Microsoft facilitating exFAT support for Linux

Posted on Thursday, Aug 29 2019 @ 13:10 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Microsoft is bringing more love to Linux by working on enabling exFAT support for the Linux kernel. The exFAT file system has been around since 2006 and is use by Windows as well as high-capacity SD cards and USB flash drives. Windows and macOS support exFAT, but support on open-source operating systems was problematic due to patents held by Microsoft. Now the software giant has a change of heart and will make this intellectual property available via the Open Invention Network (OIN).
exFAT is the Microsoft-developed file system that’s used in Windows and in many types of storage devices like SD Cards and USB flash drives. It’s why hundreds of millions of storage devices that are formatted using exFAT “just work” when you plug them into your laptop, camera, and car.

It’s important to us that the Linux community can make use of exFAT included in the Linux kernel with confidence. To this end, we will be making Microsoft’s technical specification for exFAT publicly available to facilitate development of conformant, interoperable implementations. We also support the eventual inclusion of a Linux kernel with exFAT support in a future revision of the Open Invention Network’s Linux System Definition, where, once accepted, the code will benefit from the defensive patent commitments of OIN’s 3040+ members and licensees.
Besides resolving the patent issue, Microsoft also released technical documentation about exFAT. The actual code submissions for the implementation of exFAT in the Linux kernel will not be performed by Microsoft.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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