XFS: SGI's extended file system goes open source

A key feature of the file system is that it is being released under the full GNU Public Licence. Unlike other large hardware and software companies which have opened their source code under a restricted source licence which they have drafted, SGI is committing itself to the licence under which Linux itself falls - a licence for which developers and users in the Linux community hold most respect.

It doesn't stop here, however: the file system introduces failure tolerance that Linux does not possess, with its sub-second file system recovery times. Its 64-bit architecture blows away the current restrictions of the default Linux ext2 file system with maximum single file sizes of 9 million TB (that's 4.5 billion times larger than the current Linux offering!), a maximum 18 million TB single file system, plus optimised algorithms to deal with large files, large directories and large numbers of files.

It is also the first file system under Linux to use journaling, which dramatically increases read and write transaction times and offline virtual storage. The block allocation is done dynamically, which means that it is faster, more efficient and much easier to repair.

Under NFS version 3, the full 64-bit file system can be utilised, turning Linux into the ultimate file server. Under the Samba server, XFS can work with Windows NT systems. Thus, both Unix-based and Windows systems will be able to read and write to this system across networks.

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Gavin Sherry

PC World

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