Oh no, btrfs

filesystems, btrfs, zfs, distro

Remember 3 days ago? I’ve been looking into btrfs, and now that I understand subvolumes and snapshots, cp --reflink=always is actually enough for my purposes! It’s performant enough for me, and seems to work! btrfs certainly will make life easier, any Linux distro will work with those partitions out of the box, unlike ZFS, which is pretty much an Ubuntu affair.

So, what’s the status of btrfs? I discovered kernelnewbies, which has a filesystem summary for every kernel release. Things are certainly happening for btrfs, so, good! I also found somebody’s personal btrfs status, and, ouch, some painful observations and experiences there! In particular the one from the btrfs-dev who in 2018 wrote to basically not use any of btrfs' good stuff too much. Yeah, then why even bother?

Personally I havn’t had any problems with btrfs. I use it on single disks, so the only fancy feature I use are checksums and snapshots (actually reflinks!). All the bad experiences seem to be with more complex setups, so maybe this means I’m good. Who’s to tell though? I can’t find much in the way of user experiences; those obsessed with storage tend to be running more than single disk setups. The openSuse and Fedora forums (both now use btrfs for default installations) don’t turn up much in the way of btrfs bugs or data loss.

The tally of Ubuntu versus Fedora is as follows: Pro: ZFS, con: stale packages (largely compensable with flatpak), would need to upgrade every 6 months (vs. 12 with Fedora). Is ZFS worth this? TBD…