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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Logical Structures and File Systems | New Technology File System (NTFS) | Other NTFS Features and Advantages ]

POSIX Support

One of the "miscellaneous" features that was designed into the NTFS file system was support for the Portable Operating System Interface standard, abbreviated POSIX. POSIX is a set of standards that was created to enhance the portability of applications between computer systems. As the name implies, POSIX is based somewht on the UNIX operating system and its constructs. The POSIX standards are administered by the IEEE.

There are actually a number of different POSIX standards. NTFS specifically supports the POSIX.1 standard, which is the standard for application program interfaces based on the "C" programming language. In practical terms, POSIX support is manifested most obviously in NTFS's support for special file naming provisions. For example, NTFS allows for file names to be case-sensitive, and also allows for hard links to be established, enabling multiple names for the same file within the file system. The "last accessed" date/time stamp for files is also part of POSIX support.

You may be wondering--what does POSIX support do for me? In general, the answer is "not much". :^) The purpose behind NTFS's POSIX support is to facilitate the migration of software to the Windows NT environment. Unless you are a programmer, you probably will never need to know anything more about POSIX support under NTFS than what I am telling you here. Based on my research, it appears that even if you are a programmer, NT POSIX support may be much more about sizzle than steak. The POSIX support as implemented is considered very rudimentary, meaning that the portability of programs is also limited. Some more cynical observers believe that the POSIX support in NTFS was included solely to enable Microsoft to satisfy a requirement for sales to United States federal government agencies.

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