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While booting Android on a Pandaboard, I am partitioning the SD card into two partitions, boot and root. They contain different filesystems. Why does the boot partition need to be vfat, while the rootfs needs to be ext3 or ext4?

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You haven't said what the board is or where the image you are using came from, but android's native filesystem is vfat; normal android devices can't even read ext. So maybe that is a clue. –  goldilocks Feb 19 '13 at 12:57

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