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Conventional File Systems

Apple File System (apfs) A file system for Apple systems optimized for flash/SSD media.

Extended File System (ext) File system (family) introduced with Linux. Consist of Ext, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4. Ext3 is a journaled version of Ext2 which allows for speedy disk recovery after a crash.

Extent File System (EFS) SGI Extent File System, predecessor to XFS

FAT Originally used by MS-DOS. Includes FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32.

FFS The Fast File System used by some BSD versions of UNIX and from which UFS was derived supporting faster disk access and symbolic links like ffs.

(Classic) HFS Hierarchical File System used by Apple systems, it has been succeed by HFS+.

JFS IBM's Journaled File System introduced with their flavor of UNIX (AIX)

New Technology File System (ntfs) File system introduced by Microsoft with Windows NT 4.0.

reiserfs A journaling filesystem for Linux.

Resilient File System (refs) File system introduced by Microsoft with Windows 8.

UFS The Unix File System, introduced with UNIX.

XFS SGI’s high performance journaling file system that originated on their IRIX (flavor of UNIX) platform. XFS supports variable blocking sizes, is extent based, and makes extensive use of Btrees to facilitate both performance and scalability. Additionally, support is also provided for real-time environments.

YAFFS2 Yet Another Flash File System is a filesystem which is used on Android smartphones and was build for NAND and NOR flash.

Next3 An open-source file system based on the Ext3 file system, for the purpose of supporting enterprise-grade snapshot capabilities.

Cryptographic File Systems

Cryptographic file systems, also known as encrypted file systems, encrypt information before it is stored on the media. Some of these file systems store encrypted files directly. Others are better thought of as device drivers, which are then used to store some of the file systems discussed above.

File Vault A clever user interface to Apple's encrypted disk images. Uses the ".sparseimage" extension on disk files.

CFS Matt Blaze's Cryptographic File System for Unix.

Key Management in an Encrypting File System, Matt Blaze, USENIX Summer 1994 Technical Conference, Boston, MA, June 1994.

A Cryptographic File System for Unix, Matt Blaze, Proceedings of the First ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, Fairfax, VA, November 1993.

Encrypted File System (efs) EFS is the Encrypted File System built into versions of Microsoft Windows.

NCryptfs NCryptfs: A Secure and Convenient Cryptographic File System, by Charles P. Wright, Michael C. Martino, and Erez Zadok, Stony Brook University, USENIX 2003 Annual Technical Conference.

Transparent Cryptographic File System (TCFS).

Secure File System (SFS).


See also Full Disk Encryption, which are disk- or applicance-based cryptographic file systems.

CD and DVD File Systems

Optical media use different file systems than hard disks or flash media, primarily because of the write-once nature of most optical discs. Even rewritable discs use different file systems because of the way that rewritable media is managed. So while you will never find NTFS or FAT32 on an optical disc (though the exceptional nature of DVD-RAM must be remembered -- you can create a FAT DVD-RAM), you will find the systems listed below.

(Classic) HFS and HFS+ These file systems are defined by Apple and only limited support is available for them outside of the Macintosh world. These are the identical implementations for hard disk file systems on MacOS operating systems.

ISO 9660 This is the most basic file system and the foundation for a number of extensions which have been made to it. It was originally defined in 1989 and was an outgrowth of the previous HSG (High Sierra Group) definition of a file system for CDs.

Joliet This is a Microsoft defined extension to ISO 9660 to support Unicode and 64-character file names. It was introduced with Windows 95. It has gained some support for Linux and MacOS file systems but remains something that is used primarily in the Windows environment.

Red Book The original definition of audio CDs was distributed with a red cover, hence the term "Red Book". This is not properly a file system as it does not define files, file names or any metadata. It is the definition by which music discs are created.

Rock Ridge Rock Ridge is a set of extensions based on the System Use Sharing Protocol or SUSP definition. It is a method by which POSIX file attributes, including very long file names, can be applied to optical media. Today it is only really supported by Linux and other Unix-derived operating systems.

UDF UDF is the acronym for Universal Disk Format which was defined by the Optical Storage Technology Association as an implementable subset of ISO 13346. It is part of the definition for DVD Video and DVD Audio discs as well as being used by a number of drag-and-drop disc writing programs. It is supported for reading by Windows 98 and later versions and is supported beginning with OS 9 on the Macintosh. Both Windows Vista and Windows 7 can write discs using this as either a "mastered" format with a static, read-only file system or as a "live" file system which can be updated on both write-once and rewritable media.

Distributed File Systems

Distributed file systems, also known as network file systems, allow any number of remote clients to access one or more servers which store the files. The client nodes do not have direct access to the underlying block storage on the server(s), which are transparent to the clients and may include facilities for replication or fault tolerance.




Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) The GoogleFS clone, built from a cluster of data nodes.

Network File System (NFS) Originally from Sun, it is the standard in UNIX-based networks.

Also see

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