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What is the best filesystem to use cross-platform (Linux, Windows, OS X) which supports disk sizes of at least 2TB and file sizes >4GB?

I'm planning to use it on a USB drive on different computers.

Are there any filesystems that can be used on all the named OSes without installing additional drivers?

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More about the environment? Read write? One machine? Network shares? –  AthomSfere May 19 '13 at 19:22
read/write support would be great. used as a usb-drive on different computers. –  Zulakis May 19 '13 at 19:22
This question is not not constructive. There is a specific set of criteria, and filesystems support these criteria or don't. There's not an infinite set of answers either, and every answer will be backed up by facts, not opinion. –  slhck May 19 '13 at 21:47

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Look at this chart on Wikipedia and scroll down to the last table for "Supporting operating systems." This lists OS support by file system.

As you can see, there is no file system that is covers all OS platforms, the closest being FAT16. FAT32 is a close 2nd, requiring 3rd party driver support for z/OS.

Since you require read/write support and large files and file systems, the best option would be NTFS. Obviously, Windows OSs support NTFS. Modern Linux kernels (2.2+) can read and write NTFS natively. OS X supports reading NTFS natively and writing with NTFS-3G.

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I'm tempted to point out that that table omits AmigaOS :) (That said, I'm giving you +1) –  Michael Kjörling May 20 '13 at 12:26
I'd like to propose exFAT as another solid option, mainly because getting Linux to read/write exFAT is easier than getting OSX to read/write NTFS. –  Joel E Salas Jun 8 '13 at 2:19
@JoelESalas Agreed. exFAT works out of the box with OSX and Windows, and on Ubuntu all that is required is a simple sudo apt-get -y install exfat-utils exfat-fuse –  user72923 Jun 15 at 20:03

Use SMB2/3 or CIFS + Claster file system (OCFS2 as samle).

Filesystem Comparison NFS, GFS2, OCFS2 Pdf!

Clustered Samba in SLES 11 Pdf!

See Samba Clustering

Samba CIFS Claster file system

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You've got to explain to me how to use CIFS/SMB, or a clustered networking file system on a USB drive. –  slhck May 19 '13 at 21:42
@slhck In the body of the question there is nothing about USB. There is a note about the extra features. This is not a basic requirement seemed strange to me, and I ignored it. Perhaps it was meant not the device but a connection model. In general, I think wait for clarification from the author of the question. Thank you for your question and your patience. –  STTR May 19 '13 at 22:04
True, the OP had a comment specifying that it was a USB drive. I think one would usually assume a standard hard disk file system to share between operating systems, not a networking protocol – because whatever you share over NFS/SMB etc. will still have to be saved on some hard disk. –  slhck May 19 '13 at 22:06
@slhck If we have multiple connections to the same medium as a physical device, it's clustered file system. Accordingly, this gfs2, ocfs2 ... If it's NTFS for example it will lead to logical errors that will loss of data and information. If a connection to the file system on the network, it SMB or NFS - network virtual file system or add that allow the use of the facade any file system running directly on the disk. I was not very clear to the desired pattern of interaction. Therefore it was suggested the best architectural solution. –  STTR May 19 '13 at 22:25
Oh, I am glad that the wording of the question clarified. Then yes, my message is helpful, but not on the issue)). –  STTR May 19 '13 at 22:31

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