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Long discussions about long names

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 5, 2009 8:14 UTC (Tue) by bfeeney (guest, #6855)
Parent article: Long discussions about long names

Why don't people use the UDF filesystem? It's originally for DVDs, but can be used on any device, and Linux, Mac and Windows all support it. I once had a UDF formatted USB memory stick and it worked fine.

In the short term though, no FAT access presumably means not being able to use any currently available digital camera with Linux without violating some patent somewhere. Are all the kernel developers about to sell off their cameras and go back to film? Or are they going to ignore the law, and let Microsoft ignore the law and copy and paste useful bits of the kernel into Windows?

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UDF sounds great ...

Posted May 5, 2009 9:08 UTC (Tue) by Felix_the_Mac (guest, #32242) [Link]

why is it not The Solution (tm)?

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 5, 2009 9:56 UTC (Tue) by bangert (subscriber, #28342) [Link]

have you tried it?

because it doesnt have write support on windows XP, MacOSX 10.4 and linux eats your disk, when
try to put more bytes on it than are available.

vfat sucks - but UDF isn't close to be a solution.

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 5, 2009 13:05 UTC (Tue) by jzbiciak (subscriber, #5246) [Link]

Not to mention that it doesn't solve the problem of using J. Random Person's USB stick that's handed to you and that you otherwise don't control. I can't imagine a dialog saying "This device has an incompatible filesystem format. Convert to UDF? [Y] [N]" going over particularly well.

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 5, 2009 13:28 UTC (Tue) by bfeeney (guest, #6855) [Link]

Ah, I just had a look on Wikipedia
(, and
I think the reason I could write under Windows XP was because Dell had
installed SonicDLA, which adds write-support to Windows XP machines.

MacOS 10.5 and Windows Vista both have write-support, which is encouraging,
but with Windows XP read-only by default, UDF won't be a viable alternative
for another two or three years.

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 5, 2009 13:00 UTC (Tue) by brother_rat (subscriber, #1895) [Link]

The DCIM naming convention works entirely within the 8.3 short filename limit, so that won't be an issue.

I imagine there will be similar problems with transferring music etc. to FAT based MP3 players though.

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 5, 2009 13:30 UTC (Tue) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

Well it depends. If the customer is writing files themselves to the device, like over USB mass storage, then it'll work fine... It'll be their OS that does the long filename writing. Reading long filenames isn't covered in the patents.

If they are transmitting filenames over wireless, MTP (media transfer protocol), Pictbridge, or something like that then the system can write to a non-FAT filesystem easily enough that supports long filenames.

Trouble comes when you want to support a combination of things.. like support USB Mass storage AND MTP.

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 7, 2009 9:30 UTC (Thu) by jschrod (subscriber, #1646) [Link]

Because the USB sticks that I get from my customers/colleagues/friends are VFAT formatted and I need to copy files from and to these sticks.

And, no, I can't say to them that they shall format their USB sticks with UDF or ext3 or anything else.

Long discussions about long names

Posted May 9, 2009 2:44 UTC (Sat) by stevef (guest, #7712) [Link]

Experimenting with UDF on USB storage devices shows that many (perhaps all) Windows and even Linux don't make it easy to format this type of device as UDF. This may be just bugs in various operating systems, but they are common. I think we are stuck with FAT32 until the volume limit becomes unacceptably small.

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