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I will be partitioning a vacant secondary 1TB drive for a few *Nix'es. Assume for this question that initially I will install 2 of Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSolaris or FreeBSD (others ...
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  1. #1
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    Ext2 vs Ext3 vs ReiserFS


    I will be partitioning a vacant secondary 1TB drive for a few *Nix'es. Assume for this question that initially I will install 2 of Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSolaris or FreeBSD (others to be added later after i have been successful with these 2 -- or not!).

    I will be asked by Acronis Disk Director Suite what format to make the partition. amongst the possibilities are Ext2, Ext3 and ReiserFS.

    Which of these 3 should i choose and why? Am i making sense if i reworded the question to: what are the advantages and disadvantages of each; or, what are the uses of each?

  2. #2
    oz
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    I continue to stick with ext3 because it's been well proven as a good option over the years, and it always works well enough for my needs.
    oz

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    Personally I have used reiser for many years now and it has never failed on me. I think this is just about flavour, both ext3 and reiser perform well on average use. The differences unveil on heavy fs usage, for example handling very large files or a huge count of (small) files. ext2 is kinda out of count since it doesn't have journaling.

    I would also like to remind you that you should be able to reformat the partitions from the installer when installing each OS.

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    Foillowup and Embellished Question

    what is journaling, and how is it used? Acronis' "create partition wizard" mentions the term.

    Acronis' wizard also has a NO FORMATTING option when creating the partition -- no ext3, no reiserFS -- stating that the Linux OS that will occupy this position will have its own formatting machinery. the obvious question here is under what circumstances should i choose this "NO FORMATTING" option.

  5. #5
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by nweissma View Post
    what is journaling, and how is it used? Acronis' "create partition wizard" mentions the term.
    IBM explains journaling filesystems pretty well here:

    Anatomy of Linux journaling file systems

    Regarding formatting, you can allow Acronis to format your partitions if you wish, or let the installer do it when you go to install Linux. There are times that you wouldn't want to format a partition during an installation, such as a partition that already contains data that would be lost if it were formatted.
    oz

  6. #6
    Linux Guru Lakshmipathi's Avatar
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    From this new year,I'm moved from ext3 to ext4...no issues so far.
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    Reiser and ext3/ext4 are all journaling file systems. The ext2 file system is ext3 without journaling. If you are using the drive for multimedia files (audio/video read-mostly) then ext2 is your best option since the journaling of ext3 will cause performance issues when writing those big media files. If you are doing a lot of read/write/updates then ext3, ext4, or reiser are your better options because the journaling will help protect from data loss if the system crashes while writing data before it gets flushed from write-ahead cache to physical disc.

    I've used Reiser file systems with success in the past. It is better performing in general than ext2/ext3. The ext4 file system is supposed to approach Reiser in the performance dept. However, it is very new and there are a number of design discussions going on as to how safe it really is since it changes the order of writing the file system metadata and actual file data to the disc from ext3, which can be problematic under some conditions. So, if safety and performance of handling small to medium size files is critical, then I recommend Reiser4. If compatibility with the largest number of new and old Linux systems is important (on a portable external drive, for example), or you are going to use it primarily for streaming media, then I recommend ext2. For general system use, ext3 is a good choice. I use ext2 and ext3 primarily myself, but as I said, I have also used Reiser (not version 4) in the past and had no problems with it, though I have to say I use my current systems much more intensively than the ones I had reiser on.
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