Paragon Looks To Mainline Their NTFS Read-Write Driver To The Mainline Linux Kernel

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 15 August 2020 at 06:30 PM EDT. 69 Comments
With the mainline NTFS driver in the Linux kernel offering read-only support for this widely-used Microsoft file-system and the more popular "ntfs-3g" driver being FUSE-based, Paragon Software is looking to mainline their read-write driver into the mainline kernel tree as a significant improvement over the existing NTFS kernel driver. But in the current state it's not clear if the driver will be accepted.

The existing NTFS driver is basically unmaintained in the kernel and lacks proper write support along with other features, thus ntfs-3g with FUSE often being the more recommended choice. Paragon Software though is looking to mainline their "ntfs3" kernel driver to the mainline kernel and are GPL licensing it for inclusion.

Paragon Software has long offered their commercial NTFS driver for Linux and other platforms, among other proprietary file-system drivers. It looks though that with NTFS being surpassed by other more advanced file-systems, they are finally interested in contributing their code to the kernel. But at this time they also haven't published their user-space utility catered towards this driver.

Besides having complete write support, this driver supports full NTFS v3.1 specifications including support for journal replaying, normal/compressed/sparse files, and other features. More features are said to be coming too once mainlined.

While this driver is an improvement over the existing driver in terms of features, it's not clear yet if it will ultimately be mainlined. One of the immediate issues is this driver was basically dumped out as a single, twenty-seven thousand lines of code patch... Not split up into individual patches or via a Git tree to helping facilitate the review. It's quite a burden for upstream developers to review a single patch that is so massive in size.

There are other issues to figure out as well such as if this driver will co-exist with the existing NTFS kernel driver or can successfully replace it, Paragon's development strategy moving forward, and similar issues.

In any case it's nice to see them finally post their read-write NTFS kernel driver under the GPL for hopeful inclusion in due course by the mainline kernel. It was just months ago they were spreading some FUD over having the exFAT driver derived from Samsung code mainlined as competition to their commercial driver on that front for the newer Microsoft file-system.
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