Sunday, January 18, 2009

Merging Full NTFS Support into Linux Kernel

Merging Full NTFS Support into Linux KernelSupport for FAT16 and FAT32 has been merged with Linux Kernel, since many years. It's a good thing. But I wonder when the same will happen with NTFS, the widely popular filesystem for windows XP, Vista, and the upcoming Windows 7. As of now full read/write support in Linux has been a workaround with ntfsmount, ntfs-3g, both of which require fuse. And both of these don't come configured for lay-users. Of course, many distributions such as Mint and Mepis have ntfs-3g as a default install, PCLinuxOS repo has the packages. But it never sounds solid. And the looks the configuration fragmented where you have to run fuse services and mount with ntfs-3g or ntfsmount options. Even the mounting sometimes becomes trickly involving superuser permissions.

Is there anyone working on "merging full ntfs support into linux kernel"? Will full ntfs support always be a dream? Will we ever have full NTFS support? NTFS has been around for many many years. I am sure Microsoft will never be happy or want to release documentations of NTFS. That means Linux folks have reverse-engineer the ntfs support. But it's high time linux had full ntfs support merged in the kernel. After all, we are living in a world dominated by windows where we have to deal with ntfs formatted media every now and then.

Please post any info you have regarding "merging ntfs support into linux kernel".


JayR said...

NTFS-3G works the same way as any kernel driver from users point of view. It doesn't require FUSE userspace. As you also noticed, the real problem is lack of PCLinuxOS integration what the distribution maker should do. It's the classical example of the following joke ;-)

"Doctor, my head badly hurts when I hit it hard to the wall", patient says.
"Then try not to hit your head to the wall!", doctor replies.

manmath sahu said...


Sad that you did not understand my point! Actually I meant to get support to read/write ntfs filestystem without any pain. For example, you don't need to install anything to read/write FAT32 filesystem. I wish the same type of capability in linux kernel that we can read/write ntfs the way we do fat32.

JayR said...

No need to install anything for openSUSE, Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu, etc. What you want works out of the box on most Linux distributions except a few like PCLinuxOS.

NTFS partitions are automounted during boot. External disks are hotplug mounted. User needs to do nothing, no install, no configuration, no command line, no /etc/fstab modification, etc.

manmath sahu said...


Again you got it wrong. I agree that the distros you mentioned have hotplug support to external hdds, but if you scan through their package list, they have ntfs-3g or ntfsmount or a similar package is installed. I am looking for the day when linux kernel will have read/write support inbuild. That means individual distribution makers will not require the workarounds like ntfs-3g or ntfsmount to manipulate ntfs drives.

By the way, I have tried the Ubuntu 8.10 and Fedora 10, both of them automounted ntfs external drives, but writing to those drives was quite tedious, requiring the manual mount command with ntfs-3g options, or using a gui-program like ntfs-config.

BTW, thanks for dropping by.

Waiting for your reply.

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