Shedding the FAT

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but I kept forgetting. Well, I remember now. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a native Windows driver for ext2/ext3 filesystems. This is awesome for people that dual-boot between Linux and Windows. Previously, you’d have to create a partition that both operating systems could fully access if you wanted to share data between both environments. Normally this meant setting up FAT32, which is a pretty crappy file system in many ways. It’s also possible to use NTFS, but Linux support for it is still experimental, which doesn’t make it a very good choice. Ext2 and ext3 are solid filesystems with no major pitfalls.

This good news for me since I have a Windows XP/Gentoo dual boot setup on my laptop. I had the previously described FAT32 shared partition, and it was a drag for me. For whatever reason, whenever I would try and use rsync to synchronize my files between laptop and my file server, I’d have to tell rsync to completely scan each file for changes, rather than use some of the filesystem timestamps. Otherwise, it would copy files it didn’t need to copy. This made the synchronization process take a very long time, especially when synchronizing my music archive or digital camera photo collections. Now I don’t have that problem!

I can’t vouch for it’s stability yet, becuase I really don’t use Windows on my laptop that much. I’ll post something here if I have any issues.

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