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raFS Extensions: Philip Ludlam talks about the user friendly update

By Chris Williams. Published: 20th Dec 11:05:55 | Permalink | Printable

For pre-RISC OS 4 machines, the 10 letter filename limit and the maximum 77 files per directory often diminishes the full potential of the RISC OS filing system. There have been numerous utilities in the past to allow longer filenames and allow many more files to be stored in a directory. However, these are usually image filing systems; a typical image filing system application gathers all the files to benifit from the longer filenames and limitless directories into one large file for it to maintain. To the user, the files appear to be separate when in reality they are all held in the one image file. PC Card DOS partitions are an example of this, the individual files and directories on the PC Card harddisc are stored as a single file.
The major drawback to most image filing systems is that if a particular file inside the image file goes wrong, it is usually a difficult task to extract that one file and fix it. Plus managing large image files can be quite demanding for some slower machines.

With the intent to produce a non-image filing system that extended the RISC OS filesystem to allow long filenames and limitless directories, Richard Atterer developed raFS, a 'true' filing system that manages and stores each file separately. raFS clings to an exsisting host filing system, (such as the RISC OS default magnetic disc filesystem, ADFS), and talks directly the host filing system to maintain files and discs and provide the extensions.
"This means that you can take full advantage of the "host" filing system's abilities to manage files, which is much more effective. Additionally, there are much better chances of retrieving your data in case something goes wrong.", explains Richard in the raFS documentation.

While raFS is still used by many RISC OS users, the advent of RISC OS 4 has left raFS to those still using older versions of RISC OS and development has reached it's end. As such Richard has given raFS GPL status, which means other software writers are free to continue development of raFS with few restrictions.
Although he insists he has not taken over full developement of raFS, Philip Ludlam has recently released publically his own additions to raFS.

"..Over a number of years, I've slowly altered and tweaked the various raFS discs that populate my hard drive. It was only a few months ago that I though about finalising it all and releasing it", comments Philip.
"raFS Enhancements provides a set of extensions to raFS to make it more
user friendly".

The major improvements include..

  • ..after proper installation you should get no more of the 'Disc not present' errors
  • ..easier opening of the parent directory of an raFS disc

Finally, raFS author Richard has commented that the raFS enchancements are "quite useful to me - feel free to release them".

raFS extensions (includes full raFS download): www.philipnet.com/riscos/

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