The New Microsoft exFAT File-System Driver Is Set To Land With Linux 5.7

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 7 March 2020 at 11:30 AM EST. 62 Comments
Linux 5.4 brought a preliminary Microsoft exFAT file-system driver after Microsoft made the exFAT specification public and encouraged the support for Linux. But with the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring, a new exFAT file-system driver is going to land that is a much improved version of the earlier code.

The original Microsoft exFAT driver that entered staging in Linux 5.4 was based on a several year old snapshot from Samsung and various other improvements along the way. But Samsung internally had been continuing to work on their exFAT Linux driver over the years and shipping it as part of their devices. Since Microsoft's blessing last year of opening up the exFAT technical specification, Samsung has been working to upstream their improved file-system driver and ultimately using the upstream kernel code-base for what will continue to be shipped on their Android devices moving forward.

Samsung has been making significant revisions to the code over the past few months while the staging exFAT driver has continued seeing code cleaning since being mainlined.

Microsoft exFAT is predominantly used on consumer flash drives and memory cards.

Queued this week though into Al Viro's VFS for-next repository is that newer Samsung exFAT driver. This exFAT driver is said to be in much better shape and actively maintained by Samsung engineers and will continue to do so moving forward. This exFAT driver is going straight into the kernel's file-system area rather than staging.

The existing staging driver isn't set to be removed quite yet but in the Kconfig configuration is making the two exFAT drivers mutually exclusive so they can't both be activated from the same kernel build. Presumably once this new exFAT driver proves itself, the staging driver will likely be wiped from the tree. The new implementation lives in fs/exfat and uses the EXFAT_FS Kconfig switch for building.
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