NTFS support in MeeGo Core

Published by David Gilson at 11:45 UTC, January 24th 2011

Questions have been raised in the MeeGo community recently over the support for Microsoft's NTFS. Clearly, support for this in end-user MeeGo netbooks would be expected as this is often the file system that external hard drives are shipped with. Therefore, in the interests of interoperability, consumers should expect MeeGo to work with such devices. The lack of support was recently raised as a bug in the MeeGo community, to which the response that productised installs may have a licensed NTFS driver added on top of the open source core, but that NTFS support would not be added to MeeGo Core OS. Read on for more.

The responses came from the MeeGo Core OS product manager, Gavin Hindman. On the bug report mentioned above, he initially responded by saying:

"Seems a reasonable feature request, however MeeGo 1.1 is past feature-freeze. I will promote this forward for evaluation as a MeeGo 1.2 feature."

However, later the same day, he then posted:

"MeeGo Core lacks an open-source method of including NTFS support due to licensing restriction. Will not be supported. Products may add licensed NTFS support on top of the open-source core."

This is somewhat puzzling as Tuxera, the company responsible for the open source NTFS-3G driver (see Wikipedia), have agreements with Microsoft. As quoted in this news article

"We'll be licensing our Linux NTFS under the GPL, and we have an agreement with Microsoft. If you're a user, you don't need to worry about Microsoft. We'll deal with them directly"

As stated in this MeeGo-pm mailing list post by Carsten Munk, some more transparency in the decision making is called for, as the answers given don't match with public knowledge on the status of open source NTFS drivers.

"Would it be possible to counter that with an additional response by

Core PM to the NTFS FEA# explaining:
  • Technical reasons for NTFS not being able to go into MeeGo Core
  • Legal reasons for NTFS not being able to go into MeeGo Core
  • Organisational, if any, reasons for NTFS not being able to go into MeeGo Core
.. and if those don't exist, to reconsider the FEA# to get at least basic NTFS support for 1.3, based on Tuxera's open source solution as listed.

Best regards,
Carsten Munk"


David Gilson for All About MeeGo, 24th January 2011

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