Religion Reiserfs vs ext3


Statements such as perl is better than PHP spark off bloody religious wars among developers. In the admin world it's questions such as which distro is better or which file system is better that lead to divisions.

As with programming languages, when it comes to file systems it is also a matter of chosing the right horse for the course or using the right club. The truth is for very small partitions ext2 is probably a lot better than either ext3 or reiser because it does not take up any space for the journal.

When it comes to space utilization reiser is definitely better, the root partition of my fedora core 3 installation took up 6.0 GB when on an ext3 filesystem, it dropped to 5.5GB when it was moved to a reiser filesystem. That's a 10% difference.

A couple of days ago I had a corrupt partition table on my hands but I still managed to recover everything on my ext3 partition with out any loss what so ever.

Once upon a time I had a java desktop installation, java desktop as you know is based on Suse. It wasn't been used and needing space I removed it sometime ago and all the partitions were deleted. After the tables were corrupted, I made a new primary partion and instead of running mkreiserfs I accidentally typed fsck.reiserfs. Lo and behold a long forgotten installation of java desktop sprang up on me like a pheonix risen from the ashes.

This reliability is nothing short of astonishing, that's perhaps why lots of mail server admins prefer reiser. Large installations of qmail for example is IO intensive but it can run on a 100MHz CPU. In such cases, though reliability is essential, the extra cost of maintening the journal is too high. The solution then is to place the journal on a different device, which you can even do without formatting.

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