Which Linux File System

Posted on 2005-05-16
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I am about to install Suse Linux 9.3 on my IBM Thinkpad T43 laptop. However I can't make up my mind which file system to choose.

Mostly I will use the system for C and Java development, as well as a media machine which I intend to use for video playback.

My primary intrest lies with ReiserFS or Ext3.

If you could help me with the pros and cons of both I would be very greatful, or if you feel another file system is more suited to the task.

Thanks in advanced.
Question by:semIT
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    I think that for desktop machine differences between this filesystems are irrevelant. Simply choose this one, which is better supported (or created by default) on Suse.

    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    I would suggest using ReiserFS file system as it is very stable if you look into the ReiserFS in detail compared to
    ext3. When saving files with ReiserFS you will find that you save more space than if you used ext3 this is because
    ReiserFS squeezes files into the inode unlike ext3 which just places them onto a nodes which takes up more space.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Robson is right.  Whichever is in the default SuSE kernel is the best bet - otherwise you would forever be mucking w/ initrd stuff.

    (It wont bite you until the day you decide to be 'smart' and create a custom kernel, but that day you will come close to slitting your wrists until you finally remember).

    I *know* ext3 is included in the Kernel and can be used for root.  I *think* ReiserFS is modularized and so requires initrd.  (see

    Me?  I'd go with ext3.


    Author Comment

    accroding to the SUSE Administration Guide these file systems are included, so I would think that they could just be installed at install time, and wouldn't requiere any further mucking about, or would they?
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    I'd go with ReiserFS cause of its speed and reliability, besides, if you're going to use the laptop for development porpuses (like me...)believe me,  you won't regret to have shosen ReiserFS.

    Author Comment

    So you reacon that ReiserFS would be a good choise, and there shouldn't be any setup problems.
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    Nope, exactly the opposite.

    Ext3 will be built into the kernel and so any updates, especially if you want to (or need to because of specific hardware) roll you own is very simple.

    Included != built into the kernel.

    Most less common functionality is built as modules to keep memory usage down for users.  All of which works great, UNLESS you need the module to boot.  Then it's gyration time (initrd).

    Unless things have changed in 9.3, ReiserFS is not built into the SuSE kernel, it's a module.  So every time you build that customer kernel, you also MUST remember to build the initrd.  It's easy, just one extra step that's easy to forget on something you may do only once every 6 months.

    The magic question to ask is "How do I boot from a ReiserFS partition".  If they say ANYTHING other 'just partition your hd', don't go for it.

    Now you COULD us ext3 for /boot and / and put everything else (esp. /home) into a separate partition and use that for Reiser - once the kernel boots, the module issue goes away...  but I doubt you will see much difference when booting.

    Please do remember a journaled FS is not more robust, except during the recovery phase.  It's still just as easy to corrupt the file system.  fsck just runs a lot quicker after you muck things up.


    Author Comment

    Thanks I will go for Ext3 then, sounds like a sound solution for me, without having to worry to much.

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