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Re: does the linux support rootfs on vfat?

Subject: Re: does the linux support rootfs on vfat?
From: Stuart Longland <>
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2006 22:36:56 +1000
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zhuzhenhua wrote:
> if in my product based ide disk, i want to it to support the
> u-disk(with vfat fs), and can i set the root fs as vfat too?
> if use vfat as rootfs, what's disadvantage of the selection?

In theory, you could... BUT... FAT32 (and every other FAT variant) lacks:

- Ownership metadata (uid/gid fields)
- Permissions (mode: read/write/execute/sticky/suid/sgid)
- Links (both hard-links and symbolic links)
... probably character devices, block devices, pipes and other numerous
devices that 99.999999% of distributions rely on.

Now, there is UMSDOS, which uses additional special files to emulate
these on top of a standard MS-DOS filesystem ... mind you, it predates
VFAT by many years, and so I'm not sure what it's support is like for
long filenames.  I also haven't seen it in the kernel File System menu
for some time now.

I'd recommend using an external initrd... or an initramfs-based kernel.
 That way it's just one or two files, not one or two hundred. ;-)
Stuart Longland (aka Redhatter)              .'''.
Gentoo Linux/MIPS Cobalt and Docs Developer  '.'` :
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   .'.'             :.'

International Asperger's Year (1906 ~ 2006)

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