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I've recently purchased a usb stick which I will be using to share data between me and my colleagues.

I'd like to format it as ext3, but I know this will cause trouble because for instance Mac OS X has troubles mounting that.

The problem is that any other FS I've used before (except for ext2 or ext4) seems to screw up the executable bit on files that have been on it.

E.g. I put up a normal non-executable pdf file on the stick, I take it off again and suddenly it's executable (e.i. the executable permission is enabled).

I don't like these kinds of trickeries. What filesystem should I use? Or is this problem not FS-related?

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MacOS mounts ext2&3 with fuse, of course, but it's not ideal. Lack of a good cross-platform filesystem is a disgrace! I've read that you can use UDF for this (i.e. UDF is good for more than just read only media like DVDs), but I have no idea if that really works. –  Celada Apr 4 '12 at 21:28
    
@Celada, yes the whole point would be that it works out of the box (I do't want to impose on my colleageus that they install fuse etc) –  romeovs Apr 4 '12 at 21:50
    
I think in this case you are very much limited to FAT. Your problem with the executable bit is due to the fact that FAT does not support that sort of permissions which is very much a POSIX things. since UNIX system work on that sort of file permissions, when you mount a FS which doesn't support it, it will get emulated. indeed by default a VFAT file system mounted on linux will have all files and directory appear as 777, but it doesn't mean that there is an actual executable bit set on the FS. –  ArTourter Apr 4 '12 at 22:40
    
@ArTourter, this should be an answer. –  maxschlepzig Apr 5 '12 at 6:48
    
Posted my comment verbatim as an answer, will expand when I have a minute –  ArTourter Apr 5 '12 at 12:49
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

According to Universal Disk Format - Wikipedia, UDF may work: it has POSIX-style permissions, is readable by Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows XP and up, and is writable by Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows Vista and up.

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it might be so in theory, but at least on the linux side, the tool to format in udf (udftools) seems very old and unmaintained, and fails to compile on my machines. Reading will not indeed be an issue since it is the file system used on DVD's. –  ArTourter Apr 5 '12 at 22:20
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In fact, I've had no troubles at all using udftools (downloaded it form arch's AUR, using yaourt). On problem arises though: the disk doesn't have an UUISD after I make it UDF. I first zeroed the disk using dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1M and then made the UDF system using: sudo mkudffs --media-type=hd --blocksize=512 /dev/sdb. Now I can mount the disk (/dev/sdb) but it has no UUID so I cannot add it to fstab. –  romeovs Apr 6 '12 at 12:47
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I think in this case you are very much limited to FAT.

Your problem with the executable bit is due to the fact that FAT does not support that sort of permissions which is very much a POSIX things. Since UNIX system work on that sort of file permissions, when you mount a FS which doesn't support it, it will get emulated. indeed by default a VFAT file system mounted on linux will have all files and directory appear as 777, but it doesn't mean that there is an actual executable bit set on the FS.

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UDF is a solution.

However, reformatting with ANY filesystem will prematurely wear your device. See How to Damage a FLASH Storage Device, Flash Memory and others.

See also this SD Formatter 3.1 for SD/SDHC/SDXC.

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