Author Topic: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?  (Read 1142 times)

Dariusz Piatkowski

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FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« on: November 27, 2020, 08:35:47 pm »
The subject says it all...what have you picked/installed, and why?

I ask b/c I have had the Netlabs 0.9.13 release on my machine from quite some time now. It has worked for me quite well since the extent of using FATanything was to simply pull the pics off of my digital camera. That's a FAT32 card, easy to mount, easy to copy off of, done!

However, as storage capacities got larger and now it's somewhat easy to have a multi-gig FAT device I figured I should perhaps update my install.

Now, here is the decision point: run with the updated Netlabs release, or move over to AN one? If I understood the AN release notes, their goal is to have the basic FAT32 capability, no other fancy stuff. Seems simple enough....but that also appears to really narrow things down to just the stuff that's pure FAT32 as opposed to having capability to mount exFAT, etc.

So I'm curious how others have gone about this? What have you deployed, why and how is that working for you?

Thanks!

ivan

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2020, 08:56:57 pm »
Sorry Dariusz, can't help you much there regarding use with a camera since I use Cameraderie v1.5.3 by Rich Walsh with all my Nikon DSLR cameras.  It even works with the over size card in my D60 without problems, in fact the only time I take a card out of the camera is if I need to change it because it is full and even then I replace it to get the pictures off it.

Doug Bissett

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2020, 11:48:45 pm »
I don't even consider using anything except the AN FAT32 driver. It seems to have a problem, or two, but nothing as bad as what 9.13 has (I don't even remember what the problems were). I did try the other one (with ExFAT, and FAT16, support), but decided that it wasn't really any better, and the FAT16 was interfering with the old OS/2 FAT16 support (not to mention the questionable legality of using it). At the time, I had no need for ExFAT, and still don't. It seems that nobody is using ExFAT anymore, even Microsoft doesn't seem to be pushing it.

Today, I use my cell phone as a camera. It takes better pictures than my old HP digital camera ever did (and that was better than my old Nikon  film cameras). I got a short adapter cable, so I could plug a USB stick into it (formatted FAT32), and copy things to that, then to my computer. At one time, I did get the phone to transfer directly, probably using Cameraderie, but that was more difficult than using the USB stick.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2020, 02:54:01 am »
Hi

If I recall correctly, on why AN decided to fork FAT32, it was because of the exFat support on the Netlabs version. exFAT is patented by Microsoft, and even than MS pinky swear to not sue, it was too risky to include it to ArcaOS. AN does not have the resources to fight a monster like Microsoft if the want to "negotiate" a patent fee.  This is an interesting article about the exFAT patents and use license.

Regards
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 04:21:00 pm by Martin Iturbide »
Martin Iturbide
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Lars

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2020, 09:52:49 am »
I use the latest FAT32 from Netlabs.
For once, I don't have AN.
The other reason was, that I can finally format a dump partition up to 4 GB with FAT16 (by selecting a 64k cluster size) which allows to use the original OS2DUMP (that only dumps to FAT16 partitions) without the need to install DUMPFS.
There are also commandline switches that control what FAT16 partitions are served by FAT32 and which are controlled by the kernel built-in FAT16,you just have to use them.
The latest version is stable and works fine for me. The latest version is newer than the one announced on the Netlabs WIKI.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 09:57:32 am by Lars »

Rich Walsh

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2020, 10:22:49 am »
The current Netlabs version is an outstanding example of undisciplined design.

What started out as a FAT32 driver morphed into an exFAT/FAT12/FAT16-and oh yeah-FAT32 driver with no appreciable improvements in speed or code quality. Then it went off into outer space with the ability to mount disk images from various VMs, and finally, a Unix-style loop adapter that requires a new BASEDEV.

What does a BASEDEV that mounts disk images as drives have to do with a FAT32 filesystem driver?

I'd love to have a loop adapter to mount images, and I wouldn't mind downloading an exFAT driver from a jurisdiction that doesn't recognize s/w patents - and I could accept less than sterling software quality if they were packaged separately. But when it comes to saving my data in a format that has become a must-have (i.e. FAT32), I want something reliable, not "feature-rich". For that, I use AN's version.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2020, 04:13:09 pm »
The current Netlabs version is an outstanding example of undisciplined design.

Sometimes the issue is that we have, what we have. I would love for the community to have the resources to create software with features, reliability, code quality, new standards and great discipline. But sometimes we have to settle with "it works or not".

If there will developers willing to create the greatest FAT32 driver with exFAT support with the best practices I would love it, but I think there is a priority for different drivers first, or even to improve the GUI with more modern concepts in mind.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Lars

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2020, 06:30:56 pm »
The BASEDEV is a separate sub package in the WPI. You don't have to install it and in fact, I did not.
I was not too happy with the feature overload either but it's difficult to complain if it is for free :-)

Heikki Kekki

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2020, 10:51:38 am »
Today, I use my cell phone as a camera. It takes better pictures than my old HP digital camera ever did (and that was better than my old Nikon  film cameras). I got a short adapter cable, so I could plug a USB stick into it (formatted FAT32), and copy things to that, then to my computer. At one time, I did get the phone to transfer directly, probably using Cameraderie, but that was more difficult than using the USB stick.

I transfer pictures from my Android phone to my desktop computer using Samba share. I used Asus File Manager before because it was installed on my Sony Xperia phone when transferring data from an Asus Phablet. I currently use File Manager Plus. It's better, faster, and you can browse photos, for example, just like on your phone's Album.

Neil Waldhauer

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2020, 03:42:25 pm »
I was transferring photos from my iPhone using FileBrowser and a Samba share on my OS/2 computer, but I now use iCloud running in the Firefox 45 browser to download the photos.

In theory, I should be able to configure Dropbox to make the photos available on the OS/2 desktop as drive through the NetDrive Dropbox plug-in, but it's a lot of configuring, and iCloud works well enough.
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Dariusz Piatkowski

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Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2020, 05:25:12 am »
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. You all raised good points, some of them I agree with and some of them I do not, but I'll just leave it at that.

Alright, so I had a chance to test a few things out and there is nothing like a real number to tell the story, so here it goes.

1) Environment
I mentioned camera pics transfer because I'm talking about my Pentax K5-II DSLR. That simply accepts a storage card, which in my case is a Samsung Pro SDXC 32G card, that on my Android phone (Samsung S9) gets a 67M Read and 61M Write speeds. This card, using the very same USB stick but different hardware which runs a Win7 Pro install, shows a 13M Read and 7M Write speeds. The card is FAT32 formatted.

The card simply comes out of the DSLR's mount spot, I plug that into a reader stick, plug that puppy in and off I go. The card was previously configured to be LVM-aware, so it has it's own volume letter assigned.

The actual USB card reader specs are:

Code: [Select]
<<< Device Description >>>
 Type            : 01
 USB Rev         : 200
 Class           : Reserved (0)
 Subclass        : Reserved (0)
 Protocol        : Reserved (0)
  Device Information is defined at interface Level
 Max. packetsize : 40
 Vendor  ID      : 0BDA
 Product ID      : 0119
 Device Release# : 1985
 Strings:
  Manufacturer Name : Generic
  Product Name      : USB2.0-CRW
  Serial number     : 20090815198100000
 Number of Configurations : 1

 Configuration 0 :
  Lenght     : 32
  Name       : CARD READER
  Value      : 1
  Attributes : 0x80
  Power      : 500 mA
  Interfaces : 1

  Interface 0
   Alt Setting : 0
   Name        : <NONE>
   Class       : Storage Device
   SubClass    : SCSI transparent command set
   Protocol    : Bulk-Only Transport
   Endpoints   : 2

   Endpoint 0:
    Address     : 01
    Attributes  : 02
    Packetsize  : 0200
    Interval    : 0

   Endpoint 1:
    Address     : 82
    Attributes  : 02
    Packetsize  : 0200
    Interval    : 0

This is all plugged into my USB 2.0 port driven by the AOS USBEHCD 12.07 drivers.

2) Results
These are obtained by mounting the card and using LCMD filemanager to copy 12 JPG files off of the card onto a RAMDISK, files are approx 8-10M each in size.

OK, two stages here:

2a) 5.0.3.r171 AOS FAT32 install
- default settings, cache=2048, etc. shows a steady throughput of about 1M
- disabling cache and setting to 0 (zero) drops that throughput down to 250k

2b) 0.10.r383 NetLabs FAT32 install
- default settings, cache=2048, etc. shows a steady throughput of about 3M
- disabling cache and setting to 0 (zero) bumps that throughput up by about 500k to 3.5M
- what is interesting here is that with the cache disabled I am getting sporadic spikes of up to 6-7M, which drop off to about 2M and speed up again

OK, there it is.

Given these results I'm sticking with the Netlabs release, I simply cannot afford to waste time waiting for tens and occasionally hundreds of images to get moved off of my card. 3x the speed difference is just far too large of a gap.

I will say this (being part of the testing group and regularly testing the USB stuff and only intermittently the FAT32 stuff): Gregg put a LOT of effort into making the AOS FAT32 stuff work, so I do not want to take anything away from that and the stability improvements that has brought.

What I described above is a very limitted use-case, that being a fairly small storage card, this certainly pales in comparison to someone who may want to run a multi-Gig drive - I'm thinking the readily available mobile USB drives, and in that situation the AOS may in fact provide the better results. Heck, for all I know, this all may be a moot point when hooking up to a USB3 anyways...I did not test as I have no USB3 interface storage devices here.

I have not tested a from-scratch 'partition/LVM-mark/format/etc.' process either, so this test only covers the accessibility of the device and the throughput rates I'm seeing.

EDIT
====
Added the FAT32 card formatting reference and correct Netlabs r383 driver info.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 05:44:13 am by Dariusz Piatkowski »