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I need to read/write data on it from Linux/ext 3 and Windows/NTFS. It came formatted as FAT32 which works, but seems like a shitty file system to manage the amount of data I can cram on that sucker, though maybe I don't understand that correctly. A little research turned up that either NTFS or ext 3 would be a better candidate to manage that amount of data. More research turned me on to solutions that would work either way; 1) getting an ext 2 IFS for Windows from these guys since ext 3 is backward compatible or 2) installing a NTFS read/write driver in Linux.
I sorta think that it will be less of a technical nightmare for me to get Linux to playing nice with NTFS, but it also seems to me that extended is a more robust/versatile file system. On the other hand, I would only get the benefits of ext 2 using the IFS for Windows which sacrifices journaling.
Jerry? Sloppy? Anyone?
Then you are probably better off using NTFS. Did you look at the performance stats?
If you could live with a smaller cross-platform-accessible share, then you could partition the HD and use ext3 or ReiserFS or whatever for part of it and NTFS for the other part.
And yes, it's almost always better to do tricky stuff on the Linux side so Windows can stay dumb instead of the other way around.