JFS, Resier, etc.. on Linux. Access from Windows? So FAT32 seems to be the only choice, but then folder security cannot be enforced.

?

Indian Developer in India
Thursday, December 25, 2003

That is correct. If you're dual booting, then FAT is the only file system that read/write on both Windows and Linux.

And no, Windows does not have any security on FAT.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Thursday, December 25, 2003

There are products that let you mount NTFS on Linux, or Ext2/3fs on Windows.

http://www.mount-everything.com/

It doesn't look like any security is enforced, though...  Not sure if there are free alternatives that do that... that's just the first thing that Google turned up.

John Rose
Thursday, December 25, 2003

Thanks for the info. Much appreciate it. I'll look up the site. Commercial solutions are not ruled out.

On a more general note, is FAT recognized by *all* OSes? Or are there any exceptions?

Once again, thanks.

Regards

KayJay

Indian Developer in India
Friday, December 26, 2003

There are hundreds of OS's out there- there are a huge number on x86 alone, and countless more on other architectures. 

Is FAT the closest thing to a lowest common denominator?  Yes.  It is recognized by the majority?  Yeah.  Is it recognized by all?  No, proabably not, given the huge number of OS's.

It's better to ask this question relative to a list specific OS's, rather than a vague term like "all OS's" because I highly doubt any one person is qualified to answer that.  :P

John Rose
Friday, December 26, 2003

Interesting. Are there really hundreds of OSes on x86? Or are they variants of some common base and therefore support FAT (About 30 years since invention, right?)?

A (not so?) comprehensive list of OSes can be found at

http://www.azillionmonkeys.com/qed/os.html

&

http://www.linuxmafia.com/cabal/os-suck.html

Any one that stands out as not supporting FAT?

Indian Developer in India
Friday, December 26, 2003

Do you have a real application? Your question is pedantic beyond belief. 

Curmudgeon
Friday, December 26, 2003

Dear Indian developer,
                                  Forget about FAT 16. Use FAT32, and no it isn't supported by all operating systems; NT4 won't read it and nor does Wndows 95 A or B (you need Win 95 OSR/2, sometimes called Win 95C or Win 97).

                                  I agree with the previous poster though; the setup you are talking about seems most strange. If you're using an office network why do you want to have all machines dual boot, and why are you keeping all data on the local drive?

Stephen Jones
Friday, December 26, 2003

"Use FAT32, and no it isn't supported by all operating systems; NT4 won't read it and nor does Wndows 95 A or B (you need Win 95 OSR/2, sometimes called Win 95C or Win 97)."

That's not correct.

NT 4 does not support it natively, but a 3rd party driver is available. Nor does NT 3.x, obviously. Nobody should be using NT 4 any more.

Windows 95 was the first OS with FAT32. And yes, I mean _original_ Windows 95. The original is not 95A, it's just 95. OSR2 is 95B, not 95C. There was never any 97. Oh, and nobody should be using Windows 95 any more.

Prior consumer OSes (DOS and Windows 3.x and earlier) support FAT 16, although I suppose if you went all the way back to DOS 1.x you could find an OS that doesn't even support FAT16.

That was an impressive number of errors for one (admittedly compound) sentence.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, December 26, 2003

You know what? I take it back, it was OSR2 that added FAT32. My bad.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Friday, December 26, 2003

Its a real situation. A small office of 25 machines. The job's sort of done. Proposals been accepted and implementation has begun.

My apologies for being pedantic. Generalization. The bane of my life!

And thanks again, one and all.

Regards

KayJay

Indian Developer in India
Friday, December 26, 2003

If there are errors Brad please take them up with Microsoft Press. All the information comes from the Windows 98 Resource Kit.

---" And yes, I mean _original_ Windows 95. The original is not 95A, it's just 95. OSR2 is 95B, not 95C. There was never any 97. "---

The Resource Kit states, in the section that deals with comparing FAT32 with FAT16 that you will need Windows 95 OSR/2.

The naming of Windows 95 A, B and C is a matter of confusion because MS changed the binaries they sent out but didn't actually change the version numbers. So you have Windows 95 A, B, and OSR/2, often referred to on compilations of software sold in India and the Gulf as Windows 95 C or Windows 97. The OP is from India remember.

I was talking about FAT32 not being supported by all operating systems, so your comments on DOS and FAT 16 are irrelevant to my posting.

There are still plenty of offices running NT4. Bear in mind that it is quite common for developing countries to buy older hardware second hand, that either may have NT4 still installed, or simply doesn't have the specs to successfully run W2k.

The fact that there are third party utlilities is irrelevant. It's like saying there's no problem running MS Office on Linux because you can use Wine. If you trust third party programs there are programs available that claim to let you write to NTFS partitions under Linux.

To paraphrase you Brad, that's rather a lot of misplaced pedantry for one post.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, December 27, 2003

Stephen Jones,

That's right. Old co. Old H/W. Old OSes (There's even one 486 with 3.1!).  Moved OSes mainly to avoid upgarding H/W since the org. is not an IT co. and as the main applications include only Word Processing and Accounting.  Until our recent changeover proposal, they did not even have a E-Mail/Web access.

<rant>
Hope they upgrade soon! I hate this Oliver Twist Syndrome.
</rant>

Indian Developer in India
Saturday, December 27, 2003

Ah, now I understand why you want to do the dual booting and keep stuff on the local drives.

One thing to beware of is the Linux distro you install. Most modern distros have hefty hardware requirements, so you would probably need at least two separate linux ihstalls, one for the old machines and one for the newer ones. With really old stuff ask them to think about upgrading; Pentium II's are now going for about 6000Rs second hand without the monitor which you will already have. Finding 100Mhz memory may be a problem though.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, December 27, 2003

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