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NTFS for Linux

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There's a fundamental barrier between fans of open-source software and the world of Microsoft Windows, and no, it's not the $299 list price of Windows XP Professional. It's actually a very real communication problem based on differences between Windows and Linux's file systems-the structures that operating systems use to file away data on a computer. Think of the file system as a simple spreadsheet: It associates a filename with an index in a file allocation table. When you ask your computer to open a document, the OS checks this table to determine where on the hard drive it stored the file, down to the precise sector on your disk. Windows uses a file system called NTFS, today's Linux distributions primarily use ext3, and like two warring tribes, the two barely speak. Fortunately, there's a handy tool from Paragon Software Group called NTFS for Linux, which acts like an interpreter for these battling nations.

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