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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Tuxera Shows Example In Finding Your Niche

Tuxera logoTuxera is a Finnish software startup specialized in file system interoperability software. The firm has developed Windows-interoperable file system drivers for NTFS and exFAT, allowing device manufacturers who use Linux or other non-Windows platforms to still provide plug and play access to the files from Windows or Mac computers. It claims to be the only company currently providing such system drivers to device manufacturers who use Linux or other non-Windows platform.

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Tuxera was originally founded to commercialize the leading NTFS (the main file system in Microsoft Windows)  open source project NTFS-3G, which aimed at a reliable, platform independent NTFS driver. Tuxera’s CTO Szabolcs Szakacsits has been leading the project since 2006. Currently Tuxera’s NTFS-3G driver is said to have over 10 million installations. For instance, each digital storage device like a camera or set-top-box, has a file system writing files on a memory card or a hard disk. Many of these devices run Linux and if a consumer wants to read the picture or video files directly from the device using a Windows or a Mac computer, the files must have been created using an interoperable file system, such as NTFS.

Tuxera recently also announced an extensive cooperation partnership with Microsoft, giving them access to all the specifications and tools needed to make the first new independent driver based on Microsoft’s new file system Extended file allocation table (exFAT). ExFAT is a scalable system designed specifically for mobile personal storages, like Flash drives and memory cards, and consumer electronics that require energy efficiency. Microsoft uses it in Windows Embedded CE 6.0, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows 7. More importantly, the SD Card Association made exFAT the standard file system for the new SDXC cards, something that is not hailed by everyone.

Tuxera is probably not that well known a firm, but it has been able to find a very good market for itself. The firm serves multi-billion dollar software, semiconductor, and consumer electronics companies in Asia, United States and Europe. Tuxera uses a dual-licensing model as typical with open source software, offering a commercial license for proprietary platforms that cannot use a GPL license. [UPDATE: actually, Tuxera does not utilize exactly the traditional dual licensing model, as the commercial version is in fact technically different (better) compared to the GPL version, for example having clearly faster performance.] The firm has been growing strongly, with three-digit year-over-year revenue growth, and turning a profit since the beginning. The CEO of Tuxera is Finn Mikko Välimäki, known from his extensive academic, legal, and business efforts in the field of software, not least for co-founding Electronic Frontier Finland and representing defendants in Finnish file sharing trials.

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