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It seems that exFAT is to be the next standard filesystem for removable media. The problem is, it is designed by Microsoft and made proprietary. However, it is the standard FS for the upcoming SDXC cards.

Since exFAT isn't available for Linux, will it eventually get there? And if so, when?

Formating removable media for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, is really becoming a problem. There's FAT32 but the file size limit is becoming a problem as well.

I was hoping that UDF will be a cross platform filesystem, especially, since the latest revisions of UDF clearly state the targeting of hard drives. Microsoft, however, doesn't seem to care much about UDF on anything else than optical media, so I guess it'll become abandoned eventually.

It seems, that exFAT will take the place of FAT32, but since it's not available for Linux, I shouldn't format my USB sticks in it. Should I just wait till exFAT is available for Linux? Also, since Microsoft doesn't seem to be poised to open the filesystem for free implementations - there's licenses, etc involved - I might wait till infinity...

I still use FAT32 most of the time, but there are times, where I have to use something else, due to the file size limit. I usually reformat the drives in NTFS for that purpose, but still, the constant formating back and forth is quite a hassle.

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As you also mention - I suspect that the licensing would be the most significant problem hindering Linux implementation; MSFT has not been too eager to support its rivals, in the past. –  Piskvor Sep 2 '11 at 19:04
@Piskvor: But wouldn't it be nothing but wise to ensure support on Linux? This would help exFAT being established as standard. This however, would require Microsoft to open their specification. Can a reverse-engineered version of a drive be freely distributed though? Or is this akin to patent infringement? –  polemon Sep 3 '11 at 22:41
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closed as not a real question by Shawn J. Goff, Michael Mrozek Sep 3 '11 at 2:14

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is an FUSE exFAT module available. It is in beta state however.

See this tutorial how to use it on Ubuntu.

Here is the status of exFAT on Linux.

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Well, I know that there is some reverse engineered effort to bring some compatibility to Linux. What I meant was, however, when native support - if ever - will happen. –  polemon Sep 3 '11 at 22:35
Sounds familiar to NTFS story... Isn't it? I guess only way to get native support is to get official specification. Will MS give it away? Will European Commision or any other force them to do so? Who Knows. It will take years... I hate MS for this kind of games. –  Michał Šrajer Sep 4 '11 at 9:44
Which brings us back to the initial question: exFAT is the standard FS for SDXC. So until SDXC becomes the mainstream SD card type, we're gonna have a problem. TBH, I wish that SD used UDF... –  polemon Sep 4 '11 at 12:17
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