You know, ZFS, ButterFS (btrfs…its actually “better” right?), and I’m sure more.

I think I have ext4 on my home computer I installed ubuntu on 5 years ago. How does the choice of file system play a role? Is that old hat now? Surely something like ext4 has its place.

I see a lot of talk around filesystems but Ive never found a great resource that distiguishes them at a level that assumes I dont know much. Can anyone give some insight on how file systems work and why these new filesystems, that appear to be highlights and selling points in most distros, are better than older ones?

Edit: and since we are talking about filesystems, it might be nice to describe or mention how concepts like RAID or LUKS are related.

  • Björn Tantau
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    6 months ago

    I’ve started using BTRFS on my laptop with OpenSUSE and on my Steam Deck. It does two things for me, which I’m interested in. On OpenSUSE it does a snapshot before every system update. So if anything goes wrong I can easily roll back.

    On the Steam Deck I love the deduplication. It’s really great for a ton of Windows games that all need their own little “Windows” environment which amounts to a GB or two per game. With BTRFS I only use that space once.

    • @rutrumOPA
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      146 months ago

      Can you elaborate more on deduplication? Is this a feature you setup, or does it sort of work out of the box? This is a new concept to me, but sounds incredibly useful, especially in that scenario.

      • Björn Tantau
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        166 months ago

        I used a script that did everything for me, so I’m not 100 % sure. But as far as I know you enable the feature at mount time and then every time you copy something only a reference is copied until you actually do a change to the new or old file.

        For everything else a cronjob runs every week or so to search for unnecessary duplicates.

        • Chewy
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          166 months ago

          And if a copied file is changed, btrfs only stores the difference instead of two complete files. E.g. if the 1GB file1 is copied to file2, they will take 1GB total. If 100MB is appended to file2, the total storage usage is 1,1GB