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[Poll] File System(s) support on SD card for Jolla Tablet

asked 2014-12-03 15:16:30 +0200

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updated 2014-12-05 22:17:31 +0200

pulsar gravatar image

Dear Jolla Community,

As announced in this post, here is an official poll where you can vote and above all contribute by proposing better Open Source File System(s) support on the Jolla Tablet.

As an example, an encrypted microSD card (LUKS) is a possible option.

We really want to drive this with your immensely valuable input, and work together to implement the solutions you want and need.

So please, have your say, discuss and vote on what really matters to you, the Community!

Thank you <3

Jolla Tablet Team


As this is a poll, remember to always set your answer as a wiki post, else you might lose some karma points...
And also have a look to the guidelines tag to learn more about our general practices, thanks!


@Stskeeps wrote:

As a general note: here's the chance to affect something better being supported for open file systems under SailfishOS. Exclude X from device isn't something doing that. Things like, export your files as ext3 over USB, multi-partition support in the device, enablement of swap if existing in file system table, selections in dialogs of ext4/btrfs/ZFS/what do you have, .. even NFS. It's a good time to get creative.

Once we have gathered a good amount of feedback and ideas, we will take the most significant (feasibility, usefulness...) proposals and gather them in a new poll as runner ups for the final decision on what can be implemented.
Let's work this together :)

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20

Why is everything "jolla-tablet"? I thought it is SailfishOS... the then two devices should behave the same, software-wise.

chemist ( 2014-12-03 17:54:21 +0200 )edit
10

The answer: inidiviual pay for exfat. People who wants to use it, can use it. You can push it to Sailfish just as the optional update(1.1.x) before. Pay Jolla, Jolla flips the switch and a system-update comes in, with exfat.

RobNas ( 2014-12-03 18:14:58 +0200 )edit
6

As a general note: here's the chance to affect something better being supported for open file systems under SailfishOS. Exclude X from device isn't something doing that. Things like, export your files as ext3 over USB, multi-partition support in the device, enablement of swap if existing in file system table, selections in dialogs of ext4/btrfs/ZFS/what do you have, .. even NFS. It's a good time to get creative.

Stskeeps ( 2014-12-03 21:48:49 +0200 )edit
3

Reading Stskeeps's comment it may be better to retitle the poll and not restrict it to file system support "on SD card" as the tablet has USB host mode and file system support is also essential for devices which are attached to the USB port or connected over the network.

flint ( 2014-12-04 18:12:35 +0200 )edit
3

This topic is very related to the wiki post I made nearly a year ago, so be sure to pay a visit to it :) : https://together.jolla.com/question/9816/use-alternative-file-systems-for-sd-card/

javispedro ( 2014-12-04 19:30:05 +0200 )edit

32 Answers

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163

answered 2014-12-03 17:36:03 +0200

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updated 2015-01-11 22:57:07 +0200

rdmo gravatar image

Given that the legal status is as described in update 4 of this request, I suggest the following:

Support SDHC (up to 32GB, no exFAT licensing). With a user installable package, support:

  • >32 GB formatted with btrfs, and optional LUKS encryption.
  • If possible, paid-for exFAT license package to support SDXC.

This way, the shipped device have no proprietary licenses and can be marked SDHC. SDXC upgrade possible for those that need it, at cost. Those that want a good free solution using the same file system as the Sailfish root and home get this, and we do have the possibility of encrypting our external storage. This would also future proof for example for F2FS formatting when Sailfish is upgraded to a newer kernel and it can be considered stable enough.

If the legal status in the linked post is not accurate, other options may exist. Has no-one else run into this problem with SD standardization? Any other open project implementing SD card formats outside of the SD standard, what file systems and technologies do they use?

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4

The problem is, that Jolla probably needs to buy hardware (the sdcard slot/reader) that supports 128gb. I suppose that is more expensive than using a 32gb version. If they pay for the better hardware without being able to advertise support for it, they burn money. Jane Average will look at the device and say "No SDXC support? Not going to buy it."

So in order to just please some license "vegans", they will lose profit and pay more for the hardware. Makes no sense to me.

the_mgt ( 2014-12-03 17:43:52 +0200 )edit
4

It seems very doubtful to me that there would be a significant - or possibly even any - difference in the cost of the hardware. To me it seems more likely that there is a risk in buying older components supporting only 32GB, because they may become more difficult to source in the future, forcing to find a pin-compatible replacement or modify the hardware. Maybe the Jolla phone already has the 128G-capable hardware? About providing a separate license downloadable from the Jolla store: sounds like a nice idea, though I'm not certain it is possible to have a cheapish cost for the program. It would depend on the details of the licensing. Personally I wouldn't mind not paying for EXFAT that I wouldn't probably use.

flux ( 2014-12-03 17:52:14 +0200 )edit
2

I don't know the exact details of the standards (SDHC vs SDXC), nor the hardware. From what I understood the hardware is basically the same, that was one of my assumptions. The structure of the license of exFAT is also an unknown to me (fixed fee per company, per device, combination?).

The requirements made by the SD association seem absurd to me, and the requirement to support a proprietary filesystem is very unfortunate. I take this opportunity opened by the Jolla Tablet Team to explore if the situation can be remedied or made at least somewhat better than it is today.

Adding to this I would really like to see encryption support for both internal and external memory on Sailfish devices. LUKS is to me the obvious solution to this.

jwalck ( 2014-12-03 18:09:23 +0200 )edit
8

The problem is, that Jolla probably needs to buy hardware (the sdcard slot/reader) that supports 128gb. I suppose that is more expensive than using a 32gb version.

Doesn't Jolla handset have the same situation? It can read cards more than 32 GB just fine (in BTRFS for example) and it doesn't advertise SDXC.

The requirements made by the SD association seem absurd to me,

I'd classify them as insane and appearing to violate antitrust laws like product tying. But I'm not a lawyer of course so this can be a complex matter.

shmerl ( 2014-12-03 20:25:03 +0200 )edit
1

Altough hardware was different between SD and SDHC (I don't know the exact difference(s) but I'm pretty sure my old SD reader could not read the SDHC ones), there is no difference in the hardware implementation between SDHC and SDXC. My "old" SDHC reader was bought before SDXC was even talked about and reads perfectly SDXC cards whether they are formatted in exFAT (using fuse-exfat) or any other native filesystem.

Triton ( 2014-12-03 21:50:09 +0200 )edit
77

answered 2014-12-03 16:23:57 +0200

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updated 2014-12-06 15:33:16 +0200

dsilveira gravatar image

I do not like exfat on any kind of storage... First argument against is license payment to Microsoft.

Thinking about filesystems designed for flash storage f2fs comes to mind. btrfs might be kind of "oversized" for removable media. (Though it is great for internal storage, allowing the creation of snapshots and complete rollback in case update breaks, ...)

LUKS is just a transparent encryption layer and independent from filesystem. So it would work with btrfs, f2fs, ext4, .... and even exfat (though other exfat devices can not handle it without LUKS support, which would break compatibility, the reason for having it in the first place).

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1

Is f2fs available in 3.4 and up?

Stskeeps ( 2014-12-03 16:28:37 +0200 )edit
5

For me not licensing exFAT is also pivotal. I'd much rather have a user friendly UI for formatting the card as one of the above mention "open" formats. Maybe show a dialog if the user inserts a card with a not supported format offering the choice to format the card.

If exFAT support is purely sofware based, it could also offer to purchase support for it.

Tanghus ( 2014-12-03 16:35:03 +0200 )edit
1

No, f2fs was introduced in kernel version 3.8. Probably would be wise to have a more recent version, this is a new file system and received a lot of bug fixes lately.

Are we stuck with kernel version 3.4 for any reason? That would be really sad.

eworm ( 2014-12-03 16:36:07 +0200 )edit
3

I'd propose that you remove the statement about your dislikes about exfat and license fee. I agree about that, but I think we are voting here about possible alternatives that we would like to see, not whether we like exfat or not. Our dislike we have already shown here, or?

dac ( 2014-12-03 17:27:04 +0200 )edit
1

but I think we are voting here about possible alternatives that we would like to see, not whether we like exfat or not.

I think exFAT problem is included here as well. So proposal to make it optional is one part of the vote here. That's the original issue after all.

shmerl ( 2014-12-03 22:51:18 +0200 )edit
55

answered 2014-12-03 17:32:10 +0200

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updated 2014-12-03 17:40:45 +0200

Nicd gravatar image

Support 128GB SDXC cards out of the box and pay the license fee.

Reasons (in no special order):

  1. Jane Doe wants to buy an SDXC card, put it in their computer, move files onto the card and simply use it on the tablet.
  2. exFAT works in modern Windows and OS X computers, out of the box. On Linux, there is a FUSE version.
  3. Everyone who knows and cares about the cards filesystem is probably able to use any FS they likes.
  4. Buying an open-source powered tablet does not contradict being able to use a propriety FS.
  5. This whole discussions already drew enough human resources of the few Jolla Sailors, I'd rather pay MS than waste more time of the devs. Devs should spend time on developing.
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7

Is that really what Jane does... Jane buys an sdcard puts it in her tablet and everything else is magic for her - she connects the tablet to her computer and starts copying files, no? Every Camera has that in the manual, "If your card is not usable in the camera you might need to use the 'Format SDCard' option from the menu!"

chemist ( 2014-12-03 17:47:14 +0200 )edit
6

And since MTP is still defective on OSX, she needs to put the card directly into an sd slot on a mac. Which is able to understand exFAT.

the_mgt ( 2014-12-03 17:57:41 +0200 )edit
9
  • "fuse support" invalidates option 1. How many Jane Does know how to install the fuse driver, and mount it?
    • Regarding (2): So it works on 2/3 OSs. A rather poor metric. Especially considering an open source tablet would only be compatible with propietary OSs by default, kinda ironic.
    • Regarding (4): Using a propietary FS by default actually does contradict sponsoring open-sourceness.
WhyNotHugo ( 2014-12-03 18:07:25 +0200 )edit
10

Yes, 2/3 of all OSes, but +90% of all Desktop Computers, since Linux is still a minority. Jane Doe does not use Linux. If she did, Linux will probably tell her to format the sd card, this file system will probably be readable by the tablet anyway. I still do not see why supporting the theoretical use of a propriety FS does contradict your pure open-source usage of the device. This is not about Jolla forcing users to use anything, it is about their right to advertise something which might gain a larger market share.

the_mgt ( 2014-12-03 18:24:48 +0200 )edit
9

For people with knowhow and interest in technology it may be acceptable to format the card on other file system, but not for average joe. I don't want to see threads about lost files because of uneducated user doing format unintentionally. So, I think it's better to swallow our pride and pay the license for the sake of user friendliness for average people interested in Jolla.

MSH ( 2014-12-03 19:35:51 +0200 )edit
52

answered 2014-12-03 16:29:22 +0200

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updated 2014-12-03 16:33:33 +0200

eric gravatar image

LUKS with a move of all personal data onto sd-card would be cool. What would even be cooler is that you can not use your phone anymore (without factory-reset) if you take out the sd-card. So if you have really hot data on it you can even bite your data an swallow it down :). So the lack of device encryption would not be anymore so hard to take.

Off course these must be realized as opt-in.

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So what filesystem should be taken? I think that most if not all of us agree to taking LUKS for (optional) encryption of the microsd and maybe even part/all of the phone memory. You could even do exFAT on LUKS, although that won't be supported by many standard consumer devices... But what filesystem/combination would you propose? I thought this is a question to give us alternatives to exFAT, not only vote for encryption.

dac ( 2014-12-03 17:23:28 +0200 )edit
1

I'm against the option to have the device become a brick if the sd-card is removed. I've had micro SD cards fail on me before, and the last thing I would want is to also lose all the data on the device's internal storage if the micro SD card happens to fail.

hmartin ( 2014-12-03 20:00:02 +0200 )edit
1

My experience at least with Android tablets is that the microSD cards are less reliable than the internal storage. So I would prefer to have the personal data on the internal storage and not on the SD card.

flint ( 2014-12-03 20:16:15 +0200 )edit
1

I'd like to keep the possibility to insert my camera sd card to edit photos on the run, so if the device's datas are all in another card I wouldn't be able to stuffs like that.

sandy_locke ( 2014-12-14 15:06:20 +0200 )edit
42

answered 2014-12-03 17:43:41 +0200

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updated 2014-12-03 17:43:41 +0200

spaetz gravatar image

Just forego the darn logo, call it SD (supporting fat32), and support ext4/btrfs what the kernel supports anyway. People can format their large cards in the tablet, on their Linux desktop or use a 32Gb fat32 partition followed by a real partition....

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2

Call it TransFlash, as it was called some years ago.

Giacomo Di Giacomo ( 2014-12-04 18:42:55 +0200 )edit
1

and with fuse you can also support exFAT

dsilveira ( 2014-12-06 15:37:42 +0200 )edit
1

If the name microSD is useable, just call it 128GB microSD and be done with it!

00prometheus ( 2015-02-16 19:53:58 +0200 )edit
37

answered 2014-12-03 18:21:46 +0200

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updated 2014-12-03 20:58:09 +0200

shmerl gravatar image

Is such proposal feasible?

  1. Don't advertise SD support (or at least SDXC one).
  2. Don't include exFAT by default (so crowdfunding money won't be wasted on it).
  3. Add an easy option to install exFAT support as a paid add-on. For example it can be offered when user inserts an exFAT formatted card in the tablet. Since it's a one time step for such users, it shouldn't be a major hindrance.

This would satisfy those who don't want to pay to MS for this nasty patent as well as those who might need exFAT support. So it's a reasonable compromise. Adding more filesystems on top of providing a mandatory exFAT is not solving this issue.

Now about which open filesystems to support out of the box (kernel and tools). I'd like to have a least these:

ext4, XFS, BTRFS, F2FS, UDF (FAT32 is already supported apparently as well as BTRFS, so it's about adding ext4, XFS, F2FS and UDF).

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3

I am researching the internet and find no reason why UDF should not be used, would be glad if anybody would explain it to me. It's an open standard, supported by all operating systems (or most), has no data size limitations, etc. I use mainly Windows and as a test have formatted a 32gb microsd card with UDF; works flawlessly; I have read similar reports about Linux as well. So why not put a requirement to use any microsd you want to use with the Jolla Tablet with the tablet first? There it can give two default choices: format with UDF (cross compatible and free) or format with EXFAT (payable package). Either way after that choice, the microsd will be compatible with the other devices/OSes. Can somebody perhaps test a >32gb microsd with UDF on different OSes as well (I don't have any >32gb)?

dimitridv ( 2014-12-04 15:48:58 +0200 )edit
1

@dimitridv:

While UDF is indeed supported on more systems than exFAT is, there are still cases where UDF isn't available - such as cameras for example. But in general now it's probably the best interoperable option overall which supports large volumes and large files as well.

shmerl ( 2014-12-04 18:57:26 +0200 )edit

@shmerl: in cameras honestly I wouldn't use a 128 GB microsd card; in mine I use a standard SD of 32 GB (FS: fat32); most don't support the SDXC format anyway, big SD cards are faster, and 32 GB of space are more than enough for a holiday long of shooting. Anybody else can suggest any other downside? I will probably create an answer just for UDF...

dimitridv ( 2014-12-04 19:58:19 +0200 )edit
1

I don't get this either. I've been using UDF on my usb drives for ages and it's easily the most interoperable format available, and the only non-royalty filesystem that will work on Windows out of the box. I think UDF is the filesystem to choose on a 'people powered tablet'.

Andy Branson ( 2014-12-04 22:57:35 +0200 )edit

Regarding this statement, "Don't include exFAT by default (so crowdfunding money won't be wasted on it).", in my opinion (and as a fellow crowd funder), it isn't money wasted. That's a different opinion to yours for sure, but that's the nature of a crowd, we don't all agree. :) Be careful with blanket terms like that, which don't necessarily speak for all. ;)

John Haynes ( 2014-12-06 13:57:37 +0200 )edit
20

answered 2014-12-03 16:43:26 +0200

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updated 2014-12-16 18:36:20 +0200

Kollin gravatar image
  • ext4/2 +luks +lvm!

Sorry, btrfs is still beta!!!

This us unacceptable behavior in a commercial and expensive product!!!

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2

KISS will have to rule here. ext\n or btrfs + LUKS + possibly LVM (I leave that decision to someone else, can be done without aswell) sounds like the sound option to me. BTRFS is already in use for both root and home on the Jolla, so beta or not we've already accepted it.

mount|grep btrfs

/dev/mmcblk0p28 on / type btrfs (rw,noatime,ssd,noacl,space_cache,autodefrag) /dev/mmcblk0p28 on /home type btrfs (rw,relatime,ssd,noacl,space_cache,autodefrag)

jwalck ( 2014-12-03 17:23:18 +0200 )edit
2

@jwalck Oh no, btrfs HAS to go completely (root, home, EVERYWHERE!)

Kollin ( 2014-12-03 17:39:48 +0200 )edit

@Kollin: Well, I agree on the issue that was linked, but as far as i unterstood, this issue surfaces because of the relatively small size of the internal flash. I do guess that with the 32GB flash in the tablet it might not have these issues. Especially not if joined with a microsd card of 32GB or more.

dac ( 2014-12-03 18:10:31 +0200 )edit

@dac Besides Btrfs killed two SanDisc 64 GB SDXC cards formated by this method here is the thread!

Kollin ( 2014-12-03 18:44:32 +0200 )edit

@Kollin: Was that because of taking the whole card, like Manatus said? Or it was not recoverable?

dac ( 2014-12-03 18:47:20 +0200 )edit
19

answered 2014-12-03 18:13:52 +0200

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updated 2014-12-16 19:29:19 +0200

chemist gravatar image

From a user point of view:

  • I want to plug my xxxGB sd into a device (phone and/or tablet), it asks me if I want to encrypt all data on it and it tells me that all data will be lost and ask me for the device lock code if I chose to do that - "don't ask again" is a needed option, if I say "no" it tells me that this is an option in settings if I chose to do it later.. If I have data on the card I will save that elsewhere and try again. I do not care what the device does to my card when I chose to encrypt it (that is the android/windows case - no one cares what it does when you chose to encrypt the device and sdcard on android/windows, do they? with LUKS at least any LUKS capable OS can recover it), done

From a geek point of view:

  • I want the above + an advanced tab where I have the choice between ext2/3/4, btrfs, xfs, extFAT and related configuration options - LUKS with options (cypher, length, blocksize etc) and everything supported with a nice GUI, also on startup asking me for the keys to my kingdom
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2

Two keywords in this poll for me would be KISS, and usability. The above offers both. The more this is discussed, the more I am supportive of paying for SDXC (and supporting exFAT) as well as offering encryption.

jwalck ( 2014-12-03 18:27:55 +0200 )edit

Isn't KISS a replacement for NFC or short range data transfer in general?

chemist ( 2014-12-03 18:43:44 +0200 )edit
2

@chemist I was referring to the KISS principle. Not adding complexity for complexities sake. Appologies for the ambiguity!

jwalck ( 2014-12-03 19:08:35 +0200 )edit
16

answered 2014-12-03 15:37:52 +0200

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updated 2014-12-03 17:33:52 +0200

dac gravatar image

Use BTRFS on LUKS on microsd.

Possibly add option to make a multi-device btrfs volume joining internal flash and microsd card.

Essentially THAT would be only for people who won't unplug the microsd at all (or not too often, as unplugging means possibly relocating everything to internal flash before removal).

Add optional encryption for the volume. I have no experience with btrfs so I can't say how encryption can be done here, if it can be done for everything or also only partial (user related data, home directory).

Possibly somehow like this (1-3 added for having part of the internal flash encrypted):

a. internal flash is btrfs with os snapshot

  1. possibly reduce internal btrfs volume size

  2. use gained free internal space to make LUKS container

  3. add internal LUKS container to main btrfs volume

b. microsd is encrypted using LUKS

c. LUKS container is added to main btrfs volume

Question: How to make sure OS is always on unencrypted volume part while personal data is only saved on LUKS containers?

Is there any obvious hook here?

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4

Probably a bad idea. This will destroy all your data if internel or microsd storage breaks. And this even happens if microsd card is ejected by accident.

eworm ( 2014-12-03 16:14:29 +0200 )edit

hm. I didn't consider that... So then let's look for something else... What if the OS (binaries etc) is on an unencrypted btrfs volume, while the rest of the flash is joined with the microsd for an encrypted volume containing user data and user related data?

dac ( 2014-12-03 16:16:10 +0200 )edit
1

Hm, actually I am not sure if it will break all data in all cases. Let's think it through.

  • the internal flash is a btrfs volume from the start.

  • the microsd card can be encrypted using LUKS

  • the btrfs volume is then extended using the encrypted LUKS container

  • BTRFS is a COW system. So the parts of the system that are unmodified will stay on the internal flash, and not be overwritten when modified, but copied (modified) to free space, which could be on internal flash or luks container.

  • if the microsd is ejected, it is problematic, but that should be possibly healed by just reinsertion.

  • if the device flash memory fails, all the part that was written on device flash memory is gone, true. Same like when you don't use a card.

  • if the microsd fails, the data from there is lost. same like with all microsd approaches, be it exFAT, ext4 on LUKS or whatever.

  • the os will not be lost by microsd failure because the snapshot is on internal flash, no matter whether the btrfs is stretching over both.

  • a btrfs can still be mounted if one device is broken. metadata is normally mirrored. some saved data might still be lost, but I don't see how that is different from a memory failure in other cases, like ext4 on luks on lvm for example...

dac ( 2014-12-03 16:51:10 +0200 )edit
12

answered 2014-12-03 20:04:09 +0200

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updated 2014-12-03 21:19:04 +0200

flint gravatar image

I'm afraid I don't understand what this poll exactly is about.

  • Is it about exFAT support?

Then my vote is No. I don't need it. I use the card only as storage extension for the tablet and do not intend to swap it in and out. Any file system which is supported directly by the kernel (i.e. not via fuse) and supports all the Linux file system attributes is better for that use.

  • Is it about general open source file system support for the microSD card?

Then it should support all file systems which the linux kernel supports.

  • Is it about which kernel modules and file system tools to include in the default distribution?

Then I vote for at least ext4, btrfs, f2fs, isofs, FAT (to read USB sticks and cards attached to the device with an external card reader) and maybe xfs.

  • Is it about which file system should be used on the microSD card by default?

Then for simplicity by default it should use the same file system as it's used for the built-in storage. But of course you should have the option to use other file systems.

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2

I guess besides kernel support open filesystems require various tools like for fsck and the like (which are also needed to actually enable formatting in them). So may be the poll is about which open filesystems support to include in Sailfish out of the box?

As such this poll isn't really solving anything about the main problem backers have with exFAT licensing.

shmerl ( 2014-12-03 20:32:20 +0200 )edit
2

@shmerl: Good point, of course the file system tools are needed too. :) Not sure though if it's really necessary to include support for all the file systems supported by the kernel seeing the rather long list in my /lib/modules/*/kernel/fs directory (minix anyone? :P). Have adjusted the answer, thanks!

flint ( 2014-12-03 20:41:36 +0200 )edit
2

Forgot isofs in the file system list, sometimes you may have to mount a CD image. Added.

flint ( 2014-12-03 21:20:00 +0200 )edit

@flint: Hmm, what exactly is unclear? This poll is about you, proposing ideas or better solutions to support one or more open source file systems, as written at the beginning here: "...poll where you can vote and above all contribute by proposing better Open Source File System(s) support on the Jolla Tablet." And getting your input and contributions to make this go forward and happen so it answers a real need is what we propose. Hope it clarifies...

eric ( 2014-12-03 21:29:53 +0200 )edit

Hope it clarifies...

What's unclear is whether you can reconsider exFAT being mandatory (and make it for example optional and purchased on demand) based on this very input you are asking for or you decided to use it as a mandatory addition if stretch goal is reached still. Adding more filesystems in general sounds like an unrelated issue which doesn't address the original request.

shmerl ( 2014-12-03 21:55:06 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2014-12-03 15:16:30 +0200

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Last updated: Feb 07 '15