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Support exFAT (sdxc) in Jolla tablet!

asked 2015-01-30 20:13:28 +0300

Morpog gravatar image

updated 2015-02-07 04:53:39 +0300

foss4ever gravatar image

OK people,

it seems Jolla got mislead by a small minority (?) wanting no exFAT support in the Jolla tablet. This question is just here to show Jolla that people out there would love to have officially supported and licensed exFAT support with sdxc cards.

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For what purpose? Both MTP (USB cable) and SSH (Wireless, USB cable) work independently of what filesystem is used.

drcouzelis ( 2015-01-30 20:27:12 +0300 )edit

and also you got better batery and screen? No thank you.

virgi26 ( 2015-01-30 20:32:11 +0300 )edit

No thanks - insert Micro SD, format , forget it's there is good enough for me especially if it means bypassing a redundant "standard" by Microsoft.

vandersmash ( 2015-01-30 20:42:39 +0300 )edit

I don't understand why we aren't getting more standards out of the box? There are enough n00bs out there who just want to use their microSD cards on their Windows pc's. Not everybody is techinical or uses Linux. For the ones that do not want exFAT, just dont use that format. It's simple as that.

I voted for this, exFAT support on Jolla please!

HtheB ( 2015-01-30 20:54:13 +0300 )edit

@HtheB because this standards are not free

virgi26 ( 2015-01-30 21:00:27 +0300 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2015-01-30 22:05:54 +0300

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2015-02-06 04:28:53 +0300

Copernicus gravatar image

This is an answer for anyone to vote up if you feel like leaving exFAT support out was the right choice. It's nicer to vote a counter-argument up than spend karma on downvoting someone. Let's see how much of a minority we really are...

In order for this answer to serve some purpose let's collect facts/opinnions/arguments about why exFAT is not needed. I'm making this a wiki, so feel free to edit this list.

exFAT is not needed because:

  • Crowdsourced funds should not be used for buying non-crucial licenses by evil corporations
  • Free (as in freedom) alternatives exist
  • MicroSD content is natively accessible through MTP on Windows and Linux. On the Mac third-party tools can be used; for example, Android File Transfer is an MTP client for OS X. (As noted in the comments below, and on Jolla's own support page, the basic MTP clients for OSX don't seem to be working with Jolla's current cellphone. However, given that Jolla's MTP doesn't seem to have trouble on other OSs, this should be fixable, either by Jolla or by a third party.)
  • Sailfish can use UNIX access rights on the SD, enabling Apps to store data in more versatile ways and to protect important data
  • exFAT does not provide alternating tables, increasing the risk of fatal filesystem corruption when a write is interrupted (e.g. unsafe removal), free alternatives provide journaling solutions.
  • The SD/SDHC/SDXC standard mandates the existence of a "protected area" on the card for DRM purposes, which can consume up to 10% of all available space. This feature is only rarely used for distributing protected content on memory cards; formatting the card in an alternative manner can free up this unused space.

Please read the comments since the author made this comment a wiki which anyone can change, the votes should not be trusted. The comments, if you can wade through them, outline the changes and arguments against this answer.

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That exFat license can be crucial to someone with big SD-cards and limited computing skills and I don't see the evil in this. Microsoft invented the system and holds patent to it, no evil in that imho. Also with droping the exFat support you are not only bringing the free filesystems to the table, you are limiting the exFat from users. And if I have understood things right from different posts on TJC, MTP is really hard/impossible to get to work on MacOS. Also there at least used to be some topics on how the at least two SD-cards went foobar on Jolla phone because the use of free filesystems on 64gb SD-cards messed up something internally on the card.

avhakola ( 2015-01-30 23:11:05 +0300 )edit

This is just crazy. MTP does not work on Mac, even on Linux you'll have to figure it out by yourself. So please, be trutful in your arguments. Also, not all file systems are good for removable flash-drives. Some of them will wear those cards out prematurely because most of them are designed for completely different purpose. It takes more than "free" to be a good choice! Maybe something like F2FS might do, but again, it's not compatible with Windows, Mac or regular devices using SD-Cards. As for "non-crucial" licenses, this will effectively prevent interoperability with great amount of different devices, which is likely be a deal breaker for many. For them it's definitely not "non-crucial" license.

MSH ( 2015-01-30 23:32:12 +0300 )edit

Whether free or non-free is better depends on who you ask. In this particular case it comes down to everyone's personal preference, where the functional tradeoff being interoperability between devices and binary blob + more expenses to Jolla.

And if I'm not completely mistaken the lack of exFAT isn't breaking device interoperability completely. SDHC cards (32GB and less) will work just fine on SailfishOS as FAT32.

@avhakola, you're right. However, I have a hunch that users with limited computing skills and big SD cards are a small minority in this community.

@MSH, I am being truthful to my arguments. For me MTP works on Linux out of the box (Debian stable 7.8, Gnome 3.4.2). OSX indeed seems to be an unfortunate case with MTP.

Okw ( 2015-01-31 00:50:26 +0300 )edit

@Okw, yes I also think less skilled + big SD card owners are in minority in this community, but this exclusion makes sure they will be so also in the future and 100% of the time hand their money for Apple, Microsoft or [insert your random Android device manufacturer here] instead of maybe choosing Jolla.

avhakola ( 2015-01-31 01:04:47 +0300 )edit

MTP has worked on most modern GNU/Linux distributions out of the box for some time now. It's not Jolla's fault that fruit company's Fisher-Price computers don't work with MTP.

nthn ( 2015-01-31 01:25:47 +0300 )edit

@MSH. MTP works out of the box for me on Kubuntu 14.04. You are probably thinking of the last LTS release of the *buntu from 2012 where MTP support had to be patched in. Really not my fault that Apple is overpriced and under-featured.

I am glad Jolla decided to stick to their principles of building as open device, instead of paying what is essentially protection money to perpetuate a system that is just insanely unfair. In the age of affordable Terabyte hard-disks you are seriously trying to convince me that I need to pay extra money just to use an SD card that's more than 32GB? If it was complete interoperability I was looking for, in all honesty I would have purchased tablets from a no-brand Chinese manufacturer, Google, Samsung, or Sony. But this is Jolla we are talking about, a company built on a reputation of openness. I would not have purchased a tablet from them if that wasn't the case since I already own a 10" tablet.

Rewarp ( 2015-01-31 02:00:57 +0300 )edit

@nthn You're correct, it's not Jolla's fault that Apple doesn't support MTP. But it is Jolla's fault that their PTP support is broken and now they're backing away from supporting a filesystem that would have allowed Mac users to transfer files using sdxc cards. Add to that their broken CalDAV and CardDAV support and using a Mac with Sailfish is not a great experience.

aegis ( 2015-01-31 09:37:17 +0300 )edit

@Rewarp, you cannot use those terabyte disks with cameras etc. without another device (ie laptop). Your solution is to buy Jolla and then throw in some extra money to get another device for functionality that has been crippled on purpose by request of vocal part of community politics. It seems like this community is completely unable to think anything from average users point of view. Effectively this decision has already excluded certain use cases - if this is the way to go, how many more use-cases will be excluded in the future? And how much harm has to be done to mainstream adoption until you are satisfied?

MSH ( 2015-01-31 10:15:49 +0300 )edit

@Okw All of your 3 points are incorrect.

  1. The stretch goal was for sdxc card support. ExFAT is implicit. But anyway, if your objection is paying Microsoft money, then what are you using a Jolla for? You're paying already for Exchange ActiveSync.

  2. The only free alternative is to not use sdxc cards and stick to FAT32. Cameras often won't use sdxc cards formatted with fat32 even if they support it for sdhc. You usually can't add other file system support to cameras and other devices. Adding Linux filesystem support to Mac and Windows isn't free.

  3. MTP support is not working on the Mac. It also isn't supported in host mode in SailfishOS too.

aegis ( 2015-01-31 10:35:35 +0300 )edit

jolla wrote "cards over 32GB that are formatted in Jolla Tablet will not be readable with Windows computers". So I assume, the tablet can read exFAT and write to exFAT. Only to format a card with exFAT you will have to use a device other than the tablet. Am I mistaken?

pisco ( 2015-01-31 16:36:52 +0300 )edit

@MSH. If you haven't noticed yet, Jolla did not grow by being "mainstream". As I stated, I could have chosen not to buy from Jolla, and got a more mainstream device that would conform to the Microsoft patent cartel. This is a niche company catering to a specific crowd who value the openness of the company and their devices.

Their success akin to that of System76. A niche company profiting from a niche crowd. Or your local vegan restaurant. In other words, once a company abandons their principles to appeal to a wider audience, they will lose their appeal to the niche crowd, and in Jolla's case, become indistinguishable from Samsung, Sony, or any no-brand manufacturer.

I also find your argument that I would be using a crippled device unconvincing. I am in complete control of all the devices I own, and for my present tablet, I rarely even plug in the USB cable to trade files because I can use KDEConnect to trade files between devices, and even use it as a keyboard. In fact, just by showing my setup to friends and acquaintances, I have 3 friends who have installed Kubuntu on laptops they own, two of them on primary machines.

It's tragically hilarious how people are saying they should pay to unlock the >32GB storage from exFAT patents when we could just use ext4 or btrfs for no extra charge. At the end of the day, you get to vote with your wallet, and all I can tell you is let your wallet do the talking. I have voted with mine, you are free to do so as well.

Rewarp ( 2015-01-31 16:51:08 +0300 )edit

@Rewarp, Jolla is niche company for now, but in order to survive in the long run, you simply cannot despise mainstream folks who over everything else expect device that "just works." Even I expect my devices to "just work", no matter if they are also for tinkering around. Also, if this 128Gb support is advertised, most folks will interpret it like they can go and use their cards as they would with any other device (this has already happened when that perk was published). When they notice that interoperability is next no nothing and then somebody tells them "yeah, community didn't want it to be included no matter the consequences..." they will feel they bought a crippled device and that bad bell will ring quite far. On my devices, only server and htpc side of my home can actually make any use of btrfs or ext4. This is because my use cases kind of dictate what I must run on my laptop, as much I'd like to have Elementary OS as my primary laptop OS. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one in such situation. But yeah, in the end, I'll vote with my wallet. So far I have supported Jolla from since the beginning (being one of "the first ones"), because I wanted a worthy successor to N9 and I didn't like the alternatives. But if in the future this community chooses deliberately make things increasingly difficult for reasons not in any way related to technical superiority and improvement, then I guess it doesn't leave me much options. In this case it's not a deal breaker, but I'm worried that in the future things like this are taken to extreme by overly zealous foss-folks in a way that effectively excludes all possibilities for Sailfish to become sustainable in the long run (meaning more reasonable choice for mainstream users).

MSH ( 2015-01-31 19:14:39 +0300 )edit

@Rewarp you're obviously happy in your Kubuntu bubble but it's surely obvious to you that lots of people choose to use other operating systems and devices that do not run that OS. It's patronising and wrong to disrespect other people's choices and you're sadly misguided if you think you're not paying Microsoft any money by choosing Jolla.

aegis ( 2015-01-31 21:39:59 +0300 )edit

Have you read the blurb on Sailfish.org? The world doesn’t need yet another smartphone – it needs a new way of thinking. That’s why Jolla was born. We want to challenge the dominant perceptions. We want to create an innovation platform for ideas, opportunities and openness. Open Jolla, a new way of thinking.

I know a fair amount of people subscribe to the philosophy of just wanting things to work. In that case, you are in the wrong community, because guess what from the democratic vote, a large vocal majority wants an open system which does not support patent cartels for unnecessary "features" like a larger exFAT support.

Don't worry about mainstream acceptance. You write a lot about iProducts and it is rather ironic that you don't realise Apple has built an entire industry by doing things their way, and people buying into them because of quality builds and marketing spiel, except they also went out of their way to patent rounded corners and create their own walled gardens which is the absolute worst thing they could do in the long run for consumers. In fact, you as an iUser should be complaining to your iCEO about using MTP or supporting ext4, or btrfs instead of the more technically and socially aware Jolla community here.

From what I see, Jolla is a healthy company with an almost cultishly loyal community behind them. Do you know what happens when a company decides to turn against the community for "mainstream" support? Refer to Nokia.

Rewarp ( 2015-01-31 21:57:44 +0300 )edit

@aegis. I do not mean any personal disrespect, and if I come across that way I sincerely apologise. You have to see it from my perspective, I do not want to subsidise your crippled devices with an unnecessary patent tax This isn't about some essential patent that requires GSM to work, it is basically a filesystem support. This is as ridiculous as it sounds. Paying more money just so you can use a larger sd card? Imagine my shock when that became the stretch goal in the tablet. To use a modern turn of phrase, I don't even!

Rewarp ( 2015-01-31 22:04:09 +0300 )edit

@Rewarp, Apple's way of doing things have been built on top of years of brand development and main driver of it has always been things to "just work", even if it has at times been restricted into their own ecosystem. Innovation, platform of ideas, opportunities and openness will not be ruined by support for some proprietary bulb granting compatibility with boatload of devices outside smartphone world.

As for democracy, I am not bound in any way to agree with majority or anyone else within this community or outside it. I'm perfectly capable of forming my own opinions about things and also seeing when majority is doing something foolish. This particular decision just sent a message that for example photography enthusiasts are not welcome here and excluded them by cutting chances for compatibility with their primary tools. Looking at the arguments, they really did not represent new way of thinking - rather anti-ms sentiment that is decades old now. If this community continues to exclude groups of people with argument like "I just don't like MS", chances are that all that "new way of thinking the same way as most vocal or extreme people in the community" won't carry us very far. I don't want Sailfish ending up like Maemo or MeeGo did.

MSH ( 2015-01-31 23:17:44 +0300 )edit

@RewarpAt the end of the day, you get to vote with your wallet, and all I can tell you is let your wallet do the talking. I voted with my wallet, I bought the all this stuff to help fund the goals and SDXC-support was one them. from the democratic vote, a large vocal majority wants an open system which does not support patent cartels for unnecessary "features" like a larger exFAT support. Large vocal group on TJC doesn't talk for all of those who bought the tablet. It is more likely for FOSS-fighters like you to be here on TJC than average tablet user who bought the device and expects it to work because it was promised to support SDXC and now feel betrayed.

avhakola ( 2015-01-31 23:53:30 +0300 )edit

I don't understand your point. What you just wrote "main driver of it has always been things to "just work", even if it has at times been restricted into their own ecosystem." is what you would get if we were using an open standard filesystem.

If you want to blame someone for not supporting photographers, try Apple, for introducing yet another proprietary filesystem, HFS+ that only works with Apple products out of the box, and is so terrible Linus Torvalds said it was probably designed by monkeys.

This isn't about anti-photography, or anti-Microsoft. It is about anti-stupid-software-patents. This is literally a patent to use more than 32 GB sd cards. You can disagree with the majority, I only put those statements in because the opening post wants to say I am in the minority and Jolla only listened because we spoke up.

Your concerns about Maemo and MeeGo are noted, but erroneous. They both fell not because the community decided not to use exFAT, but because Nokia stabbed everyone in the back.

Rewarp ( 2015-02-01 00:00:42 +0300 )edit

@avhakola And I voted with my wallet before the shocking announcement of a licensing deal to use more than 32 GB on an sd card for the stretch goal. The project was already funded by then from people who didn't think any further purchase would go towards paying to use a larger sd card.

Judging from the number of up-votes for this answer, and the lack of support for the opening post, and remember the poll which everyone could participate in, your hypothesis is convincingly rejected. If you don't like how FOSS advocates like me have won the battle by convincing a majority of the voting users to reject a stupid patent license, then do a better job selling your stand.

Rewarp ( 2015-02-01 00:08:03 +0300 )edit

You backed and got improved feature basicly for free after the strech goals were introduced and you cry you don't want them because you don't believe in software patents and the handicapped device is better?

avhakola ( 2015-02-01 03:33:33 +0300 )edit

@Rewarp if you don't want to pay Microsoft for non essential software licences then why are you doing so already? Why are you not asking Jolla for the money they've charged you for Exchange support, a feature that is far less essential than SDXC card support?

aegis ( 2015-02-01 03:35:21 +0300 )edit

@avhakola I got improved features which according to the announcement, is a larger battery, gyroscope, fully laminated display, and compass sensors. Also known as things which are more useful than paying extra money to use a locked-in file format.

From my perspective, Apple devices are the ones crippled if they refuse to support MTP, ext4, or btrfs because that is a political decision and not a technical one. Refer to HFS+ for example of clear monopolistic practices.

Rewarp ( 2015-02-01 06:01:59 +0300 )edit

@aegis. Funny that you brought that up. I didn't know Jolla was actually paying for Exchange support as well until exFAT proponents wrote about it, which I think is also stupid and redundant. But it did not get the extreme prominence a stretch goal to get a larger sd card working got for the tablet, and the fact that was prioritised over paying developers to improve Sailfish with features like a split screen.

Rewarp ( 2015-02-01 06:09:24 +0300 )edit

@Rewarp, I don't understand your point. What you just wrote "main driver of it has always been things to "just work", even if it has at times been restricted into their own ecosystem." is what you would get if we were using an open standard filesystem. Not necessarily if those alternative file systems ruin the durability of flash cards. If you want to blame someone for not supporting photographers, try Apple, for introducing yet another proprietary filesystem, HFS+ that only works with Apple products out of the box AFAIK Apple has not dropped support for SDXC. This isn't about anti-photography, or anti-Microsoft. It is about anti-stupid-software-patents. This is literally a patent to use more than 32 GB sd cards. I completely agree that those software patents are stupid. however, compatibility with broad range of devices requires to honor standards and patents behind them.Another option is to simply exclude groups of people, like with this decision. Your concerns about Maemo and MeeGo are noted, but erroneous. They both fell not because the community decided not to use exFAT, but because Nokia stabbed everyone in the back. They fell because of disarray in Nokia, and because they didn't see it as sustainable option anymore. And because community cannot take the development further by their own, nor create new devices. This is my main concern - if things are driven only by ideology without any regard to technical, UX and financial side of things, the same will happen with Jolla and Sailfish. This is why entering also mainstream market is so important, no matter how much it dents the ego of always so self-righteous foss-communities.

MSH ( 2015-02-01 09:43:43 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-02 15:22:37 +0300

spaetz gravatar image

updated 2015-02-02 15:23:01 +0300

a) This is an issue only for cards > 32GB, so not the majority of cards right now. b) If you use the FAT32 file system, even on cards >32GB, you will be fine and able to swap cards between Windows, Cameras, and Jollas. Windows can read FAT32 cards >32GB just fine, it just can't format them.

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a) That is not the argument. Most cars run on petrol right now, lets ban electric cars!

b) You will not be fine using SDXC cards formatted with FAT32 because many devices will not accept FAT32 on SDXC cards. My Olympus camera for instance asks to reformat the card if I use a FAT32 formatted SDXC. It seems a fair thing to ask given that the SDXC standard mandates ExFAT and it mean I could record HD video >4GB in size.

Windows canformat SDXC cards with FAT32, just not using the default disk formatting UI. In any case, you probably should not be using the Windows formatting tool anyway but using the SD Associations card format tool which is available at https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/index.html

aegis ( 2015-02-02 17:05:26 +0300 )edit

@aegis: your simile would make sense if:

  • you had to pay a fee to charge an electric car;

  • the electricity outlet were proprietary and only the cars of a specific vendor could charge on a specific outlet so anyone wanting to serve electric cars would have to pay out of their ass for all the million different 'standard' outlets (hey, this reminds me of something!);

  • exFAT support actually were banned - in fact you will just have to install it yourself if you need it (which is literally as simple as installing a package).

nthn ( 2015-02-02 22:54:05 +0300 )edit

The point I was making was that the community has decided to not support the new standard because the old one is apparently good enough. It isn't.

You also seem to be to be as uninformed about electric car charging points as you are about SD card standards. There are multiple incompatible car charging standards and some vendor specific ones also. Eg. Tesla who have their own network and BMW/VW who have their own standard. But that wasn't the point I was making.

aegis ( 2015-02-03 23:49:59 +0300 )edit

Then what is your point? My point is that if standards are shit, you shouldn't support them, ideologically.

nthn ( 2015-02-04 18:56:35 +0300 )edit

@nthn Of course, ideology trumps practicality every time. Maybe you should explain why you're ideologically adverse to supporting industry standards?

Surely, it's not because they're 'shit'?

aegis ( 2015-02-05 16:00:52 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-06 11:07:24 +0300

rburkhanov gravatar image

Ok, level of the discussion here seems slightly overheated. Been following it from the very beginning and now some comments (maybe some of mine as well, sorry) have left constructive field. I personally do think we need to support as many standarts on Jolla devices as possible. But since the decision had been made and all of us have enough time to tell what we think, may be it's time to stop. What we have to do now is not up/down vote each other, ruinning each other's karma (not only here on TJC, but in a more common sence), but to find a decision making the subject of the dispute irrelevant.

My suggestion is for Jolla to develop sort of a "PC Suite" — I know there were multiple questions on this point. So, telling us it is underway and is going to have all the necessary 'wired' or 'ota' communication features working "out of the box" would be really helpfull. And we as a real community, not a curseing and abusing crowd, should help Jolla to find the best decisions for any difficulties occured, create a list of needed functionality, etc. Some of this has already been done here. So please, Jolla team, it's time for you to step in and quit this discussion ruinning our (mostly helpfull) community.

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answered 2015-02-02 11:57:34 +0300

alloj gravatar image

The Jolla apps are half blind to the sdcard anyway. Let's spec a fs support for a bigger sdcard which the Jolla apps can not make use of and give money to friggin Microsoft in the process. Sounds like a plan! LOL

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Asked: 2015-01-30 20:13:28 +0300

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Last updated: Feb 06 '15