MICROSOFT'S LICKY LOVE-IN with Linux continues, as it announces plans to bring its proprietary exFAT file format to the open-source.
The tech behemoth announced this week that it plans to publish the technical specification for exFAT for the first time, meaning that Linux kernel developers will be able to incorporate it into one of Colonel Kitten's future missions.
exFAT was launched in 2006 as part of Windows CE 6.0, as a replacement for FAT32, aimed at flash drives and memory cards which were burgeoning in popularity at the time thanks to increased capacity and price reduction. However, because Linux users required additional software to run devices formatted this way, its adoption has been limited. Now, Microsoft wants to take its creation to the open-source masses, in order to "facilitate the development of conformant, interoperable implementations".
Microsoft has said it hopes that as part of the rollout, exFAT will be accepted at part of the Open Invention Network's definitions of Linux, which would give additional patent protection when the code is used by third party members.
The onus now rests with the Linux community. Although the previously antagonistic relationship has thawed a little under Satya Nadella's stewardship of Microsoft, there's still a proportion of the Linux community that believes that Microsoft is pure evil and as such, may push back on the plans. After all, Microsoft has led the horse to water, but forcing it to drink is another matter.
Linux is now available as a subsystem of Windows 10, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, and as a result, some of the biggest Linux distros, including Red Hat and Ubuntu are now available in the Microsoft Store.
Certainly, the addition of exFAT would be hugely beneficial for those running Linux within Windows. The question is, whether the Linux community feel like doing Redmond any favours. μ
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