Computer platform advocacy can bubble up in the strangest places. In a recent interview at a conference in Australia, Linux creator Linus Torvalds got the Macintosh community in an uproar when he described Mac OS X’s file system as “complete and utter crap, which is scary.”
What did he mean? What is a “file system” anyway, and why would we care why one is better than another? At first glance, it might seem that file systems are boring technical widgetry that would never impact our lives directly, but in fact, the humble file system has a huge influence on how we use and interact with computers.
This article will start off by defining what a file system is and what it does. Then we’ll take a look back at the history of how various file systems evolved and why new ones were introduced. Finally we’ll take a brief glance into our temporal vortex and see how file systems might change in the future. We’ll start by looking at the file systems of the path, then we’ll look at file systems used by individual operating systems before looking at what they future may hold.
Linus Torvalds, File System, Operating System, Linux, Mac OS X