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Thread: Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

  1. #1
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    Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

    What format do you use for best compatibility between Mac OSX and Ubuntu? Is there a way to use an encrypted memory stick on both OSs?

    I tried to format my memory stick in EXT4 in Ubuntu 14.04 Gnome or in mac and use it in both OSs, but this did not work. The main problem was that when I formatted the stick in mac and tried to open it in linux, the permission was read only, so I could not add files to the stick. I tried to change file permissions using

    Code:
    sudo nautilus
    But access was denied. So I formatted the stick using Gparted and tried to open it in Mac OSX, but it did not recognize the format.

    The only format that worked for both was FAT but the problem is that the max size of files transferable is constrained.

  2. #2
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    Re: Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

    The best way to go is exFAT. Then after that, FAT32.

  3. #3
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    hfsplus without journalling

    fat and xfat are both good for losing data, they are not robust and the larger the file system, the greater the risk that it picks up an error. It also does not support file permission, etc. and all that would be lost with any files transferred to a FAT partition. So I'd call that absolute last resort.

    OS X uses HFS+ with journalling. Ubuntu reads that just fine, as you've seen. But it does have trouble with the journalling, but will both read and write just fine with the journalling turned off on your USB stick. I used that myself for years for my transfers between OS X and Ubuntu and found it to work well. Just use the Disk Utility in OS X to turn off journalling for that stick and it should subsequently be writeable in Ubuntu, too.

  4. #4
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    Re: Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

    This is more of an FYI ...........

    OSX allows a write to an ntfs partition natively.

    What OSX doesn't do is automount the usb stick that way.

    You can if you so desire circumvent that using this technique: http://computers.tutsplus.com/tutori...cks--cms-21434

    It also works in Yosemite in case you updated.

    Notes:

    *** This will only make sense if we are talking about a specific usb device rather that .just a random one you have on hand at the moment.
    *** And it also helps if you are the owner of the aforementioned OSX machine
    *** If you go down this route don't be surprised when you open /etc/fstab in OSX and find it empty. It doesn't use fstab to mount the system partition. Linux doesn't have to either but that's another topic.
    Last edited by Morbius1; November 20th, 2014 at 08:16 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: hfsplus without journalling

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Noodén View Post
    fat and xfat are both good for losing data, they are not robust and the larger the file system, the greater the risk that it picks up an error. It also does not support file permission, etc. and all that would be lost with any files transferred to a FAT partition. So I'd call that absolute last resort.

    OS X uses HFS+ with journalling. Ubuntu reads that just fine, as you've seen. But it does have trouble with the journalling, but will both read and write just fine with the journalling turned off on your USB stick. I used that myself for years for my transfers between OS X and Ubuntu and found it to work well. Just use the Disk Utility in OS X to turn off journalling for that stick and it should subsequently be writeable in Ubuntu, too.
    Thanks, I will try this!

  6. #6
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    Re: Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

    I would say plain old NTFS....It might not be native to either OS but then it guarantees it would work with other devices after the fact like a WDTV, Windows based PC, etc.

    Under Ubuntu, NTFS is a little slow and under OS X you have to install a 3rd party application (like Tuxera) but I can confirm I have 1 16GB USB (for example) NTFS formatted, and then it can be read/copy/cut/pasted to by all 3 OS'. Windows, OS X, and Ubuntu.
    613websites.com Canadian Web Design and Hosting

  7. #7
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    Re: Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by d4m1r View Post
    ... and under OS X you have to install a 3rd party application (like Tuxera)
    OSX can write to an ntfs partition natively without requiring any 3rd party software. It just doesn't do it automatically.

    ** Create an /etc/fstab file in OSX
    ** Add a line defining the ntfs partition to be mounted - for a USB device it would be something like:
    Code:
    LABEL=NTFSDrive none ntfs rw,auto,nobrowse
    And the next time the drive is inserted it will be at /Volumes/NTFSDrive fully writeable.

  8. #8
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    Re: Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

    But NTFS is proprietary... right?

  9. #9
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    Re: Best format for sharing memory stick between mac and linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by zircon_34 View Post
    But NTFS is proprietary... right?
    That is correct. So are FAT, xFAT, FAT32, and HFS/HFS+ file systems. Windows and Mac OS X don't work properly with any non-proprietary file system. Why should they?

  10. #10
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    Hfs+

    Actually, HFS/HFS+ is open source and under the OSI-approved Apple Public Source license. They're finding ways to lock users in and take away control, but much of OS X, albeit an apparently diminishing portion, is free and open source, being based on Darwin and including a lot of GNU. But, yeah, OS X works poorly with EXT, that is to say, not at all. So HFS+ it is and without journalling until becomes available.

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