A beefy Linux 5.14-rc2 and light at the end of the tunnel for Paragon's NTFS driver

Torvalds: 'At some point somebody just needs to actually submit it'

The latest release candidate of the 5.14 Linux kernel is a hefty beast, Linus Torvald remarked yesterday, seemingly impatient over how long it is taking Paragon to send in its long-awaited and much-reviewed NTFS driver.

It has been nearly a year since Paragon submitted code for a read-write NTFS driver in the Linux kernel. The existing kernel driver is read-only, although another, a FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) driver, is read/write.

Despite multiple rounds of reviews (now up to v26 by our reckoning) the driver has continued to miss merge windows, the latest for the 5.14 kernel occurring earlier this month.

Last week, during a discussion concerning VirtualBox shared folder patches, a contributor observed of the Paragon code: "This driver is already in a much better feature state than the old ntfs driver from 2001," and commended the effort made by Paragon in supporting the driver.

Torvalds responded that, since the code appeared to have been given the nod and if Paragon was going to maintain it, "then I think Paragon should just make a git pull request for it."

The Register contacted Paragon and put that very comment to it. The company has yet to respond.

Torvalds noted that while the fsdevel mailing list was good for comments and feedback, he said of the code: "at some point somebody just needs to actually submit it."

Paragon's NTFS3 driver certainly improves on what currently lurks within the kernel (particularly after the reviews and tweaking) and with NTFS continuing to be a popular choice for Windows file systems, better support for scenarios such as external drives formatted with NTFS would be most welcome.

Size matters?

While the new NTFS driver may find its way into a future kernel release, the current 5.14-rc2 has become rather sizeable. "At least in pure number of commits, this is the biggest rc2 we've had during the 5.x cycle," remarked Torvalds yesterday before soothing nerves by insisting that, "it's not like anything looks super-scary," and "While being larger than usual, it's by no means _huge_"

The changes are spread throughout the code, although networking and GPU fixes occupy half of them. Torvalds also highlighted "AMD GPU header file noise" as another contributor.

It's a bit early to say if 5.14 is going to be a... busy... release, but it will certainly be worth keeping a close eye on things.

"Let's just say that rc2's are usually smaller than this," said Torvalds, "and just leave it at that." ®

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