Tuesday, November 17, 2009

File Systems Mystery

So I've made some progress on my Linux file server. Of course not everything works right out of the box. It's primary function is to serve video files via NFS to the WDTV. This basically worked, however there are some hickups.

I have three external drives connected to the server, two of them are formatted in Fat32, and a third (the largest) in HFS+. Fat32 is an older file system developed for Windows95 but it has the benefit of being read/write capable in nearly every system. It also has a file size limitation of 4GB, too small for most movie video files. For these files I have an HFS+ formatted hard drive. HFS+ is the standard file system for Macs. Drives formatted with this system can be read out of the box on Ubuntu (and on the XBox360). With some free software you can read HFS+ drives in Windows and read/write if you want to pay for it.

Unfortnately, Ubuntu won't let me share my HFS+ formatted drive via NFS. I'm not sure if this is because the drive isn't write capable or some inherent limitation of the file system. It is apparently possible to get Linux to have read/write capabilities on HFS+ drives so I may work on that. Functionally, however it isn't too important, I don't copy files to this drive very often so I can keep it directly connected to the WDTV. I'm also not too far away from needing a new hard drive which I can format in a Linux file system.

Useful links:
Setting up an NFS server on Ubuntu

UPDATE: I forgot that I never checked a change I made to the NFS exports file right before I gave up for the night. Of course it didn't work when Shanna tried to watch a file off the server. VERY LOW WAF! I was able to fix it rather quickly. For whatever reason, the WDTV doesn't like files served to "/files,no_root_squash,async)" changing the ip address to that of the WDTV fixed everything. Generally, this is a better way of doing things, but I was being lazy.

I made it up to her by finishing the sweet potato baking she had started.


  1. I've been just using the standard ext3 partition format when dealing with disks serving files off my Linux box, but I've been moving my video files to a HFS+ formatted USB drive attached to an Airport Extreme, and that seems the more appliancey, less power consuming, less maintenance way of doing things.

    BTW, check out my iPhone App for HDHomerun users: Signal GH. Allows you to see your antenna's signal strength for 2 simultaneous channels.

  2. Thanks Glenn, I'll check out the app!

    I used to do something similar with my photos and music. They were on a hard drive attached to my Linksys WRT610n router. It won't work with a HFS+ drive though.