An Open-Source exFAT Implementation Reaches v1.0
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 21 January 2013 at 01:05 AM EST. 33 Comments
Microsoft's exFAT is a file-system designed for flash drives and is supported on Windows XP and later. The exFAT file-system has been around for a few years, but an open-source version hasn't been quick to come since the Microsoft project is proprietary and encumbered by patents. This weekend, a FUSE-based version of exFAT has reached version 1.0.

An exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) file-system implementation for the mainline Linux kernel doesn't really stand a chance of seeing a mainline status due to Microsoft burdening the software with patents. Fortunately, thanks to FUSE for being able to host a file-system from user-space, a sufficient implementation has arose.

Linus Torvalds and others in the past have characterized FUSE file-systems as being for toys and misguided people, but FUSE has been used before for bringing Sun/Oracle's ZFS to Linux, various other creative file-system implementations, and now exFAT. ExFAT support for Linux has been talked about going back to early 2009 but the support has been crap on Linux.

The FUSE-based exFAT project seeks to be a full-featured implementation for GNU/Linux and other Unix-like systems, including Mac OS X. With fuse-exfat 1.0.0, after three years in development, there is support for formatting exFAT partitions using the exfat-utils package while the FUSE driver does provide both read and write support for the Microsoft FS. Some of the recent changes found with the 1.0.0 release include improved write performance through enabling big_writes, improved OS X support, and various crash fixes.

The only other Linux support for exFAT up to this point has been through commercial offerings from Paragon and Tuxera for Linux and Android, albeit not free and open-source. This fuse-exfat implementation has been released under the GNU GPLv3. More details on this user-space file-system implementation can be found from its Google Code page and the 1.0 release announcement.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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