We have moved to a new Sailfish OS Forum. Please start new discussions there.

Support exFAT

asked 2013-12-30 13:17:10 +0200

aegis gravatar image

updated 2014-12-05 22:31:24 +0200

pulsar gravatar image

Currently exFAT is not supported by Sailfish due to licencing issues. Unfortunately it is the native format used for all microSD cards bigger than 32GB as shipped and the default format from Windows and Mac format tools.

VFAT32 supports cards >32GB but is not an option in the Windows format UI. You can from the DOS CLI however. On the Mac, you can format a 64GB card as vFAT32. The caveat being you can't then have files larger than 4 GB.

Neither Mac nor Windows support Linux file systems but do support exFAT.

For mainstream acceptance it's imperative that Jolla licence exFAT.

edit retag flag offensive close delete



Is exFAT (not FAT32) really that important? I've never seen it anywhere. And by actively rejecting it, there is still at least the chance to avoid it spread out like a disease or like FAT32.

pycage ( 2013-12-30 15:28:17 +0200 )edit

If you buy any SD card or USB stick >32GB it comes formatted exFAT.

If you want to transfer large files between a Mac and Windows it's the only filesystem both support. I know designers who work in mixed Mac/Windows offices with external hard drives formatted exFAT.

Most video cameras like gopro use exFAT. You hit the 4GB file size limit quickly shooting HD video.

Not supporting something so widespread is simply stubborn dogma.

aegis ( 2013-12-30 18:13:27 +0200 )edit

I do not intend to be regularly removing my internal SD card so compatibility with other systems is not an issue for me. I would much rather my internal SD/XD card had the most compatible file system for Jolla/Sailfish and download any files on it via WLAN or USB. I am not great fan of M$.


richardski ( 2014-01-07 15:47:45 +0200 )edit

Your opinion that exFat licensing in Jolla is imperative for mainstream acceptance does not make it a fact. Besides, Jolla as an unlike open tech company is probably not ecen targeting to become mainstream-compliant so in that regard your claim/request is either out-of-scope or irrelevant.

foss4ever ( 2015-02-03 03:57:34 +0200 )edit

BTW: funny that you are not aware that there, in fact, is some support for Linux filesystems in M$-OS:es. I know for a fact, that e.g. ext2/3 drivers are available and work fine..

foss4ever ( 2015-02-03 04:05:43 +0200 )edit

7 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2013-12-30 14:29:24 +0200

siggi_digital gravatar image

I paid 400€ for my jolla, and i don't want to see that MS gets one cent for exfat licensing. Just my thoughts

edit flag offensive delete publish link more



I personally agree. I'm idiologically dissapointed that we have Microsoft Exchange support but no CalDAV or CardDAV. However, on a pragmatic basis exFAT is the defacto standard used on Windows, Mac OS X and many other devices such as cameras.

Perhaps the way forward would be a separate bundle of features that require licences.

aegis ( 2013-12-30 14:48:38 +0200 )edit

Exfat doesn't per se mean income for Microsoft, because it's not completely closed source. The problem here isn't that Microsoft gets money for it, the problem is that exfat is used as a standard for (micro)-SDXC cards file system. As we can't change that and that's the rootcause of the problem, I still opt for out-of-the-box support for exfat/>64GB SD-cards.

RobNas ( 2014-04-23 15:44:30 +0200 )edit

Same here. I don't want crowdfunded money to be wasted on supporting poisonous proprietary lock-in of Microsoft.

shmerl ( 2014-12-04 18:24:13 +0200 )edit

@shmerl but you're happy to do that for Exchange support, Google accounts, Facebook, Twitter, MP3, H.264, GSM and a load of other licences we probably don't know about.

All of which you're paying for already.

aegis ( 2014-12-04 19:24:36 +0200 )edit

Surely not happy with it. But they aren't added as post factum crowdfunded goal that could be easily avoided.

And, you have a good point. Sailfish can offer things more on opt-in basis, and not as by default features in such cases.

shmerl ( 2014-12-04 19:25:36 +0200 )edit

answered 2013-12-30 14:46:48 +0200

Kontio gravatar image

just to compare with @siggi_digital answer, would you pay for exFAT support let's say additionally 2€ from store?

edit flag offensive delete publish link more



That's something i could live with ;)

siggi_digital ( 2013-12-30 14:54:40 +0200 )edit

Definitely. The alternatives are to add ext4/btrfs file system support to my Mac and they cost €30 or so and from my testing, not very reliable and not as widely supported as exFAT.

But, my intention with this suggestion was not to flag up workarounds that techie users could muddle through with but to address the problem of exFAT being what it is.

aegis ( 2013-12-30 14:57:07 +0200 )edit

Offering exFAT as paid item in store sounds like the better solution to me. There's no point to give money to Microsoft for a feature that > 90% of users probably don't ever need. This way only money for sold exFAT licenses would go to Microsoft.

pycage ( 2013-12-30 15:21:56 +0200 )edit

Yes, certainly.

RobNas ( 2014-04-23 15:44:52 +0200 )edit

As this duscussion is back on track with the extra goals for the Jolla tablet, I like the idea that it can be bought as a option from the Harbour ass soon as paid apps are possible. You want exFAT support pay the licence money for it.

BonoNL ( 2014-11-30 22:46:48 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-08-29 17:33:29 +0200

pakman gravatar image

updated 2019-08-29 17:46:19 +0200

News came out yesterday that raises the prospect of the old exFAT issue being finally resolved: Microsoft's only gone and published the exFAT spec, now supports popping it in the Linux kernel. It will probably be a while before it makes it into a kernel run by SFOS, but at least the legal hurdles are going to disappear.

This thread is one that I didn't think would ever be raised from the dead, but life is full of surprises!

EDIT: I just noticed that @olf posted about this news here

edit flag offensive delete publish link more

answered 2015-01-30 20:12:47 +0200

simo gravatar image

Good workaround: ExFAT support on Linux can be achieved with installing FUSE plugin, see for example this implementation https://code.google.com/p/exfat/wiki/HOWTO

edit flag offensive delete publish link more


Perhaps I'm missing something but does the name of the project - exfat-read-only - not suggest that is read only support?

aegis ( 2015-01-30 20:25:55 +0200 )edit

Full-featured includes write as well: "This project aims to provide a full-featured exFAT file system implementation for GNU/Linux"

simo ( 2015-01-30 20:38:46 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-03-05 01:05:38 +0200

ScumCoder gravatar image

Okay, I definitely suck as a lawyer, but I simply don't see any problem here. There are lots of patented formats which you can't (officially) use in your product without paying a fee. But if you are a customer, suddenly the whole problem just vanishes - you simply go to wherever the needed library/driver/whatever is hosted and download it from there. Noone is going to put you to jail because you have libdvdcss on your Linux laptop in order to watch CSS-scrambled DVDs. (Or do they? As I said, I'm no lawyer, so maybe there actually are countries where not only providing, but even using libdvdcss is illegal).

Just look at any Linux distro. Take OpenSuSE for example. They ship the distro without support for any patented algorithms, but you can just plug in the sorcerous Packman repo and download all those "illegal" libraries. And everyone keeps his front going: OpenSuSE makers pretend like they are not involved in maintaining Packman, users get their support for media formats.

What is the problem with doing the same here? Everyone will be happy (except maybe Microsoft).

edit flag offensive delete publish link more



I suppose it depends on the country you reside. On some you might get jailtime for installing de-CSS... :)

However, in finland at least there is no problem distributing and using patented algorithms as long as you do not make any profit on it.

I created exfat support packages for SFOS just to see how easy it would be: alternative-exfat-open-source-code

juiceme ( 2015-03-05 08:14:27 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-12-04 14:33:50 +0200

tuniek gravatar image

https://together.jolla.com/question/68538/official-announcement-supporting-larger-microsd-cards-in-the-jolla-tablet-your-input-is-needed/ ?? ?? ?? :)

edit flag offensive delete publish link more

answered 2015-01-31 15:57:41 +0200

cemoi71 gravatar image

did someone give a look on it?:
exfat google code
Samsung Properly Open-Sources exFAT File-System

edit flag offensive delete publish link more
Login/Signup to Answer

Question tools



Asked: 2013-12-30 13:17:10 +0200

Seen: 3,848 times

Last updated: Aug 29 '19