LONDON – Tuxera Inc., a provider of computer files systems that are compatible with the Windows operating system, has announced a GPL-compliant FAT32 replacement package for Android- and Linux-based systems.
FAT32 is a file allocation table system developed by Microsoft for use with disk drives. GPL is the general public license promoted by open-source advocates. The package from Tuxera (Helsinki, Finland) includes FAT, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS drivers that work with all Android and Linux kernel versions.
"Companies who have licensed FAT patents from Microsoft cannot use the publicly available GPL-licensed VFAT implementation," noted Mikko Valimaki, CEO of Tuxera, in a statement. "If you don't license Microsoft patents, you risk a patent lawsuit. If you license the patents, you need to also replace the GPL software in Linux, or you risk a copyright lawsuit."
Tuxera, founded in 2008, works with operating system vendors to take care of IP issues and legal compliance and Tuxera was the first file system vendor to license exFAT patents and source code from Microsoft in 2009.
"The complete FAT32 replacement solution is to include not only proprietary FAT and FAT32 drivers but also exFAT and NTFS drivers. Both exFAT and NTFS lift the 4-Gbyte file size limit, which seriously compromises the use of FAT32 in HD video applications," said Szabolcs Szakacsits, Tuxera president and CTO. "exFAT is required for the next-generation SDXC memory card support. NTFS is needed for universal PC compatibility because NTFS has been the default Windows file system from the mid-1990s to Windows 7 and beyond."
We have been building and supporting complex, interoperable file systems since 1999. Started with NTFS then added exFAT, HFS+, XFS and others. FAT32 is one of the latest additions to Tuxera's product portfolio. This has been regulary requested by Tuxera's partners and customers to address legal, legacy, technical, and support issues to lower manufacturing costs and increase end-user experience.
Software and hardware change rapidly, maintenance costs can add up quickly, delay time-to-market in case of file systems which need extra care, attention and resources. Additionally, GPL licensing sometimes may not be the optimal supporting proprietary hardware extensions.
Tuxera is closely working with chipset companies to achieve the best file system performance, maximize battery life, minimize power use which add value for end-users.
Regarding cloud file systems, we see the two (network/local) still complementary even if they have many common technical challenges.
Building FAT32 compatible filesystem as a product for startup is very interesting. FAT32 is far from the best filesystem. As network storage becomes popular and network storage device is likely build from Linux, the support of high capacity file/ storage shall not be an issue. What's the competitive advantage of the product? Compatibility to Windows may be one of them. Any comments?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.