Most of the flash devices assume that fat is the only file-system. And there are plenty of electronic devices that run linux on fat. So just to know what it is to run linux on vfat, I tried it myself.
The openSUSE 11.1 installer wont allow you to partition the root as vfat. So I made 2 partitions, one ext3 and one vfat. Installed on ext3. Copied the whole partition to fat. I copied original files in place of symbolic links. Added vfat filesystem module to initrd . Modified grub boot from the fat partition with init=/bin/bash.
FAT's lack of support for posix file-permissions. was easy to overcome by mounting with all permissions to everyone, without users or noexec. It doesn't support symlinks, and special files. mknod will fail. But /dev is a tmpfs and it just copies the persistent files from /dev to the tmpfs on boot, instead of copying I created fresh device files in tmpfs. `mount` failed trying lock the file /etc/mtab. Mounting with -n worked. I guess plenty of things would fail if I try to run a proper desktop on FAT as it is.
I booted only to /bin/bash. When I tried doing a "exec init 1", it complained something like cannot remove /var/run/do_confirm. I didn't proceed further. This was a fun way to kill time while getting some insight of the booting process.