Jan Kratochvil
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Captive: The first free NTFS read/write filesystem for GNU/Linux


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The usual solution for file exchange between Free operating systems and Microsoft Windows NT is to use FAT32 (vfat called in GNU/Linux) partition and swap the files over it. This method is not very comfortable as you never have access to all the files of the other operating system.

Linux NTFS

Although this project takes a completely different approach and has a different architecture, the final goal is the same as for this project – reliable read-write NTFS filesystem support. Linux NTFS goes the way of reverse engineering filesystem data structures (and possibly ntfs.sys itself). Unfortunately after many years of its development it did not yet reach the state of reliable read-write access although its read-only part is considered trustworthy.

Using Linux NTFS for read-only access to existing partition with Microsoft Windows NT installation is implemented for successful acquire of ntfs.sys, ntoskrnl.exe and possibly even fastfat.sys and/or cdfs.sys files from the user's NTFS partition.

Paragon NTFS for Linux

Real competition: Closed-source read/write $69.95 equivalent.

Closed-source read-write NTFS filesystem support. It goes the way of reverse engineering filesystem data structures (and possibly ntfs.sys itself) which may lead to a disk corruption by modified not fully understood disk data structures.

This closed-source product also means loosing the security of your GNU/Linux system by running closed-source software product.

NTPwd NTFS Driver

DOS based GPL-2.0 read-write NTFS driver. Filesystem structures are reverse engineered in the way of Linux-NTFS Project. As it is not very actively maintained it reaches a lower level of NTFS compatibility.

VMware Workstation

Real competition: Closed-source read/write $299 equivalent.

Original Microsoft Windows operating system can be run inside a virtual machine running under GNU/Linux and share the read-write NTFS disk by using a network file sharing through a VMware virtual network card.

You need $299 for this product and you need to give up your system security by running unsandboxed closed-source program in your GNU/Linux.

Wine Project

No code could be shared – Wine emulates only Microsoft Windows userland. Filesystem drivers completely belong to Microsoft Windows kernelland.

NTFS for Windows 98

Closed-source read-only-crippled $0 equivalent for Microsoft Windows.

There is a diagram showing exactly the principle of Captive NTFS project. There is apparently disabled read/write functionality in NTFS for Windows 98 as the same company also sells the following product sharing the same codebase:

NTFSDOS Professional

Closed-source read/write $299 equivalent for MS-DOS.

This product is the most close equivalent to Captive NTFS but it is a commercial product, closed-source and it has filesystem interface only for MS-DOS.



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