Years ago, NTFS replaced FAT32 as the file system of Windows systems; and that forced Linux systems to have to try live with NTFS if only to try and access other partitions on dual-boot computers.

However, this mission had always been a stone in the Linux shoe, operating with all kinds of limitations despite numerous efforts… At least until now.

Although Microsoft released its patents on exFAT systems when it changed its rhetoric regarding open source, information on how NTFS operated was kept to itself.

Not that that has stopped the open source community before.: resorting to reverse engineering has allowed great advances in recent years to achieve compatibility with protocols such as SMB, or to carry out projects such as Wine, the Windows emulator.

However, NTFS had proven more difficult to manage, and progress had been much more discreet, such that Linux users they had only two incomplete NTFS drivers at your service:

  • NTFS-3G: Used from Linux, was only able to read NTFS drives, not to write in them (later he was able to, but he was still unable to do things like change file permissions). And it’s excruciatingly slow to use, not to mention that the official Arch Linux wiki recommends backing up your data before trying to use it to resize a partition.

  • Captive NTFS: Capable of writing and reading NTFS partitions … but using the ntfs.sys file from Windows itself, with all the technical and legal complications that that entailed. In any case, this project is dead and is no longer being updated.

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And that’s where Paragon comes in

While, the Paragon company had set out to create its own NTFS driver for Linux owner taking a different approach: partnering with Microsoft. Its driver was fast and efficient, yes, but Microsoft’s change in strategy with respect to Linux caught Paragon ‘with a different foot’ …

… until they themselves decided to take note of the swerve given by Satya Nadella and offer your driver code to the Linux community to be included in the kernel. That was in September 2020.

Ever since Ballmer said Linux was a cancer, to Nadella and her love of Open Source: this has been Microsoft's relationship with the OS

But it quickly became clear that going from good intentions was going to be tricky: Linus Torvalds and the rest of the Linux kernel maintainers found the drive code unintegrabler; In the first place, because it was too long (27,000 lines of code) and because the Paragon developers were not able to integrate into the GitHub workflow.

However, a year later, after several multiple problems and complications when coordinating work, Paragon’s NTFS3 driver is integrated into the ‘realease candidate’ of version 5.15 of the Linux kernel, which will shortly become the stable version of it and will begin to be integrated into large distributions.

And at that point, at last, NTFS will have finished its Linux integration journey. It is never late if happiness is good.

Via | The Register