JFS vs EXT3 vs XFS vs ReiserFS

James Gray james.gray at dot.com.au
Tue Apr 29 22:05:20 UTC 2008

Paul S wrote:
> Anyone know any reason to avoid JFS or use any other?

Unless the EXT3 commit algorithm has had some work done on it, EXT3 is a 
poor choice for laptops or any other power consumption sensitive device. 
  Historically (and maybe still) EXT3 used fixed commit interval, 
regardless of what was or wasn't happening.  This meant that your hard 
drive was rarely (if ever) going to spin down if not being used; it was 
woken up every couple of seconds to do meaningless commits.

Secondly, EXT3 is a bad choice for flash media as it uses a file-based 
journal.  The journal is in one location on the disk and as a result 
will quickly fry that area on flash media.  On the same lines, EXT2/3 
involve a LOT of I/O to the superblock, which is a fixed area on the 
disk - again, this will not only fry your flash it will hose your super 
block (eventually) which will require manual intervention to switch to a 
backup superblock.

Personally I've used XFS for a while now and found it a good balance of 
performance and reliability for desktop use.  A few colleagues use JFS 
and are similarly happy.  We use ReiserFS on our mail servers' 
/var/spool partition, as it handles the thousands of tiny queue files 
elegantly and is faster than any of the other (Linux based) journalling 
file systems we've used.  Th rest of the system usually uses EXT3 - it's 
dopey and a hack (as far as journalling FS go) but it's easy and 
supported by pretty much any Linux distro.

We still use EXT2 for our "/boot" partitions because we're old crusty 
bastards who refuse to let go of old (bad) habits ;)  ....and it's been 
the most flexible way to accomplish low-level boot manipulation we've 
found - EXT2 is a simple file system and given how infrequently it is 
written to, there's absolutely no reason to waste space and CPU cycles 
on a journal.



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