2014-01-04 12:54 - Tech
I swear I looked into this a few years ago, and decided not to. But I did again recently. Most USB storage devices are used with FAT32, which is unpleasant for a variety of reasons. I found one page with a great summary of why both FAT32 is awful and UDF is better. It's from this year, and new to me. I also found another page with more technical detail and a complicated Perl script to do the formatting, with some tricks to improve interoperability. It's older. I probably saw it before.
I think this boils down to the fact that Windows XP cannot write to UDF. Back the last time I looked into this, I figure I cared about that too much to switch. Nowadays though I interact mostly with Windows 7, plus some Mac and Linux. I've tried it out, and so far it is absolutely the case that it "just works" and very pleasantly. I have a couple 2GB thumb drives and a 1TB external disk both formatted to UDF now, and they're working quite well across all three platforms.