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Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:01 pm
by Rasp77
Before I buy some new sd cards, I’m wondering if this guidance is valid for the pi 4 or if it needs to be updated.

Raspberry Pi's bootloader, built into the GPU and non-updateable, only has support for reading from FAT filesystems (both FAT16 and FAT32), and is unable to boot from an exFAT filesystem

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... matting.md

Thanks

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:27 pm
by HawaiianPi
The Pi4 boot loader is upgradeable, but it still only boots from FAT16/32 file systems.

If you are preparing a card larger than 32GB for NOOBS, you can use the fat32format utility (works on drives up to 2TB).

http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index. ... format.htm

This is not needed when writing a Raspbian image to a card (image overwrites the previous file system with its own).

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:39 pm
by hardwaremack-orginal
booting from exFat would be great... Add that to the list of to do's

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:56 pm
by HawaiianPi
hardwaremack-orginal wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:39 pm
booting from fatex would be great... At that to the list of to do's
It's exFAT, and why would that be so great? Saying so doesn't make it true. What's the logic behind that thought?

FAT32 is the closest thing we have to a universal file system. It can be read by almost every device. Since boot partitions don't need to be large, I see no advantage to exFAT. What you are suggesting will add complexity to the boot loader with no benefit. Do you have some compelling reason you failed to explain (something other than, you want it)?

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:28 pm
by LTolledo
hardwaremack-orginal wrote: ....At that to the list of to do's
As I understand it hardwaremack-original is proposing solely doing the coding/kernel build to enable booting from "fatex"

good luck with that...

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:55 am
by 6by9
Exfat is patented by Microsoft. Based on past patent infringement litigation by MS against TomTom, it would be foolish to implement it without licensing, and licensing costs money.
Which feature would you like to see dropped in order to licence Exfat?
As it is only for the boot partition there are near 0 gains.

IIRC the current bootloader doesn't support long filenames when accessing the boot files due to the MS patent on those, hence the elf, dat, txt, and kernel img files all conform to the 8.3 filename convention.

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:29 am
by Bakul Shah
6by9 wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:55 am
IIRC the current bootloader doesn't support long filenames when accessing the boot files due to the MS patent on those, hence the elf, dat, txt, and kernel img files all conform to the 8.3 filename convention.
If you are talking about US Patent 5,579,517 I believe it has expired. See
https://patents.google.com/patent/US5579517A/en

As well as US Patent 5,578,352, Common name space for long and short filenames https://patents.google.com/patent/US5758352

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:32 am
by 6by9
Bakul Shah wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:29 am
6by9 wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:55 am
IIRC the current bootloader doesn't support long filenames when accessing the boot files due to the MS patent on those, hence the elf, dat, txt, and kernel img files all conform to the 8.3 filename convention.
If you are talking about US Patent 5,579,517 I believe it has expired. See
https://patents.google.com/patent/US5579517A/en

As well as US Patent 5,578,352, Common name space for long and short filenames https://patents.google.com/patent/US5758352
2019-06-29
Application status is Expired - Lifetime
So they appear to have expired today (unless Google is doing something funny in presenting the data). Having to do a product release based on expiration of some nonessential patents isn't the best of plans.

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:52 am
by HawaiianPi
LTolledo wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:28 pm
As I understand it hardwaremack-original is proposing solely doing the coding/kernel build to enable booting from "fatex"
Was that sarcasm, or is "fatex" something I am unaware of (other than a technology investment fund)?

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:35 am
by Bakul Shah
6by9 wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:32 am
Bakul Shah wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:29 am
6by9 wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:55 am
IIRC the current bootloader doesn't support long filenames when accessing the boot files due to the MS patent on those, hence the elf, dat, txt, and kernel img files all conform to the 8.3 filename convention.
If you are talking about US Patent 5,579,517 I believe it has expired. See
https://patents.google.com/patent/US5579517A/en

As well as US Patent 5,578,352, Common name space for long and short filenames https://patents.google.com/patent/US5758352
2019-06-29
Application status is Expired - Lifetime
So they appear to have expired today (unless Google is doing something funny in presenting the data). Having to do a product release based on expiration of some nonessential patents isn't the best of plans.
I noticed the date but google is wrong. A patent now expires 20 years from the filing date so even the second updated patent expired on 2016-09-05.

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:20 pm
by LTolledo
So to enable RPi to boot from exFAT, the requirements would seem to be as:

1. compliance with legal requirements (licencing)
2. huge financial outlay (again... for licencing)
3. revision of the code dealing with the booting sequence
4. testing and more testing...(requires time... and more money, of course)
5. roll out to users

...so for anybody proposing (or demanding) the feature.... make sure you can "financially invest" to cover the first 2 above....

then again....
"..why invest time and money for a feature with nearly zero gains...?"

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:52 am
by MysticWhiteDragon
If you're looking for bootable exFAT for moving files easily from a Windows OS to the Pi, I would suggest just making an additional partition and format that as exFAT. That's what I did with one of my RetroPie systems. 1 partition BOOT (FAT32), 1 partition OS (ext3fs) , 1 partion DATA (exFAT).

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:49 am
by rpdom
MysticWhiteDragon wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:52 am
If you're looking for bootable exFAT for moving files easily from a Windows OS to the Pi, I would suggest just making an additional partition and format that as exFAT. That's what I did with one of my RetroPie systems. 1 partition BOOT (FAT32), 1 partition OS (ext3fs) , 1 partion DATA (exFAT).
The problem there being that all versions of Windows other than the very latest ones will ignore anything other than the first partition on removable media. You might as well use NTFS instead of exFAT.

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:24 pm
by LTolledo
MysticWhiteDragon wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:52 am
If you're looking for bootable exFAT for moving files easily from a Windows OS to the Pi, I would suggest just making an additional partition and format that as exFAT. That's what I did with one of my RetroPie systems. 1 partition BOOT (FAT32), 1 partition OS (ext3fs) , 1 partion DATA (exFAT).
That is not booting from exFAT, that is still booting from FAT32, as the /BOOT is still in FAT32 partition

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:47 pm
by binaryhermit
Didn't MS license their patents for free to the open-source community?

That said, even without patent licensing, I'd rather see the engineering resources spent on things that provide better return on the improvement/effort spectrum.

And is there even enough space in the bootloader EEPROM or whatever to add EXFAT boot support?

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:32 pm
by scruss
binaryhermit wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:47 pm
Didn't MS license their patents for free to the open-source community?
Selected ones, yes, but only in software that has a compatible licence. As soon as you put something in hardware, MS typically want a fee. The firmware's a binary blob, so money would have to change hands.

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:10 am
by binaryhermit
Good point.

Still, given the effort that would be involved and the possible need to remove features from the bootloader to make it fit on the EEPROM, I'd rather see resources go elsewhere.

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:39 pm
by hardwaremack-orginal
I was happy when i could

Code: Select all

apt-get install exfat-fuse exfat-utils
I just get annoyed when i try to copy 4gb+ images over and cant.
i guess f32 is fine. Rather that then raise the price.

Re: Can the pi 4 boot off exfat?

Posted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:03 pm
by rpdom
hardwaremack-orginal wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:39 pm
I was happy when i could

Code: Select all

apt-get install exfat-fuse exfat-utils
I just get annoyed when i try to copy 4gb+ images over and cant.
i guess f32 is fine. Rather that then raise the price.
NTFS doesn't work for you?