Lingua franca file system Linux-NetBSD-FreeBSD?

Thomas Mueller mueller6727 at
Tue Aug 24 09:44:57 UTC 2010

What is the best choice for a file system that can be read, and safely written to, by Linux, NetBSD and FreeBSD? 

With NetBSD through 5.1_RC3, I got "unsupported inode size" when trying to mount Linux ext2fs partition from NetBSD.

With FreeBSD through 7.2, I could mount, but got "Bad file descriptor" when trying to access the Linux partition.  With FreeBSD 8.0, I could mount and read the Linux partition, but in the only attempt to write to the ext2fs partition, I was editing a file with vi, and when I tried to write (save), the file was truncated.  I was able to recover by saving to FreeBSD file system and copying to msdos (FAT32) partition and subsequently copying to the Linux partition (this was a nonbootable USB stick used for data rather than Linux installation).  I haven't tried under FreeBSD 8.1 yet.

Would I have better luck using newfs_ext2fs from NetBSD or FreeBSD and possibly getting a flavor of ext2fs more to BSD's liking?  This would be for data as opposed to Linux installation.

There is the obvious possibility of using msdos (FAT32); I could run FreeDOS on such a partition as well as using the partition to share data between Linux, NetBSD and FreeBSD, and FreeDOS too.  Drawback is some problems getting long file names straight, and lack of case sensitivity.  But maybe FAT32 is the safest choice?

Linux, NetBSD and FreeBSD are supposed to be able to read and write NTFS partition, but I see from a very recent thread on this list, subject "Re: External HD", that writing to NTFS partition is very dangerous, and I figure that would be also true for NetBSD and Linux, and any other non-MS-Windows-NT-line OS that might have support for NTFS. 

There is also the caveat that such a data-sharing partition would have to be in a primary or extended/logical slice/partition, since Linux seems unable to read BSD disklabels, and NetBSD and FreeBSD can't read each other's disklabels.  Also, Linux and the BSDs go separate ways with some newer file systems (ext4fs, btrfs, jfs in Linux; zfs in FreeBSD).


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