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filesystem types

filesystem types on macs, other machines, and which they can read:

HFS (long time the default format, works, but has disadvantages for big Harddisks), case insensitive

HFS+ the current default format, uses less disk space for files on big disks, case insensitive, but case-preserving
Since OSX 10.3 HFS+ got the journaling functionality added.

UFS aka Unix File System, the default for flavours of BSD and others. In most Implementations an execellent filesystem, but unfortunately not very useful for macos x yet. DONT format your bootvolume of your macosx server with it ! it is case-sensitive, also.

A/UX the filesystem used for the old m68k unix by apple. It has almost no significance today, except for people install linux on a mac: you sometimes have to make a/ux partitions with drive setup and let the linux installer convert them to
EXT2, the default filesystem for linux, which is case-sensitive as well. During runtime, it can be changed to become
EXT3, the default journaling and thus more crashproof filesystem for linux nowadays (10/2002)

FAT/VFAT, also called 'msdos' are the filesystems on pc's running dos, windos, or dos nt, although nt has another default filesystem called
NTFS. It is a filesystem with a kept secret database-like journal, and meanwhile it got relatively crashproof.

MacOS X can read hfs, hfs+, sometimes ufs, ext2, fat, vfat and ntfs.
Linux can read all of the above plus one or two handfull more.
Dos/Windos can read fat and vfat. meanwhile there is a third party tool to enable it to be able to read ext2.
DosNT/2k/xp can additionally read ntfs.

Writing is a completely different matter. as a rule of thumb, each system feels most comfortable on its own native filesystem. wherever a system can read the fs of a different system, this opens up the possibility of data exchange between them.

An in-depth explanation can be found at

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