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21 January 2013, 11:24

GPLv3 driver for exFAT reaches version 1.0

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ExFAT project member Andrew Nayenko has released version 1.0.0 of fuse-exfat, a filesystem driver that can read and write to Microsoft's exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) filesystem. Like the Ntfs-3G NTFS driver that is used in Linux distributions, the exFAT driver is based on FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) and works under Linux as well as OS X. In a short test with Fedora 18, reading from and writing to a USB flash drive that was freshly formatted with exFAT worked fine.

The exfat-fuse driver took three years of development time and nine beta versions to reach version 1.0.0. In addition to the driver, the exFAT project also offers an exfat-utils package to download that includes programs for creating and checking exFAT drives. Like the driver, the tool collection is released under the GPLv3 licence.

The exFAT filesystem is easier to implement than NTFS and, unlike its FAT32 predecessor, it can store files that are larger than 4 GB. It was designed mainly for storage media that uses flash chips, such as USB flash drives, memory cards or the storage media that is used in smartphones and tablets. Previously, a commercial driver by Tuxera, the makers of Ntfs-3G, was the only way of writing to or reading from exFAT drives. For this driver, Tuxera signed a licence agreement with Microsoft, which holds patents on various technologies that are used in exFAT and charges licence fees for exFAT implementations – it is likely that many Linux distributors won't include fuse-exfat in their products for this reason.


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