UDF is a free file system, that works with Linux and Windows.
There are problems in MacOS. I have no Apple computer, but I have read that MacOS can manage UDF. However, recent tests by @Unique, the OP, indicates that it does not work. There are different versions (of UDF), and we must conclude that the version described here is not supported by MacOS.
UDF supports linux symbolic links.
There is a detailed description how to install it in this AskUbuntu link:
Full compatibility with Linux, Windows and MacOS
UDF probably lacks tools to repair the file system,
Maybe it is possible to find repair tools in Windows via this link: fsck tools for UDF, and there is some tool available as source code
Can be created in Ubuntu
Compatible with linux style links.
Compatible with linux style permissions. You can create and modify permissions of individual files (which is not possible with FAT and NTFS).
A UDF partition will not be prompted for formatting by Windows 10 (while the linux ext4 file system is affected, and can be destroyed by mistake).
How to create and use UDF: Using the UDF as a successor of FAT for USB sticks
So, to use it, assuming your USB stick is
Install the package
sudo apt-get install udftools
Create a partition table and one partition with
Wipe the first mibibyte of the target partition with the risky
dd (double-check the command line!)
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdx1 bs=1M count=1
sudo mkudffs -b 512 --media-type=hd --lvid=my-label /dev/sdx1
Wipe the first mibibyte of the partition to erase the previous file system information (or other remaining data), to prevent you USB stick from being detected as a FAT after it has been formatted with UDF.
-b 512 is to force a file system block size equal to the USB stick's physical block size, as required by the UDF specification. Adapt it if you have the luck of having a USB stick with a more appropriate block size.
After that, your USB stick will be usable for reading and writing with GNU/Linux and the other free operating systems of course, but also with current versions of Windows (read-only with the outdated version XP) but not with MacOS.
Universal Disk Format (UDF) is a profile of the specification known as
ISO/IEC 13346 and ECMA-167 and is an open vendor-neutral file
system for computer data storage for a broad range of media. In
practice, it has been most widely used for DVDs and newer optical disc
formats, supplanting ISO 9660. Due to its design, it is very well
suited to incremental updates on both recordable and (re)writable
optical media. UDF is developed and maintained by the Optical Storage
Technology Association (OSTA).