Lingua franca file system Linux-NetBSD-FreeBSD?

Thomas Mueller mueller6727 at
Wed Aug 25 10:46:56 UTC 2010

>From "Samuel Martín Moro" <faust64 at>:

> 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)

This (mkfs/newfs for ext2fs) might be worth trying, at least on a partition where Linux is not installed.  I could also try ntfs on an experimental basis.  Between Linux, NetBSD and FreeBSD, I wouldn't have to worry about being compatible with Microsoft's latest version of ntfs.

>From "Polytropon" <freebsd at>:

> There is a way around this: Put the files to be transferred into
> a tar archive. In this way, only the archives name will have to
> obey 8.3, and its content will keep intact (case sensitive long
> file names); the only downside is that extraction in DOS will
> result in 8.3 filenames again (there's TAR.EXE for DOS).

> Know that tar is the "most universal file system". :-) I did use
> this approach in the past when having to fransfer files between
> non-networked UNIX and Linux systems via floppy disk: Simply used
> tar directly on the device (which's device name was of course
> different on all the systems).

Sort of a nuisance having to archive and extract every time, I could even use gzip or bzip2 to create a .tgz or .tbz
But FreeDOS, using the file software imported from Unix (ls and other) will show long file names on FAT32 or even a CD.

> I've also seen enclosures for hard disks including a CIFS share
> management system via their network connection. A built-in browser-
> accessible configuration tool can be used for customization. As
> there is no separate software on the hard disk itself, the disk
> can be replaced easily (if full or defective). This would be an
> acceptable add-on for the PC in a one-PC-setting.

I'm not familiar with this, don't know how I'd set it up.

> An option would be to avoid the file system level at all. Maybe that's
> not a solution to your requirements, but let me mention this: In a
> interoperability environment, I did use a disk enclosure with built-in
> FTP server. In this way, all OSes can r/w access its content via FTP.
> There are no limits regarding 8.3 filenames. Even MacOS X runs well
> in such a setting. The downside, of course, is that you have to run
> a FTP session for every transfer (instead of just mounting a disk's
> partition), but it's basically no problem to use a kind of "FTP-backed
> file system", I think I have seen this in some KDE or Gnome...

I'm not familiar with this and wouldn't know how to set this up.  Check disk enclosures on ?

>From "Christer Solstrand Johannessen" <christer at>:

> I've successfully used CIFS/Samba and NFS between Linux, OpenBSD,
> FreeBSD, Solaris and Windows for years. Easy to set up and works well.

> If there are no Windows clients involved, I'd use NFS or AFS; with
> Windows in the mix, CIFS/Samba may be a better choice as Windows NFS
> clients are dodgy at best.

Can this be done all within one computer, or do I need a second computer?

>From "Andy Ruhl" <acruhl at>:

> I thought UDF was supposed to be the solution to all of this. A friend
> of mine had a USB external hard disk formatted with UDF and it worked
> fine with both Linux and Windows. I think it's not as common for
> formatting magnetic disk based filesystems as it probably should be
> though. It's mostly used for DVDs.

I've heard of UDF, recognized it as a file system for DVDs, can't find it specifically on my system but find two DVD-related packages.


>From "Bruce Cran" <bruce at>:

> I've not tried it recently, but I think UFS (both UFS1 and UFS2 seem to
> be supported) should work well; since 2.6.29 Linux has supported
> writing to UFS too; you may need to recompile the kernel to add support
> for writing depending on how old the kernel is, but
> says simply that ufs2 has read-write support.

I see, I could use ufstype=44bsd.  I've read a NetBSD partition that way from Linux but wasnn't sufficiently daring to attempt to write to it.  I could try it on an experimental basis, on a partition where NetBSD or FreeBSD is not installed.  Do something like newfs /dev/ad0s8? 

Thanks to all for the helpful suggestions!


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