Lingua franca file system Linux-NetBSD-FreeBSD?

Samuel Martín Moro faust64 at
Tue Aug 24 10:32:38 UTC 2010

the problem is not which version of mkfs (ext2fs) you use.
the problem is that BSD only handle ext2fs partitions with 128b inodes,
while default value is 256.
when running mkfs/newfs, be sure to specify -I 128

also, I won't recommand ntfs.
but, ntfs "works" correctly under BSD and Linux.
so, if you just want the partition to be read/writeable on both BSD and
Linux, and don't wan't to use 128b inodes, nor ext2, you may wanna consider
using fat (except the file size limit thing, it works great), or ntfs (quite
ugly, but still working)

Samuel Martín Moro
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On Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 11:53 AM, Thomas Mueller
<mueller6727 at>wrote:

> 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).
> Tom
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