BigFAT specification breaks 4GB per file barrier

BigFAT specification breaks 4GB per file barrier

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Segger in Germany has launched an open, patent-free specification for any third party to store files larger than 4 GB on standard FAT media in embedded applications.

The BigFAT specification is not encumbered by any patents and can be used freely, along with the supporting tools. FAT is supported by all operating systems as the industry standard for formatting removable storage such as SD cards and USB memory sticks, but is limited by the file size restrictions for storing or transferring video files or using databases.

BigFAT addresses this shortcoming with support for files well beyond 1TB by breaking large files into small pieces, each piece comfortably fitting on a FAT volume as an individual file. These blocks are presented as a single massive file to the user, while maintaining full compatibility with standard FAT.

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“FAT plays an important role in the Embedded Space,” said Rolf Segger, founder of the cpmpany. “Whether used for removable storage media, such as SD cards and USB sticks, or as an internal file system, many embedded systems use FAT. exFAT, presented as successor to FAT for SD-cards, is unfortunately not compatible with FAT and is also patent encumbered.”

“Any company using or implementing exFAT requires a license from Microsoft, which can be difficult or costly to obtain, especially for small businesses and the Open Source Community,” says Ivo Geilenbruegge, Managing Director. “That’s why we  decided to introduce BigFAT as open, non-patent encumbered specification. By allowing all interested parties to use BigFAT without charge or hassles, we aim to establish it as a new standard. Anyone is welcome to implement it based on the specification.”

As part of its development tools, Segger provides a free tool called BigFAT Converter, which runs on Linux, macOS, and Windows. It allows users to create, read, or copy BigFAT files to and from the host file system, and the emFile PRO tool comes with an implementation of BigFAT.

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