To be able to share data with my friends I used to have my external hard drive split in two. One FAT32 and one EXT3 partition. Fat32 so my friends can see data from their windows machines and ext3 due to speed. For still unknown reason any time I have disk connected to windows, speed about 10Mb/s is achieved only for some time (i.e. 10 secs) then the speed is degraded to about 3-4Mb/s. Under Linux I was not able to reproduce this scenario, constantly reading/writing at 10Mb/s all the time.
Anyway, Linux kernel is still missing proper write support for NTSF (Windows XP) formated drives. Luckily due to support of FUSE (Filesystem in userspace) available in kernel since 2.6.14 and ntfs-3g this is not true anymore. Albeit the ntfs3g is still marked as beta, many are using it now without any problems. Installation is smooth on gentoo by allowing FUSE in kernel and running:
#emerge -av ntfs3g
Then edit /etc/fstab and mount the drive:
/dev/sda1 /mnt/puppy ntfs-3g locale=cs_CZ.utf8,rw,uid=1000 0 0
I'm still struggling to have udev and hal to play nicely here and when you move the directories, they are copied instead of quick move but besides this the file system works fine.