Inside the MSDOS / FAT Linux VFS Implementation

A (small) part of the Linux VFS module of the Designer Graphix Linux Internals training programme.

Referenced kernel ver: 2.6.30

Once extracted, see the



For ease of code browsing, do ‘make tags’ (or ‘ctags -R’) in the root folder of the kernel soure tree.

cd fs/fat

Note: Here the focus is on part of the MSDOS – Linux VFS kernel implementation, mainly the disk-related part, i.e., the superblock and inode objects. We don’t attempt to cover the Dcache/dentry, page cache (address operations) and just touch upon the process<–>filesystem relationship stuff (at least for now).

To gain some insight into the physical structure / arch of the MSDOS (and [v]fat) filesystem, see this page.
The <linux/msdos_fs.h> header mirrors much of this.

For example, the FAT16 boot record (boot sector) structure is nicely seen here; it’s Linux layout is here:
include/linux/msdos_fs.h:struct fat_boot_sector
(can browse it via the superb LXR tool here).

Superblock Setup

In namei_msdos.c:

static struct file_system_type msdos_fs_type = {
.owner          = THIS_MODULE,
.name           = "msdos",
.get_sb         = msdos_get_sb,
.kill_sb        = kill_block_super,
.fs_flags       = FS_REQUIRES_DEV,

static int __init init_msdos_fs(void)
return register_filesystem(&msdos_fs_type);

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