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Old 10-03-2004, 06:10 PM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Permission problems in a vfat shared partition

As is usual for me, I have somehow managed to turn the seemingly simple process of creating a vfat partition to share between my Linux and Windows instillations into a long and drawn out process.

First I will give my current partition setup:
/dev/hdc1 - Windows XP instilation (vfat - 15G)
/dev/hdc2 - Fedora Core 2 boot partition (ext3 - 100M)
/dev/hdc3 - Fedora Core 2 swap partition (512M)
/dev/hdc4 - MSDos extended Partition
/dev/hdc5 - / parition for Fedora install (ext3 44.5G)

/dev/hdd1 - Blank partition to be shared (85G)
/dev/hdd2 - Extra linux partition. (/mnt/disk - ext3 - 115G)

Here is what I hope to accomplish:
Format /dev/hdd1 as a fat32 fs, mount it as /home in Linux, and have it readable as another driver in Windows.

Here are the commands that I enter to setup my vfat shared partition:
# fdisk /dev/hdd t; 1; c (change system id to W95 FAT32 (LBA))
#mkfs.vfat /dev/hdd1 (create fat32 FS on /dev/hdd1)
#mount -t vfat /dev/hdd1 /home (mount partition)
#mkdir <username>

Here is where we run into problems. When I try and change the directory's owner and group (chown <username>:<usergroup> <userfolder>), I get the following error:
"chown: changing ownership of `<userfolder>': Operation not permitted"

I get this error whenever I try and chmod/chown any folder/file on the partition. I am also only able to write to the partition only as root, and I would think that would be a bad thing when this partition is supposed to be the /home directory.

Any help here would be appreciated. Thank you.
Old 10-03-2004, 09:20 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: 1st Brillouin Zone
Distribution: Gentoo (not ricer Gentoo)
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I am no expert on this, but that is inherent in Windows File systmes. Vfat does not support Linux permissions. (As i understand this is part of the security problem with MS in general). This is why basically every partitioning guide will tell you not to make your root partition or your home partition vfat.

Old 10-03-2004, 09:26 PM   #3
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Hilliard, Ohio, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Kubuntu
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Make you /home and / and etc partitions ext3 or reiser
make a shared vfat partition for swapping of files. FAT/NTFS dont understand linux perms
Old 10-03-2004, 10:22 PM   #4
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Location: Illinois
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Thanks everyone. I had been looking around and found no real reasons for this problem. It is good to have a definite answer.

So, unless anyone else has any more suggestions I guess I will make a 50G partition for shared files and then another 150G partition for my Linux /home directory.

As a side note, does anyone know if/when Microsoft will add support for a decent file system (ext2/3, reiser, JFS) or come out with their own?
Old 10-04-2004, 08:09 AM   #5
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 264

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Microsoft did have plans to release their new database filesystem WinFS in Longhorn, but due to complete ineptitude and the inability to organise a piss-up in a brewery, they have decided to put it off and not release it as part of Longhorn. (according to what I've read)

So basically, by the time microsoft get around to releasing WinFS, there will already be new GNU/linux filesystems which are smarter, quicker, safer, ad which above all, *work*

If you want a peek at WinFS, you can always try here


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