The New NTFS Driver Looks Like It Will Finally Be Ready With Linux 5.15

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 31 July 2021 at 09:37 AM EDT. 45 Comments
It's looking like the new NTFS file-system kernel driver developed by Paragon Software and over the past year revised more than two dozen times could be ready for mainlining in the kernel in about one month's time when the Linux 5.15 merge window opens. Everything is finally aligning and looking like the code is in good enough shape for its initial merging though not necessarily replacing the existing NTFS driver at this point.

Earlier this month Linus Torvalds called on Paragon to submit the NTFS3 pull request. He noted they should send in the pull request directly to him given the lack of anyone focused otherwise on funneling of new file-system support to the kernel.

This past week marked the 27th iteration of these NTFS3 driver patches from Paragon Software in getting the driver into shape for upstreaming.

Following those v27 patches, on Friday there was Paragon developer Konstantin Komarov who responded to Torvalds and reaffirmed the company's support for maintaining this driver. Konstantin noted, "we can confirm that we will be maintaining this implementation. Also, this is planned to be in fs/ntfs3 at this point, at least for now - until the code and implementation becomes known and trusted within community. And then we can discuss if it should replace the fs/ntfs and when it's convenient to do." He also noted they will be working on a proper pull request to Torvalds.

In response Linus commented that he obviously won't be pulling it until the next merge window, but is encouraging the code to also get pulled into Linux-Next for further testing over the next month. He also encouraged the folks within Paragon to ensure they really understand their intentions, "The one other thing I do want when there's big new pieces like this being added is to ask you to make sure that everything is signed-off properly, and that there is no internal confusion about the GPLv2 inside Paragon, and that any legal people etc are all aware of this all and are on board. The last thing we want to see is some "oops, we didn't mean to do this" brouhaha six months later. I doubt that's an issue, considering how public this all has been, but I just wanted to mention it just to be very obvious about it."

Barring any last minute surprises, it's looking like this NTFS3 driver will finally be mainlined come Linux 5.15. This driver offers much better read/write support and other features over the existing NTFS kernel driver or the FUSE-based NTFS-3G option. Paragon has been maintaining this NTFS code commercially for customers over the years but these days NTFS is of declining relevance to companies now focused on exFAT and other file-system options, which has led the company to be open to upstreaming their code.
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