Hi Robert, Travis,

Robert wrote:

>> Would you want a compressed filesystem at all?
>> My discouraging answer: I just don't need it.

>> I think, what FreeDOS needs for daily use is a good graphical web
>> browser, a nice e-mailer, a word processor like Abiword, FOSS USB
>> drivers, ...

In what way would FreeDOS differ from Linux 2.4 then?
Apart from being worse in performance, multitasking,
having no GUI, no way to show several apps at once...

Travis wrote:

> While I agree about some of the needed things, a compressed file
> system would do wonders for those folks using freedos on embeded
> devices, it would allow plenty of additional space on the boot
> devices, especially if it used lzw or lzh compression.

LZO just has smaller and faster decompression. The default
compression is smaller and faster, too, unless you set it
to high - then it is similar to ZIP/GZIP in most aspects.

One of the things I was asking between the lines is: Does
compression help at all, now that we have GIF, JPG, ZIP,
UPXed binaries and so on? Okay, my Ubuntu also shows me
how to waste space with Gnome help in bloated XML files,
but a little patching would make it support XML.GZ ;-).

If most of your contents is already in compressed file
formats, compressed file systems just solve the "each
file wastes half a cluster on average" problem for you.

How big are disks for typical embedded systems, how full,
with what type of data, and which files are written to?
Not asking for a general answer, just for a description
of a situation which would gain a lot from compressed FS.

> Also, the idea of reading the entire 2gb into memory
> (where available) then reorganizing it and writing it
> back would be useful.

Yes, it is interesting that whole FAT16 filesystems can
fit into RAM these days, but you also have to consider
the time it takes to download and upload the whole image
between your embedded system and your big PC. Unless of
course you use the compressed filesystem on the same
machine where you also have the big RAM. I assume you
also suggest that the normal mode of operation while
the filesystem is in use would be disk backed, not RAM?

Of course it might also be useful to have a big compressed
RAMDISK so you can have more files in RAM than your amount
of RAM would normally allow, probably on PC, not embedded?

> As well, as the ability to write to the file system, building
> from existing partitions is nice for creating boot images and
> such is good, but without the ability to write to the file
> system, it would be strictly limited in how it could be used.

Without complex tricks, you only get EITHER bootable OR
writeable compressed filesystems if you ask me...

> I think it would definitely be best if the file system
> could be written to, since it would allow it to be used
> as a standard file system.

Depends - what and how much of it would you want to write?
And why not have one compressed read-only drive letter and
one uncompressed normal one? The normal one could simply
be the drive where the compressed image is stored, as I
would say the image should be a file, not a partition :-)

Eric




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