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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:13 am 
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Fire away: http://rrforum.ath.cx/viewtopic.php?t=21

In fact, I'm a bit surprised why the MMC BIOS didn't come with FAT32 support in first hand. It shouldn't be that difficult.. I believe most of the hard work has been done already.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:14 am 
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Well, it was sort of a retorical question ;-)

If we don't start talking about it, nothing will ever happen. Introducing FAT32 might be a bit tricky. I gather that we'll probably need multiple partition support first and then the FAT32 support. This will make it possible to have a FAT16 partition to start/boot on and to use for (hopefully soon to be legacy) current plugins and such. Then all the new stuff could be placed on a second FAT32 partition. And THEN comes the cumbersome work of actually adding the FAT32 support to a BIOS and it's plugins.
hmm.. comments?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:27 am 
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Multiple partitions are
a) simple, if you only consider max. 4 primary partitions defined in MBR
b) cumbersome (read: code bloat) if you allow extended partitions containing logical partitions and further extended partitions.

Windows creates only one primary partition IIRC, placing all the other partitions inside extended partitions. But as it doesn't allow you to access anything but the first partition anyway (on removable media, hard disks with multiple PPs work just fine) I think we could forget case B completely. ;)

I don't know how many free bytes there are in the latest BIOS, but binding keys 1-4 to partition selection shouldn't take too much space.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:42 am 
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Using multiple partitions on removable media with Windows requires some 3rd party tools, yes. No problem for me and you, but probably for a lot of MMC64 users, I dunno. With Linux, no problem.

If the actual BIOS was to be reduced to, well.. a basic i/o system, and simply load on demand all the relevant stuff off the MMC (sort of like it does today with the plugins, but with even more stuff off-loaded), the code bloat issues would mean less... at least to the BIOS size ;-)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:30 pm 
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If you have to choose between supporting FAT16, and FAT32, FAT16 is the best choice (or least bad, depending on how you look at it). Supporting both formats would be hard with an 8 kB budget.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:12 pm 
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Well, it doesn't have to be FAT. Any FS would do if you ask me, as long as it can hold the desired amounts of data without wasting near 50% of the capacity.
I have no idea of how much code it would take to support any FS as I have never implemented any (official ones at least), and I haven't read thru the FAT spec yet to see how different FAT16 is from FAT32.
But is there ANY real alternative to FAT?
Would 4 FAT16 partitions satisfy everyones needs for all eternety if implemented with proper usable support in the BIOS?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:24 am 
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Devia wrote:
I haven't read thru the FAT spec yet to see how different FAT16 is from FAT32.


They're very similar, the only differences are that the FAT table is 32 bits wide, and the root directory is like a normal directory (it's fixed size on FAT16).

Devia wrote:
But is there ANY real alternative to FAT?


Not really, no. No other FS is as well supported.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:39 pm 
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Devia wrote:
Using multiple partitions on removable media with Windows requires some 3rd party tools, yes.

I haven't found any tool which would allow mounting extra partitions with Windows, so if you've found one then let us know. It might be possible to edit registry to fool Windows to think memory card is non-removable, but I don't want to think how confused OS gets when you indeed remove one.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:52 am 
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nahh.. I haven't found a tool that makes you mount multiple partitions in windows ;-)
But! - Windows uses the first partition listed in the MBR partition table. So simply re-arranging those 4 entries, lets you decide which partition Windows will use. This is also true for the MMC64 BIOS, which will also default to the first entry.
The 7tools Partition Manager from Paragon has a function for re-arranging the MBR partition table. I suspect that most partition tools do.


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