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From a Phoronix article:

Long story short, with Linux 5.7 is a much better Microsoft exFAT file-system implementation that is more reliable and with more functionality than the older driver while it will continue to receive improvements by Samsung and others.

What is exfat-utils is needed for if the Linux kernel itself supports exFAT?

Is the relation the same with other filesystem-utils/filesystem-tools and their respective kernel drivers?

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The relationship is indeed the same as for other file system tools: exfat-utils provides tools to create, check (and repair), label, and dump ExFAT file systems. Like many other file system tools, they operate directly on the target devices, without using the kernel’s driver (if any); that’s one of the reasons why file systems need to be unmounted before they can be operated on by the utilities.

The kernel driver allows the kernel to mount ExFAT file systems, making their content available to programs running on the system.

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  • In other words, the kernel driver is for the contents, and are utils for the FS itself? Also, that's one of the reasons why one unmounts a FS first, and then can manipulate it without the kernel? – homocomputeris Jun 1 '20 at 17:53
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    That’s a reasonable approximation; the kernel driver does care about the FS itself, but can’t create it and typically can’t fix errors on it. And yes, the fact that the utilities independently of the kernel is one of the reasons a file system needs to be unmounted first. – Stephen Kitt Jun 1 '20 at 18:34
  • Very clear and helpful, thanks a lot! – homocomputeris Jun 1 '20 at 18:44

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