Re: Whatever for?
Unfortunately, almost all commonly available external USB hard drives come already formatted with NTFS. One could reformat them to one of the Linux formats or perhaps exFAT but there are problems in doing that.
The first is that mucking about with these prepackaged ready-to-go hard drives is not something many casual users want to do, all they want is to plug it in and go.
Second is the compatibility issue. With the majority of machines still being Windows based, thus NTFS, there's a need for Windows compatibility. I regularly have to move these portable drives from my Linux laptops to Windows machines, so here Linux's formats are nuisance.
Third, reformatting the drives from their default NTFS to exFAT sounds like the solution but it's not a particularly good one as exFAT on these large USB drives often results in data loss usually from premature/improper removal combined with uncompleted delayed (buffered) writes. From my experience, the data loss can be serious. In this regard, there's precious little difference between exFAT and FAT32. On the other hand, NTFS is much, much more solid in these circumstances. Essentially, this means that Microsoft's donation of exFAT to Linux isn't all that it's been made out to be. Now, if MS had donated NTFS instead of (or as well as) exFAT then that would have been actually useful instead of just being tokenism.
The problems with large exFAT storage is also showing up elsewhere. Thumb drives 64GB and above are usually formatted in exFAT rather than FAT32 and they're usually compatible with Android smartphone's OTG (it also uses exFAT), so they're used to transfer data between phones and PCs. The same exFAT data loss problem comes into play here too, and it's particularly acute when the larger portable HD drives (500GB etc.) - as mentioned above - are again reformatted from NTFS to exFAT for the same reasons. Unfortunately, most smartphones don't support NTFS, however there are a few exceptions such as Huawei which has its own inbuilt native NTFS driver for OTG (it's a damn nuisance that most other manufacturers don't follow suit).
Thus, the obvious solution for Android OTG users is to get Paragon's Android NTFS driver.
All this mucking about wouldn't be necessary if Paragon's NTFS driver were to be added to Linux, for then it would ultimately filter down to Google's Android distributions and the compatibility problem would be solved. (If this were to happen then it'd be good if phones' micro SD cards could also be formatted in NTFS (They can't at the moment).)
On grounds practicability, I'd most certainly welcome Paragon's NTFS driver into Linux. It's a no-brainer if we want to maximize Linux's acceptance on the desktop.