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#1 2021-01-21 17:23:25

ANTONI
Member
Registered: 2020-04-10
Posts: 14

Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

I've just learned about btrfs. It is to be ext4 successor when it'll be finished. Yes?

Is it actually better than ext4? What is the best fs for root partition in normal PC?
What are its advantages over ext4? What are its disadvantages?
Is it safe to use it for now as it's not yet finished? Can I use it without worrying about my data being corrupted?
Is it safe to use it on LUKS encrypted volume?

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#2 2021-01-21 17:26:38

seth
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Registered: 2012-09-03
Posts: 20,420

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#3 2021-01-21 17:34:29

Trilby
Inspector Parrot
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 25,232

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

ANTONI wrote:

It is to be ext4 successor

Successor?  No, it's a completely different filesystem.

ANTONI wrote:

Is it actually better than ext4?

What do you mean by better?  It has several features that ext4 lacks.  And ext4 has advantages that btrfs lacks.  "Better" is meaningless as a general characteristic.  Better for what, or better at what?

ANTONI wrote:

What is the best fs for root partition in normal PC?

See the above notes on "better", they all apply to "best" as well.  Here at least you are getting a little more specific with it being for a root partition for a "normal PC", though I have no idea what you consider "normal".

ANTONI wrote:

What are its advantages over ext4? What are its disadvantages?

Now these are good questions.  However, I don't really think they are good forum questions as you can read articles like the one linked above and get this information.

ANTONI wrote:

Is it safe to use it for now as it's not yet finished? Can I use it without worrying about my data being corrupted?

Safe (just like "better" and "best") doesn't really mean much.  Yes, Btrfs is not as well established as ext(4), and so there may be unknown risks.  I also don't think one can use any filesystem without worrying about data being corrupted.  If you don't have backups (note the 's' for plural) you don't have data.

For the record, I use ext4 on all my systems.  But I am generally technologically conservative and / or a slow-adopter of changes.  I stick with the status quo until there is a very good reason to change.  My systems have also been up and running for years.  In the time since I chose ext4 for these systems, btrfs seems to have come a long way, so the choice may be harder today.  Though personally I'd still go with ext4 primarily because despite recognizing some potential benefits of btrfs, I really don't see them as important for how I use my computers.  So it's a toss up - and based largely on the above mentioned conservative nature, if it's a toss-up, I'll stick with what I know.

Last edited by Trilby (2021-01-21 17:50:57)


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#4 2021-01-21 17:44:02

drcouzelis
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 2009-11-09
Posts: 4,086
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Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

Here is a general response...

Btrfs has a lot of features. Disk management, volume management, snapshots... You will need to read a lot and learn about them.

Ext4 is simpler. It is the evolution of the traditional Ext3 and Ext2 Linux filesystems.

Both filesystems can work well on your computer. But Btrfs will require you to learn more. If you are willing to learn more and you want to use the features of Btrfs, then you can use Btrfs. smile

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#5 2021-01-21 17:57:54

ugjka
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From: Latvia
Registered: 2014-04-01
Posts: 1,558
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Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

Don't use Btrfs unless you need some of its unique features


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#6 2021-01-21 18:06:13

Head_on_a_Stick
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From: London
Registered: 2014-02-20
Posts: 5,838
Website

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

Snapshots are really useful for a rolling release — use snap-pac & grub-btrfs to render your system immune to upgrade SNAFUs.

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#7 2021-01-21 18:15:29

tucuxi
Member
From: Switzerland
Registered: 2020-03-08
Posts: 127

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

For my use case as a desktop user, I find ext4 sufficient. On the other hand, I keep my home directory in a homed/btrfs loopback file. So, it depends. smile

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#8 2021-01-22 00:43:33

ratcheer
Member
Registered: 2011-10-09
Posts: 815

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

For myself, I prefer btrfs because of its volume management, snapshots, and incremental send/receive.

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#9 2021-01-22 10:15:43

ANTONI
Member
Registered: 2020-04-10
Posts: 14

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

Trilby wrote:
ANTONI wrote:

It is to be ext4 successor

Successor?  No, it's a completely different filesystem.

OK. Maybe btrfs is not derived from ext4, but more and more distributions are migrating to it from ext4. For example, Fedora did it recently. I meant: Is btrfs the future "standard" for linux? Just lik ext4 now?

Trilby wrote:
ANTONI wrote:

Is it actually better than ext4?

What do you mean by better?  It has several features that ext4 lacks.  And ext4 has advantages that btrfs lacks.  "Better" is meaningless as a general characteristic.  Better for what, or better at what?

Does it perform better? Or maybe all these *cool* features are slowing it down.

Trilby wrote:
ANTONI wrote:

What is the best fs for root partition in normal PC?

See the above notes on "better", they all apply to "best" as well.  Here at least you are getting a little more specific with it being for a root partition for a "normal PC", though I have no idea what you consider "normal".

If Arch Linux had an installer, what filesystem would it set? And please don't reply with "That's why Arch Linux does not have an installer, you have to choose it yourself". Of course I don't need any btrfs features since I'm using ext4 now and I'm alive somehow, still, I think some btrfs features could make my life easier, so if it's not slower or heavier or bugged then I take it.

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#10 2021-01-22 11:30:02

Awebb
Member
Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 5,823

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

ANTONI wrote:

If Arch Linux had an installer, what filesystem would it set? And please don't reply with "That's why Arch Linux does not have an installer, you have to choose it yourself".

Arch Linux used to have an installer. The installer gave you quite a number of choices between file systems and layouts. There is no default and there never was.

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#11 2021-01-22 13:10:58

seth
Member
Registered: 2012-09-03
Posts: 20,420

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

Does it perform better?

Better at what and on what hardware and configuration?
Raid? Homogenous or heterognous? HDD or SSD? Cache size? Expected access pattern random or sequential?
What are you willing to sacrifice for "better"?
You can increase the ext4 throughput by turning off the journal. Is that better? Or just dumber?

As Trilby already alluded to: "Better" is a relative measure - "better than what at what?"
Any aggregation is highly subjective and therefore meaningless to you.

I linked an oversight on FS in my first responds. Did you bother to click that and from there the links to the individual filesystems?
Did you read any of them? Did you find the subsequent links to various benchmarks?

If you now want to say something stupid like "that's too much text", yeah… guess what.
It's a complex topic, there's no cookie cutter solution and likewise no answer to a question like "which filesystem is better".
You can answer the question: which FS is better for me/my usecase, but we can't because we don't know your preferences/demands.

Alternatively: you have experience w/ ext4, so you could just use btrfs for a while and see how you like it.
You're not somehow married to your filesystem.

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#12 2021-01-22 16:44:37

speedyx
Member
From: Italy
Registered: 2008-09-05
Posts: 84

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

IMO BTRFS could be too much.
I tried it in 2013-2014 but with regrets for the bugs present at that time.

After Fedora's recent move, I switched to BTRFS on my production laptop, where I often backup the /home and easily reinstall Arch+GNOME.

It is performing well, especially after the last weeks' kernel updates. I perceive no difference at all from ext4.

Why I moved:
- Learning, I have read a lot of documentation and articles. I studied Fedora and OpenSUSE default configurations;
- Snapshots and sending/receive features;
- Easily compressed;
- I plan to realize an Archlinux home server for file sharing (photos, videos, web pages) with my family.

I miss integrated encryption that I configured using dm_crypt.

If you don't have time to study and test, I suggest you go with ext4!

Last edited by speedyx (2021-01-22 20:41:01)


Twitter: @speedytux The Freedom Technologies Are Available... And Work!
I love archlinux: the last STABLE kernel release + the last STABLE gnome release + the last STABLE apps releases. The upstream developers decide what is STABLE.
Philipe Müller, Manjaro: "Always remember how you started with Linux and what your beginner questions were!"

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#13 2021-03-05 23:47:22

Comrade_Stalin
Member
From: Moscow, USSR.
Registered: 2021-03-05
Posts: 8
Website

Re: Is btrfs better than ext4 and is it good to use it with Arch Linux?

I have had a great time with BTRFS on Arch, using Timeshift frees me from the worries of borking my whole system experimenting. I do think btrfs is "better" than ext4, at least for the target audience of Arch Linux.


☭ Long live the immortal science of Marxism- Leninism! ☭

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