Linux Kernel 5.15 Will Have Improved NTFS File System Support

Linux Kernel 5.15 Will Have Improved NTFS File System Support

The Paragon’s NTFS driver was merged by Linux creator Linus Torvalds earlier this month, bringing reliable read and write functionality for this filesystem to the kernel.

The last month, Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, made it known to Paragon Software that it should really submit a pull request for its read-write NTFS driver to be included in the awaited version 5.15 release, for which the merge window is still open at the time of writing this.

He pushed for inclusion of Paragon’s NTFS3, saying that it will make working with NTFS systems much easier and, of importance to the security community, will make it easier for developers to cryptographically sign software.

Konstantin Komarov explained the current situation in the pull request last Friday:

This is the NTFS read and write driver. The current version is suitable for normal/compressed/sparse files, and supports acl and NTFS log playback. Most of the code has been in linux since August 13 -next branch, but there are some patches, only a few days in the linux-next branch. Hope it is good-no regression was found in the test.

Konstantin Komarov, Paragon founder and CEO

However, Linus Torvalds criticized the use of GitHub merge commit in Paragon Software’s download request.

There’s one more thing I really do not want to see – GitHub creates totally useless junk mergers and you should never use GitHub’s interface for any merger … GitHub is a fully capable host site and it does several other things well, but mergers are not one of those things.

About Paragon’s NTFS Linux Driver

The existing Linux NTFS driver, which implementation dated back by 2001, is basically unmaintained in the kernel and lacks proper write support along with other features. The NTFS-3G is another open source implementation of Microsoft NTFS that includes read and write support, but it’s a filesystem in userspace (FUSE). The main drawback of this implementation is speed.

Paragon released its driver under the GNU General Public Licence last year. Prior to that, it was a proprietary driver and was sold commercially.

Compared with the existing FUSE-based open source NTFS driver, the Paragon’s NTFS3 driver undoubtedly wins in terms of functionality and performance. The driver fully supports reads and writes and many other features not found with the existing Linux driver.

In conclusion, Linux distributions should soon support the Windows NTFS file system better out of the box. If everything goes well, it looks like this NTFS3 driver will finally enter the mainstream version in Linux 5.15 by year’s end. 

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