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Re: postgres win32 in FAT32

From: Joerg Hessdoerfer <Joerg(dot)Hessdoerfer(at)sea-gmbh(dot)com>
To: "Magnus Hagander" <mha(at)sollentuna(dot)net>,pgsql-hackers-win32(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: postgres win32 in FAT32
Date: 2004-10-18 09:46:50
Message-ID: 200410181146.50552.Joerg.Hessdoerfer@sea-gmbh.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers-win32
Hi,

On Sunday 17 October 2004 18:37, you wrote:
> >We like to give away some software on CD and for that we like to use
> >some db, postgres would be fine. We know that it will only run on w2k
> >and XP (and that is ok), but many home user installations still have
> >FAT32 partitions. Everthing runs on FAT32, but postgres not. And for
> >shure most home users will not know how to convert fat32 to
> >ntfs nor do
> >that, cause they see no reason.
> >And I'm surprised that some functions will not work in postgres on
> >fat32. What is the reason?
> >I know fat32 is less security and on real servers I will always use
> >ntfs, but for this cd software I can not say, yuo must use ntfs :-(
>
> Specifically, FAT32 does not support Directory Junctions, which means
> tablespaces don't work. That's the only filesystem specific function
> that is used directly. (security and reliability are of course used
> indirectly)
>
> That said, you *can* run pg on FAT32, it's just not recommended. The
> installer won't let you. But if you install just the files (you can do
> this from the installer, just don't enable service or initdb) and run it
> manually, it should work.
>
> Beware that no testing is done on FAT. And don't expect your data to be
> around if the machine crashes. Right now I think only tablespaces won't
> work, but if other features don't work, don't expect anybody to put down
> a lot of effort to make a workaround for FAT.
>
> //Magnus

OK, we understand that part of FAT32 not being reliable enough - but shouldn't 
that choice being made by the admin, not the installer? The rationale is 
clear, but sometimes people just have to use FAT32 (like in the cited case on 
top of this message), and can't do anything about it. An installer which 
works, but refuses to initdb is, er, not helpful.
This whole 'FAT32 is bad, so we refuse it' issue seems like going too far - 
the admin is responsible for making sure the system is reliable enough. 
Nobody would place mission critical data on FAT32 anyway, if he's aware. If 
not, the data is not mission critical or someone would have taught this 
person or shot him. Please, don't treat PostgreSQL users like children - most 
of them know what they're doing, even on WIN32!
If the data is not so critical, then refusing to initdb is a burden on those 
people who want to use PG in their applications or _demos_ of applications, 
beacuse installation gets hard to the point of being unuseable by the end 
user.
It's a bit like the 'psql can't be run by Administrator issue', but this is 
already covered nicely by the installer creating the service account. Can't 
the FAT issue be dealt with similarly? Just pop up a warning dialog, saying 
something like 

Placing database data files on a FAT file system is not recommended because of 
possible data corruption. If possible, convert this filesystem to NTFS or use 
another drive. Conversion can be done using convert. Please look up convert 
in the windows help.

This would have the additional benefit of making users aware.

Greetings,
 Jörg
-- 
Leading SW developer  - S.E.A GmbH
Mail: joerg(dot)hessdoerfer(at)sea-gmbh(dot)com
WWW:  http://www.sea-gmbh.com

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Subject: Re: postgres win32 in FAT32
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Subject: Re: Win32 & NLS

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