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Re: [vox] re. FAT size restrictions
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Re: [vox] re. FAT size restrictions

Something I'd like to clarify on an old discussion here...

FAT32 is *not* VFAT.  VFAT refers to FAT16 (and also FAT12 used on
floppies, I think) with long filename (LFN) support.  It creates the
illusion that the file systems support long filesnames and even has a
backward compatibility, but it's actually a wild hack.  As far as I know,
there is no other difference between VFAT and FAT16 (and probably FAT12).

On Linux, the VFAT module also has the code to support FAT32.  I haven't
looked at the FAT32 file structure to see whether if it still uses the
hack or has a completely different structure than FAT16, but I wouldn't be
surprised if it uses the same hacked structure.

I've written a document on how FAT16 is manupulated to store LFN.  I don't
have a copy with me at the moment but a little googling finds a copy


Like Linus said, who needs to backup the hard drive when you can post it
on the Internet and let the others back it up for you? ^_-


On Fri, 17 Jan 2003, ME wrote:

> Richard S. Crawford said:
> > On Fri, 2003-01-17 at 11:18, ME wrote:
> >> Richard S. Crawford said:
> >> > When I had the shared partition formatted as FAT32, I saw a kernel
> >> > message claiming that FAT32 write support was alpha-level only, which
> >> > is why I switched to FAT16.
> > On Fri, 2003-01-17 at 11:18, ME wrote:
> >> Where did you see this? (I'd like to know, to read about it more.)
> >> Are you sure it was not a reference to Linux on the Alpha (DEC chip
> >> fame) and not alpha-software?
> Richard S. Crawford said:
> > Hm, it showed up in my boot log.  I quote (from my boot log):  "fsck:
> > Warning: FAT32 support is still ALPHA"
> >
> > Of course, these are the boot messages that fly by as my system is
> > booting up.  Looking at it now, it seems that perhaps reading and
> > writing to FAT32 would be just fine, just that fsck won't work reliably
> > on the FAT32 partition.
> >
> > Okay, so maybe I did misunderstand the message... Did I?
> In some ways, what you read could be interpreted as support for fat32 on
> linux as being alpha, but I would disagree.
> :-/    <--- (my, "difficult decision was made" face)
> The Linux kernel's support for fat32 (vfat) is very, very stable. It has
> been supported for a long time - and then some. Of course, some people
> view (rightly or not -- not trying to start any holy wars) that Linux is
> not just the kernel but also the whole distro (which includes the support
> files, applications, libs, etc.)
> In this way, for these people, since fsck is a support application that
> comes with the OS on most (all?) distros, and its support for fat32 is
> alpha, then some may suppose the limiting factor for complete support of
> fat32 is fsck, and fsck is alpha so therefore fat32 support in Linux is
> alpha...
> However, there are other tools for checking fat32 filesystems. Some are
> proprietary, and others are "free" while some can be practiced by the
> truely sick, twisted, and dimented. ]:>
> "mtools" may have something, and then there is dosfsck sometimes symlinked
> as fsck.vfat to the real app name.
> For my distro, fat32 support is very stable, whether you look at Linux as
> just the kernel or the kernel and support software.
> You may be able to install a more stable (for fat32) filesystem checker of
> fat32 systems. You wilol need to consult you distro's info on this. There
> may be an extra package to install like one with "dosfsck" to permit use
> of a non-alpha-testing-fsck-for-fat32.
> HTH,
> -ME
> --
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Mark K. Kim
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