More efficient and flexible use of internal flash

Posted on 2009-12-20 16:04 UTC by Tom Tanner. Status: Under consideration, Categories: Desktop, Media, System, Devices.

about 27GB of the N900 internal flash memory are reserved for a VFAT (FAT32) partition which is mounted on /home/user/MyDocs and exported as USB mass storage.

The VFAT filesystem is an ancient, slow, inefficient (cluster size, bad for many small files) non-POSIX compatible (no symlinks, permissions etc) filesystem and only used for maximum compatibility when exporting it via USB mass storage.


It would be nice if it could be replaced by a ext3 or any another modern POSIX filesystem and merged with the /home partition so that all advantages of those file systems can be used.

This would remove the 2GB limit for the home partition and make a more standard Linux home directory layout possible (eliminating MyDocs, new directories Pictures, Documents etc. in the home directory).


For USB mass storage mode file system images with any file system (e.g. FAT32, ext3, NTFS, HFS+ depending on the users desktop OS) and arbitrary size could be stored on the partition and exported using loop devices.

Brainstorm forum thread

Solutions for this brainstorm


Solution #1: large ext3 partition with loop-device VFAT image

Posted on 2009-12-20 16:06 UTC by Tom Tanner.

the following two posts show how to implement the proposed changes:

Repartition the internal flash

Automatically export file system image via loop device

It would be nice if Nokia was using this solution by default

and completely get rid of the VFAT partition and the (hardcoded) MyDocs folder.


Solution #2: Leave the default as is; provide power users with tools and documentation to do it

Posted on 2009-12-29 14:52 UTC by Javier S. Pedro.

Joe Sixpack needs the FAT32 partition more than the ext3 partition. Of course, power users may want to try larger ext3 partitions or even exotic filesystems, so they need safe and relatively easy ways to change the partition layout.

This also means programs depending on a specific layout need to have warning labels or be fixed.


Solution #3: Use NTFS

Posted on 2009-12-30 21:44 UTC by Florian Boor.

It would be an option to consider using NTFS. This is more advanced and efficiant compared to VFAT and Linux support for NTFS has improved heavily over the time. With the size of the available flash the advantages of a more advanced filesystem increase quite a lot. For now I would like to mention this as a possible solution only - I'm not yet sure if it is really feasible but its worth to investigate.

Solution #4: Only use linux filesystems for the internal flash

Posted on 2010-02-09 08:44 UTC by Stefanos Harhalakis.

Use only linux filesystems (ext2/3, reiserfs; vfat) for the internal flash to make the device faster.

Data access from PCs will be possible like this:

  • External flash will be mountable from PCs - As it is like now.
  • Internal flash will be accessible by samba, ftp and sftp. Those daemons will only bind to usb0 interface and will only be accessible from a usb connection.

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