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There's Talk Again About Btrfs For Fedora

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  • There's Talk Again About Btrfs For Fedora

    Phoronix: There's Talk Again About Btrfs For Fedora

    In earlier Fedora Linux releases there was generally a desire with having Btrfs become the default file-system. It's generally proposed to make the next-generation Linux file-system the default in Fedora, but every time in the end the idea has been dropped. With Fedora 19 due in mid-2013, Btrfs for Fedora is again being talked about...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTI3NzA

  • #2
    in most benchies i see on Phoronix, EXT4 runs circles around BTRFS in most of the tests (except when you set compression in BTRFS).
    Dont see why it should be default.

    Most linux noobs probably use ubuntu anyway (i am one too).

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mayankleoboy1 View Post
      in most benchies i see on Phoronix, EXT4 runs circles around BTRFS in most of the tests (except when you set compression in BTRFS).
      Dont see why it should be default.

      Most linux noobs probably use ubuntu anyway (i am one too).
      Fedora is the other side of the Ubuntu coin, though, if you are starting first time on Linux it is probably one of those two, and I don't see why you wouldn't use lzo or gzip compression in btrfs, you save space and get better disk throughput.

      I run it default on my Arch boot, and snapshots are am amazing way to do system restores.

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      • #4
        Btrfs is like Duke Nukem, poised to ship way later than anticipated, so late that it's not even funny.

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        • #5
          leave it optional, please

          I've been running btrfs on Fedora 17 and 18 on a couple of machines, I concur that it is clearly slower than ext4, as benchmarks show. Not to mention less stable.

          Performance with virtual machines or anything that requires random writes inside a file is horrible. In Fedora 18 I retried this and it was still awful, moved my VMs back to disk partitions. This is being actively worked on, but for now btrfs is only performant for operations where COW makes sense. Database performance is usable for development only -- not for anything that approaches real production throughput.

          Saying "performance is only good with compression on" is a cop out -- most data is not very compressible, particularly those requiring high throughput like database or audio/video. This succeeds in making btrfs look great in benchmarks using fake files only.

          I also concur with the goal of waiting for Anaconda to stabilize. I installed Fedora 18 beta on a new laptop and only succeeded after Anaconda had hard crashed and forced reboot about half a dozen times. This is with very few partition options actually exposed in the Anaconda UI at the moment.

          Also up for discussion would be whether there is a "best practice" btrfs configuration that should be used. i.e. should root be on a subvolume? What about /var and /home on separate subvolumes by default? should the @volname Ubuntu convention be followed?

          A lot of things need to be shaken out before btrfs is a sane default. I would love it to be, but it's not near ext4 or xfs in terms of real-world performance, versatility and stability at the moment.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mark45 View Post
            Btrfs is like Duke Nukem, poised to ship way later than anticipated, so late that it's not even funny.
            Btrfs has been "shipping" for a long time and many of us have been use it for a long time already. This discussion is merely about whether it is ready to take on the role of a default filesystem for Fedora. Filesystems are like wine. A new filesystem written from scratch simply takes a long time to mature and we cannot really rush that process. Comparable filesystems have either had long gestation periods before it reached public eye (ZFS) or were extensions to existing mature codebases (Ext*).

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            • #7
              I'm myself using Btrfs for like 18 months anywhere except the / partition, iirc Ubuntu were contemplating making it the default one like 2 years ago, but since then the only progress is that Ubuntu/Canonical doesn't think it's ready, nor does it contribute anything, just as with Wayland - it's pretty much waiting for Red Hat and others to do the dirty job. Plus iirc there was a guy who refused to work publicly on the Btrfs fsck which made Btrfs evolve even more slowly than it could.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RahulSundaram View Post
                A new filesystem written from scratch simply takes a long time to mature and we cannot really rush that process. Comparable filesystems have either had long gestation periods before it reached public eye (ZFS) or were extensions to existing mature codebases (Ext*).
                btrfs seems to be taking longer than ZFS did. Which is ironic, since ZFS was more innovative for its time than btrfs. I would have expected btrfs to be developed faster than ZFS, since the concepts that ZFS pioneered were well established by the time btrfs development started.

                ZFS development started in 2001, and it was stable and production ready in 4 or 5 years (depending on whether you count OpenSolaris build 27 in 2005 or Solaris 10 in 2006 as a stable release).

                btrfs development started in 2007, and it looks like it would be optimistic to expect btrfs to be the default filesystem in Fedora in 2013, which is six years later. And Fedora is generally considered a cutting-edge distro. You'd need to have btrfs used as default in a conservative linux distro to have a close equivalent to ZFS in Solaris 10.

                btrfs development is so slow and aimless that I wonder whether btrfs will ever be chosen as the default filesystem for a conservative linux distro.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jwilliams View Post
                  btrfs seems to be taking longer than ZFS did. Which is ironic, since ZFS was more innovative for its time than btrfs. I would have expected btrfs to be developed faster than ZFS, since the concepts that ZFS pioneered were well established by the time btrfs development started.

                  ZFS development started in 2001, and it was stable and production ready in 4 or 5 years (depending on whether you count OpenSolaris build 27 in 2005 or Solaris 10 in 2006 as a stable release).

                  btrfs development started in 2007, and it looks like it would be optimistic to expect btrfs to be the default filesystem in Fedora in 2013, which is six years later. And Fedora is generally considered a cutting-edge distro. You'd need to have btrfs used as default in a conservative linux distro to have a close equivalent to ZFS in Solaris 10.
                  .
                  Just as a data point, https://lwn.net/Articles/342892/ for a article from a former ZFS developer who notes some of the core differences, You already have several "conservative distros" using Btrfs including Oracle Linux and SUSE and they support it commercially. So if that is your criteria, ZFS and Btrfs has taken roughly the same time to be deployed in production and commercially supported and yes including as a root filesystem. So Fedora isn't the barometer in this matter despite its typically leading edge status.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RahulSundaram View Post
                    You already have several "conservative distros" using Btrfs including Oracle Linux and SUSE and they support it commercially.
                    SUSE does not use btrfs as the default filesystem, according to what I have read. Do you have a reference stating the SUSE is defaulting to btrfs?

                    Anyway, by conservative linux distros, I mean Debian or RHEL.
                    Last edited by jwilliams; 01-17-2013, 04:37 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RahulSundaram View Post
                      Just as a data point, https://lwn.net/Articles/342892/ for a article from a former ZFS developer who notes some of the core differences, You already have several "conservative distros" using Btrfs including Oracle Linux and SUSE and they support it commercially. So if that is your criteria, ZFS and Btrfs has taken roughly the same time to be deployed in production and commercially supported and yes including as a root filesystem. So Fedora isn't the barometer in this matter despite its typically leading edge status.
                      https://lkml.org/lkml/2010/6/3/313 explains that btrfs has unbounded internal fragmentation. The author of the article you linked criticized ZFS' external fragmentation, but completely ignored the unbound internal fragmentation of btrfs. ZFS has ARC, which compensates for ZFS' external fragmentation. ARC also enables ZFS to outperform many other filesystems. btrfs simply becomes slower until either it runs out of space or is manually rebalanced. The manual rebalancing process kills IO performance while it runs. I am told that it is especially crippling on pre-SATA 3.1 SSDs when mounted with discard. To illustrate what I mean when I say btrfs can run out of space due to its unbound internal fragmentation, imagine a 256GB SSD formatted with btrfs that becomes full after only 25 gigabytes have been written.

                      As for having "conservative distros" use btrfs, I think people are more concerned about what the default filesystem is than they are about support for the filesystem. I am not aware of any major Linux distributions that use btrfs as their default filesystem.
                      Last edited by ryao; 01-17-2013, 05:02 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jwilliams View Post
                        SUSE does not use btrfs as the default filesystem, according to what I have read. Do you have a reference stating the SUSE is defaulting to btrfs?

                        Anyway, by conservative linux distros, I mean Debian or RHEL.
                        I never said anything about SUSE using Btrfs as default. I will reiterate what I said earlier, Oracle and SUSE are commercially supporting Btrfs as the root filesystem for their enterprise Linux variants.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ryao View Post
                          As for having "conservative distros" use btrfs, I think people are more concerned about what the default filesystem is than they are about support for the filesystem. I am not aware of any major Linux distributions that use btrfs as their default filesystem. It would not surprise me if ZFS were to become the default filesystem for a major Linux distribution before btrfs does.
                          Some people might care about defaults and others will care about whether or not it is supported or not and ZFS has roughly about zero chance of becoming a default filesystem for any major distro before Btrfs does.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RahulSundaram View Post
                            I never said anything about SUSE using Btrfs as default. I will reiterate what I said earlier, Oracle and SUSE are commercially supporting Btrfs as the root filesystem for their enterprise Linux variants.
                            What do you mean when you talk about commercial support? Microsoft commercially supports Windows, but I am fairly certain that neither of us would want to use it. If you mean that they are taking bug reports for issues, then that would put btrfs in the same category as everything else that has developer(s) handling bug reports. For instance, I am non-commercially supporting ZFS as the root filesystem for Gentoo Linux (and its variants). I suspect that I do as good a job of supporting ZFS in Gentoo as my counterparts at Oracle and SUSE support btrfs in their distributions.

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                            • #15
                              No btrfsck, no vote for btrfs as a default. Isn't that simple?

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