|RIM to pay Microsoft protection money for exFAT patents|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2012-09-18 21:45:37|
|Microsoft and RIM have announced that RIM has licensed Redmond's exFAT patents. The press release contains a ridiculous amount of hyperbole nonsense, and if you translate it into regular people speak, it basically comes down to RIM paying Microsoft protection money for stupid nonsensical software patents. Ridiculous articles like like this make it seem as if we're talking about patents on major technological breakthroughs, but don't be fooled: this is because for some inexplicable reason, we're using crappy FAT for SD cards.|
|Comment by marcp|
|By marcp on 2012-09-18 23:22:39|
|I use ext2/3 and FFS/UFS on my SD cards and it works fine :) but hey, I'm not a "multimedia" guy. I mostly run embedded stuff and such. I don't need it to be accessible by some fancy shmancy recorder/player, whose manufacturer was forced to pay some rediculous amount of money for some crappy exFAT support.|
|- Score: 1|
|Comment by ilovebeer|
|By ilovebeer on 2012-09-19 00:13:32|
The reason FAT is used on sd cards shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I'm sure there's already an ancient whine-fest already posted here if you search. |
And calling this `paying protection money`? Dial the drama queen'ing back a little, it sounds....dumb.
|- Score: 5|
|By Lorin on 2012-09-19 01:02:58|
Attack patents at the source, the patent office, get any refusals to the Supreme Court and most will go away. |
Appeals courts have already ruled to various degrees that software is an abstract and as such can't be patented, the Supreme Court refused to hear challenges stating that they could not be overcome
|- Score: 2|
|By UltraZelda64 on 2012-09-19 01:44:06|
Problem is, FAT gets incredibly inefficient the larger you make your partition. You would have to be nuts to actually want to format a 128GB drive or partition with FAT, and I wouldn't really want to make a FAT partition with a size of 64GB either. There's a reason Microsoft has placed an artificial limitation in Windows and FDISK versions starting with Windows 98 (though maybe excluding Windows ME): FAT SUCKS on larger volumes. |
It's not just to get you over to NTFS (although that is no doubt the primary reason). But in this case, they're actually right: it does make more sense to use NTFS instead of FAT on larger partitions. Far more sense, in fact. Cluster sizes jump from 16K to 32K in volumes over 32GB, leading to more slack space, especially if you have a decent number of small files. The larger the partition is, the larger the file allocation table becomes, to the point of being a massive waste of space on its own. The FAT, quite literally, gets fat.
Only potential exception: flash memory devices. NTFS is not designed to work well with those and their finite number of writes per block. I guess if you're only going to put a bunch of large videos and similar files on it you might be fine, but watch out for another potential problem: FAT has a file size limit of 4GB. Sorry, no full-size DVD images here.
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/f... [slack space]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/f... [partition/cluster sizes]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/f... [FAT sizes]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/f... [the whole site]
http://www.allensmith.net/Storag... [another site with some information]
I was forced at one point to use FAT32 to format one of my external hard drives to be able to use it to play music from while playing my Xbox 360. If I had the choice to use another file system, I would not have resisted at all. Even NTFS would have been nice--another Microsoft file system that is much faster, more efficient and more reliable with large drives, but the system would only accept FAT.
FAT just sucks, and exFAT is every bit as bad when it comes to these patents that Microsoft was granted and is enforcing. Not to mention its support outside of Windows before Vista sucks, as does its use as a general cross-platform-compatible "universal" file system.
Edited 2012-09-19 01:58 UTC
|- Score: 4|
|RE: Comment by ilovebeer|
|By TechGeek on 2012-09-19 02:56:36|
|FAT as far as I know is patent free. Fat32 has a patent on it regarding the method of supporting the larger filenames. However, it can be programmed around (as is done in the linux kernel) and the ITC recently found prior art (Linus Torvalds) which should overturn the patent on it. The problem isn't the FAT file system. The problem is that Microsoft refuses to support any free file system which could be used. As such, they are leveraging their monopoly in the desktop market to affect another. That is grounds for anti trust actions. The easy and obvious way to avoid this would be for them to implement ext2/3/4. But then they wouldn't be able to sue over it.|
|- Score: 3|
|RE: Comment by marcp|
|By Morgan on 2012-09-19 03:53:50|
That's great for you, but (I mean no offense) you are the minority. |
I think it would be awesome if camera manufacturers and other big players would all settle on ext2 or FFS for removable media, given the ease of licensing and better performance on the media itself. That would force Microsoft and Apple to incorporate support in their kernels as well, and we'd all be happier for it.
I'm not holding my breath though.
|- Score: 4|
|By Lobotomik on 2012-09-19 05:19:31|
|Not that I think that FAT or exFAT is anything other than a POS, but who cares about cluster sizes of 32K when the files are mostly going to be media files a couple megs long (pics or songs)?|
|- Score: 3|
|RE: Where is the EU?|
|By pgquiles on 2012-09-19 05:29:49|
we do see MS abusing their dominant position in the PC market here. In order to allow for interoperability, you need to implement their proprietary filesystem, which is patent encumbered. |
Paying royalties in order to have interoperability is perfectly fine and the EU will not do anything about that.
The EU would only intervene if Microsoft wouldn't want to license exFAT to others, or if the royalties were way too high.
Remember, this is the same EU which has been trying to approve software patents for years.
|- Score: 1|
|By Lobotomik on 2012-09-19 05:33:16|
How about one of the filing systems supported by OSX, like UFS? It is a powerful filing system, with source code available under a BSD license, and compatible out of the box with Macs. It would get along fine with the Linux and iOS kernels that make up 95% of the smartphone market, and a huge slice of the HD-Tv market, the set-top box market and the embedded market in general. |
Only Microsoft would be left out, but they have already stated that the BSD license is palatable to them, and if this were official they might could keep face by adopting a "multimedia standard"
|- Score: 1|
|By UltraZelda64 on 2012-09-19 06:24:55|
I don't know about you, but my Android device doesn't even take pictures that are "a couple megs long." :) |
They're far smaller and more compressed than that. I'm surprised to see it produce one that is even 1MB in size. I don't know about you, but I also have other small file like simple text files that I make and use and on a regular basis on my phone. Surely there might be some small PDF files, and many configuration files scattered around too. I tried to format the microSD card with ext2 right when I got the phone and ditch the pre-formatted FAT file system, but Android won't recognize it and just asked to re-format it with FAT. That should not be the case given that it runs the Linux kernel; hell, version 2.2.2 of Android that it runs uses ext4 as the OS file system. So, well, I'm forced into FAT. Again. Yay.
I would like to ditch FAT on every machine I have, except in a rare FreeDOS virtual machine for nostalgia and fun, but it won't happen when companies keep supporting this wretched ancient family of file systems. And then you're got Microsoft extending the creaky thing far beyond its usefulness. Having had to use FAT32 with Win9x and experience (or should I say, put up with) the sudden disappearance of random system files and other files on a regular basis, I definitely have something against FAT. It is, IMO, complete trash. It needs to be accepted as what it is: obsolete technology that has long outlived its welcome.
There is no reason for a Linux-based device to enforce the use of such an old non-native DOS file system, and it's crazy that a piece of Microsoft hardware running a modified Windows NT kernel (the Xbox 360) requires FAT32 and will not operate with NTFS.
Edited 2012-09-19 06:38 UTC
|- Score: 1|