I’ve been following an old ChromeOS issue #315401 at code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=315401 that deals with a decision to remove support for ext2/3/4 file systems from ChromeOS as a part of a “solution” to another issue, which was that users were unable to rename USB and SD drives in the left navigation bar.

This “solution”, mind you, is somewhat silly, as it really doesn’t solve anything, but instead just makes the “rename” option unavailable at all.

Google’s ChromeOS developers justify this move by saying that this feature is not needed and will only make ChromeOS unnecessarily heavy and potentially make the system vulnerable because of security risks involved in using a third party (open source) piece of software (the ext2/3/4 file system code), and will therefore discontinue support for those file systems. They also note that it is a management and maintenance burden, as someone has to “maintain” that code.

Maybe I’m wrong and would ask someone to correct me, but aren’t ext2/3/4 open source and community developed and maintained as well? Is it Google who is “secretly” tasked with the “burden” of maintaining someone else’s code? Hmm...

However, this post is not about me wising about Google’s decision, as I do not really use ChromeOS and don’t really care, but about another thing I’ve read in the same issue discussion.

Apparently, the real problem is security and maintenance. I can deal with the maintenance excuse, but the security excuse is just plain idiotic.

Yes, it is true that there have been some “studies” that have shown that in “certain situations”, very controlled and very “set up” and prepared, you can “potentially” gain illicit access to certain directory listings and maybe some files, but other than that, no real plausible and worrisome reason exists to consider ext2/3/4 as security risks.

Another thing that really makes me doubt this “excuse” is the fact that, at the same time ext2/3 and ext4 are no longer supported, ChromeOS continues to support FAT file system and Apple’s HFS+ plus system, which has seen a fair share of faults in its 15 or so years of existence.

I’m really wondering if someone is checking on what Google’s programmers are doing in their nice brightly painted aromatic boxes or where ever it is that they are coding ChromeOS “features” from, or maybe they are running loose and unsupervised in such important matters.

Who knows, maybe ChromeOS will end up using FAT32 for its primary file system soon.