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Old 09-15-2008, 06:48 PM   #1
infekt
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EXT3 or FAT32 for sharing files?


Hi there! I just bought myself a nice 500GiB hard drive and I'm contemplating whether to have it run FAT32 or EXT3. Can anyone tell me some of the advantages and disadvantages of using either filing system? I know that XP will be able to read the FAT32 filing system but not EXT3. EXT3 has journaling which is always good since I like to play around with my linux box.

The main purpose of the drive is to store entertainment (videos, music, photos). I have a SAMBA server running that allows me to share content with Windows machines and NFS with Linux machines. I'm running MediaTomb to share these files with my Playstation 3 too.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated. What have other people got setup and how does it affect performance?

Thanks.

Last edited by infekt; 09-15-2008 at 08:38 PM. Reason: errors
 
Old 09-15-2008, 06:54 PM   #2
billymayday
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You can read ext3 from Windows with ext2ifs.

Fat32 is pretty much outdated, has a 2gb filesize limit, and apart from Windows being able to read it natively, has no discernible advantages.

If you plan to share over Samba, then you are far better off with ext3, and as you point out, journaling is a plus.
 
Old 09-15-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
mostlyharmless
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If you make ext3 make sure you use 128 byte inodes not the new default 256 byte inodes or ext2ifs won't work.
 
Old 09-15-2008, 08:43 PM   #4
David1357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infekt View Post
Any and all suggestions are appreciated. What have other people got setup and how does it affect performance?
I share files on my dual boot laptop using the NTFS partition. NTFS support in recent kernels is very stable. I have been using NTFS with Linux for over two years now without any problems.

I use a symbolic link from the NTFS partition to the EXT3 partition to allow me to use the same Thunderbird Mail directory when running Windows and Linux. I have been doing this for six months without any problems.

NTFS gives you the advantages of journalling (like EXT3) and the advantages of Windows compatibility (like FAT32).
 
Old 09-15-2008, 10:01 PM   #5
John VV
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I use ntfs on a share drive with win xp
the NTFS-3g program works fine to read and wright to ntfs from fedora ( ext3 )
 
Old 09-16-2008, 03:47 AM   #6
FredGSanford
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I also use NTFS with Linux, MacOS and Windows to share between the 3 OSes. Fat32 has a 4gb filesize limit, so if you want to rip movies or whatever, keep that in mind.
 
Old 09-16-2008, 04:28 AM   #7
DKurek
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FAT32 Limits and NTFS

FAT32 file size limit is actually 1 byte less than 4GB and continues to be a point of frustration for those who use it, especially if they aren't aware of the limitation. (FAT32 volume size depends on the OS being used.) I mention this because I still occasionally see cases where a user repeatedly tries to download, for example, a Linux DVD distro that's 4.1GB in size; if they're using a FAT32 file system, the result is always an "unsuccessful download" - because FAT32 can't handle files that size - and a frustrating user experience.

While I'm not suggesting NTFS is the way to go, it is head and shoulders above FAT32. Compared to FAT32, NTFS is significantly more fault tolerant. The maximum 'practical' file size under NTFS is 16EiB - that's either a terribly long movie or one heck of an intense gaming experience! You'd probably run into system BIOS limitations long before hitting the max NTFS file size. As billymayday points out, "FAT32 is pretty much outdated"; I see no compelling reason whatsoever to even bother with it.
 
Old 09-16-2008, 04:47 AM   #8
irkku
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Hi, I basically have the same situation as the original poster (only in the context of how to partition my hard-disk for a dual-boot Ubuntu-XP). I hope you don't mind if I add a question related to the Op's to this thread!

I've read about the drawbacks of Fat32 and many people suggested to enable file sharing via drivers in Linux and Windows to read ntfs/ext2. My question as a newbie then is, if Windows is enabled to read/write "globally" on my linux partitions, will that possibly increase security risks, e.g. for the case that I manage to get myself a virus in Windows, will it be able to mess with my linux files or even o/s due to the installed drivers in Windows? My reason for contemplating a fat32 was that this would enable some file sharing while still keeping linux and windows in principle separate. Does this thought have substance or am I misunderstanding something?
 
Old 09-16-2008, 12:46 PM   #9
John VV
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hi irkku first it is ONLY a share partition and NOT the linux install .
Windows ( with a3d party program ) can only read and read only ext2,ext3 .Windows can NOT wright to ext3 ( well there is an old and not supported windows kernel plugin to wright to ext2 ,not to ext3 ).
A windows virus might get copied to the share drive BUT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RUN ON LINUX .
 
Old 09-16-2008, 07:12 PM   #10
infekt
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Thanks guys. I've decided to go ahead with EXT3 mainly because other operating systems can attach to my makeshift file server regardless of the filing system.

Much appreciated!

Irrku: Don't mind at all! Thats why everyone is here; to help each other. Good luck.
 
Old 09-16-2008, 07:49 PM   #11
digity
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i'm currently in the same boat. i've been using FAT32 in my home file server (Ubuntu) for over a year now and the file size limit and file permissions limitations has gotten on my last nerve. i'm currently moving my stuff to an EXT3 drive. the only problem is formatting to EXT3 gave me 61 GB less usable storage than FAT32 (931 GB FAT32 vs 870 GB EXT3, it's a 1 TB drive)
 
  


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