OpenBSD Journal

FFS driver on Windows.

Contributed by mk/reverse on from the stuck-on-that-other-os dept.

Fco. Valladolid writes:

Hi, I found this about mounting FFS partitions on windows.
Fco. Valladolid
http://bsdguy.net/

This looks very interesting for those who are forced to dual boot BSD and Windows. Post comments with your test results as they might be useful to people unable to test it themselves.

(Comments are closed)


  1. By sthen (212.104.129.221) on

    I've just tried this with a USB CompactFlash reader and initial impressions are good - I use CF-based firewalls, VPN boxes, nameservers etc and it's sometimes very useful to be able to edit the contents of config files on an unbootable flash card from a Windows machine, so I think this will go onto a CD alongside putty, teraterm, scite, etc.

  2. By Anonymous Coward (141.156.35.239) on

    Indeed, seems to work really well, including with UFS2, and fulfills a need. Cross compatibility in both directions is always a worthy goal. I hope this dude(tte) continues to improve upon it, possibly adding the ability to automatically mount onto other directories as well as drive letters. I like keeping a FAT32 partition mounted onto a private directory on my NTFS file system. Works pretty well as long as Windows doesn't try to undo what I did.

  3. By mirabile (212.185.103.56) on http://mirbsd.de/

    Looks like it's read-only. A pity, but I'll play with it ASAP.

    1. By Janne Johansson (196.40.43.75) on

      When I was doing openbsd on my amiga, having a FFS-capable filesystem reader on amigaOS and an amiga-ffs capable one in the BSD environment actually fulfilled all my needs, either OS would write to its native filesystem with no/low risk, and the foreign OS would use the extra filesystem driver to harmlessly read said files off the other partition so that you never had the possibility of a bug in the write-part of thwe filesystems mess up in a way that was hard to recover. Seeing how msdos-fs, ntfs and other filesystems have a "hard" time getting all kinds of writes right at all times, this seems like a rather good solution when you get used to it. The same goes for ext2/3 and linux too, you probably want to write natively as much as possible and then read it from the foreign OS later without having to worry about how the foreign system will react when some unknown bit is flipped the "wrong" way unexpectedly and the foreign OS can't make heads or tails of it.

    2. By Anonymous Coward (138.88.235.217) on

      Maybe, but do you really want to give Windows the ability to write to your *BSD slices? Read-ability is good enough for my purposes. Maybe with enough tweaking, a full-featured driver actually could allow you to boot Windoze off an FFS partition (no more defrag!), but I doubt it would be worth the trouble if if if if it worked in the first place.

    3. By Anonymous Coward (24.201.62.155) on

      If it's a pity, why not add to it and make it RW if it is RO? Seriously...

  4. By RC (4.8.17.8) on

    This is the best news I've heard in a LONG time. I've been looking for this for years.

    Just think about it, now every major OS around, supports FFS/UFS. Linux, BSDs, Mac OSX, Windows, Solaris, etc. Once this Windows driver improves to the point of stable read/write functionality, it would be possible for all removable media to be FFS-formatted.

    Microsoft has made it so that you can't format a large (30+GB) disk as FAT32 on their newer OSes (2000/XP), obviously in an effort to force you to use NTFS.

    With this FFS driver, all removable hard drives (USB/Firewire) can come formatted as FFS, and work on every OS. Probably even solid-state devices like CompactFlash and SD cards, as they both get bigger, and need a better filesystem (one that doesn't get fragmented, etc).

    1. By Anonymous Coward (198.175.14.5) on

      Unfortunately, FFS is still endian dependant, so you won't be able to read your media on opposite endian platforms. FAT will live forever.

      1. By RC (4.8.17.8) on

        > FFS is still endian dependant, so you won't be able
        > to read your media on opposite endian platforms.

        It will require a simple workaround, nothing more. Backup tapes had to deal with the problem quite a long time ago.

        > FAT will live forever.

        Microsoft's attempt to force people to switch everything to NTFS is sure to kill it.

    2. By Anonymous Coward (138.88.235.217) on

      >>>Microsoft has made it so that you can't format a large (30+GB) disk as FAT32 on their newer OSes (2000/XP), obviously in an effort to force you to use NTFS. Obviously?? FAT32 and its previous incarnations are total garbage and always have been. Microsoft has forced the DOS-legacy crap down our throats for far too long. You'd have to be crazy to make a 30GB FAT* partition. Personally, I like the idea of using a small emulation layer to run Windows NTFS drivers so that BSD users can easily read/write to NTFS on occasion. Better than wasting time writing a native driver from scratch.

    3. By mirabile (212.185.103.56) on http://mirbsd.de/

      FFS (UFS) support in Linux <=2.4 is pathetic,
      and in 2.6 they dropped support for it at all.
      Heck, the ext2fs support in Windows is so good
      and that one in BSD sufficient so that one had
      to use ext2fs as data exchange format (if not
      FAT) just because these Linux idiots are too
      stupid to look over the plate border (hm. should
      not translate idioms.) and too busy with their
      crappy journalling-added filesystems (except
      Reiser, which is good, like 4.4BSD LFS) to hack
      on UFS. And msdosfs in BSD is not even good for
      an excuse, I had more metadata corruption with
      it than with any other filesystem write attempts
      except NTFS on Linux.

      What the world needs is:
      - good ext2fs support in all OSes
      - good FAT support in all OSes
      - good UFS at least read support in all OSes
      - either Reiserfs or 4.4BSD LFS on Linux and BSD
      - a _generic_ kernel-userland-fs interface,
      common to Linux and BSD, for stuff like
      captive-ntfs and gnome-vfs.

      .oO(run ffsdrv.sys in captive-ntfs on Linux?)

      1. By Anonymous Coward (128.36.236.30) on

        > FFS (UFS) support in Linux <=2.4 is pathetic,
        and in 2.6 they dropped support for it at all.

        # pwd
        /usr/src/linux-2.6.9-mm1
        # grep UFS .config
        # CONFIG_UFS_FS is not set

        Looks like its supported to me.

      2. By RC (4.8.17.8) on

        The Windows/Ext2 driver I've seen is read-only (and horrific if you enabled write support). In addition, it's a GUI program, not a real filesystem driver. Plus, Ext2 is not a great filesystem. The performance is terrible when ext2 partitions are mounted as sync, and when they are mounted async(default) for performance, filesystem corruption is VERY common.

        Better FAT support in OpenBSD would be nice right now, but it can't hang on too long... It doesn't support huge partitions and has other serious limitations, so it's going to die off in the future.

        Linux's UFS support is poor, of course, but surely someone would improve that once UFS gains a little momentum.

        Linux FSes in general are not a good option, because they are GPL'd, and a complete rewrite would be necessary before any other OS would include support.

    4. By erm (67.20.44.104) on

      generally in agreement.... but incorrect about the fat32/windows/30 gig thing just formatted and installed xp with sp2 on a 60 gig in fat32 the other day (its what im posting from now)

  5. By Anonymous Coward (213.76.250.62) on

    Latest version doesn't work uder WinXP SP1 , Didn't check earlier versios. :( . It says wrong parameter, however I tried various parameters.

    1. By Anonymous Coward (138.88.235.217) on

      Just upgrade to SP2 already.

  6. By Simon (217.157.132.75) on

    Looks nice, but for some reason I can only mount the / partition, which is kind of useless.

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