Lingua franca file system Linux-NetBSD-FreeBSD?

Gustavo De Nardin gustavodn at
Wed Aug 25 00:14:20 UTC 2010

On 24 August 2010 06:53, 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?

I've been trying NTFS(-3g). It's been going well, with even occasional
Windows thrown in the mix. But it is very slow, mostly, I believe, due
to being an userspace implementation. And I do keep backups.

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

I've tested ext2/3 in the past, found it very risky to mix OSs (Linux
and FreeBSD only, though). FreeBSD's Ext2 seemed very lacky regarding
new FS features. I wouldn't risk it.

> 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?

IMHO NTFS should be better, also, NTFS-3G has an (opensource
friendly?) company behind it:

> 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.

I haven't seen recent horror stories about NTFS use on Linux, since
the userspace/fuse implementations. Haven't had any problemas myself
too. Except for a hiccup: one of the implementations (can't remember
which) would semi-silently ignore files/paths for which it couldn't
parse the charset, that it, it didn't copy the files/dirs, also didn't
error, just spit some mumbling in dmesg (this was on Linux also). So
beware of your FS charset.

As Joshua Isom mentioned, there's also UDF. But IIRC FreeBSD wasn't
able to write on it when I checked. Also slow compared to native FSs
(same league or worse than the userspace NTFSs). I'd love to go with
UDF, if only it had better support/performance.

And don't underestimate your backups.


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