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Thread: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

  1. #1
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    Default Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    This advisory was updated 23 June 2013.

    A lot of users ask for assistance with the experimental BTRFS filesystem, particularly regarding broken installations and/or lost data in the /home folder.

    The BTRFS filesystem is under heavy development and is improving rapidly, so it is not recommended for novice Linux users. Here are some contemporary quotes from the official BTRFS Wiki page for Getting Started with BTRFS:


    • It's changing rapidly:
      There are typically a great many bug fixes and enhancements between one kernel release and the next.
    • It's experimental:
      Note also that btrfs is still considered experimental. While many people use it reliably, there are still problems being found.
    • Be wise, backup your data:
      You should keep and test backups of your data, and be prepared to use them

    And just to be thorough, here's an extract from the MAN page in openSUSE 12.3:
    Btrfs filesystem is currently under heavy development, and not suitable for any uses other than benchmarking and review.
    If you are going to use the BTRFS filesystem for either your home or root partitions, make sure that you take regular backups so you can write those data back if the BTRFS partition fails.

    What do I really think, personally: I think experienced Linuxers should use it to assist BTRFS development, but backup their data. I don't use it myself because I have really important data in my home partition and I'm a bit slack about backups, so I use EXT4. That probably says it all.
    Last edited by swerdna; 23-Jun-2013 at 05:25.
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  2. #2

    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    Quote Originally Posted by martin_helm View Post
    Am 13.10.2012 14:56, schrieb vazhavandan:
    > Was almost tempted to use it !! Phew !! Will it it be stable by 12.3?
    > Also can we remove it from the DVD. It is odd that experimental
    > features are added when using the stale release DVD
    >

    And how do you think will the file system improve if people are not able
    to work with it?
    It is not the default file system (this is ext4), so what? Shall Linux
    distros take the approach like Apple or Microsoft to know better than
    their users what the users need?
    Whenever someone goes and chooses something which is not default then
    this person has to know what s/he is doing.
    I always thought Linux is about choice and not about restricting its
    users in what the can do and use.

    --
    PC: oS 12.2 x86_64 | i7-2600@3.40GHz | 16GB | KDE 4.8.5 | GeForce GT 420
    ThinkPad E320: oS 12.2 x86_64 | i3@2.30GHz | 8GB | KDE 4.9.2 | HD 3000
    eCAFE 800: oS 11.4 i586 | AMD Geode LX 800@500MHz | 512MB | lamp server
    i am experimenting with btrfs now with a VM of OS 12.3 64 bit.

  3. #3
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    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    Am 09.04.2013 18:06, schrieb RichardET:
    >
    > i am experimenting with btrfs now with a VM of OS 12.3 64 bit.
    >

    +1

    I think I will give it a try on real hardware - the ThinkPad which I use
    every day to get a bit experience how it works. I abuse that machine
    anyway a little bit for looking at a bit more bleeding edge software
    like KDE 4.10.2 and kernel 3.8.6.
    I tried longer ago (some 12.1 milestone I think) on real hardware, but
    back then I was not too convinced, it was maybe too early, I was easily
    able to trash it completely with repeated brute force power off.

    --
    PC: oS 12.3 x86_64 | i7-2600@3.40GHz | 16GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GTX 650 Ti
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    HannsBook: oS 12.3 x86_64 | SU4100@1.3GHz | 2GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GMA4500

  4. #4
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    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    On 04/09/2013 12:42 PM, Martin Helm wrote:
    > Am 09.04.2013 18:06, schrieb RichardET:
    >>
    >> i am experimenting with btrfs now with a VM of OS 12.3 64 bit.
    >>

    > +1
    >
    > I think I will give it a try on real hardware - the ThinkPad which I use
    > every day to get a bit experience how it works. I abuse that machine
    > anyway a little bit for looking at a bit more bleeding edge software
    > like KDE 4.10.2 and kernel 3.8.6.
    > I tried longer ago (some 12.1 milestone I think) on real hardware, but
    > back then I was not too convinced, it was maybe too early, I was easily
    > able to trash it completely with repeated brute force power off.


    To me, the state of btrfs was shown when the update from kernel 3.9-rc3 to
    3.9-rc4 contained roughly 20 btrfs patches. According to Linus's rules, only bug
    fixes are allowed past -rc1 of any kernel version. Any file system having that
    many bugs at the -rc3 stage will not be trusted with my data until it has been
    improved *a lot*.



  5. #5
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    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    Am 09.04.2013 21:26, schrieb Larry Finger:
    > To me, the state of btrfs was shown when the update from kernel 3.9-rc3
    > to 3.9-rc4 contained roughly 20 btrfs patches. According to Linus's
    > rules, only bug fixes are allowed past -rc1 of any kernel version. Any
    > file system having that many bugs at the -rc3 stage will not be trusted
    > with my data until it has been improved *a lot*.


    I intentionally risk breakage here even with a notebook I use every day,
    it just means doing more backups during that time.
    But of course this is my private one, I would not risk the same on the
    notebook which I use for my job.
    Given your input I think I switch to kernel:head at the same time during
    the test period.

    --
    PC: oS 12.3 x86_64 | i7-2600@3.40GHz | 16GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GTX 650 Ti
    ThinkPad E320: oS 12.3 x86_64 | i3@2.30GHz | 8GB | KDE 4.10.2 | HD 3000
    HannsBook: oS 12.3 x86_64 | SU4100@1.3GHz | 2GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GMA4500

  6. #6
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    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    A FWIW post about BTRFS...

    Although I haven't used yet, I've been closely listening to its progress at every conference I've been to for the past 3 yrs.

    First, BTRFS has a number of excellent features, perhaps most noteworthy are automatic self-fixing (so fix tools like fsck should become obsolete/unnecessary) and shapshots. The main alternative to BTRFS with similar features is ZFS and loadable kernel modules providing ZFS support is very recently available in current 3.7.x. I tried ZFS in 3.8.2 (Factory) but the ZFS kernel modules don't yet exist.

    Jan 2013 at SCALE (Los Angeles) the BTRFS people were saying that it's now being used in production at one company, which is an important first step. Until one does it, others will be hesitant to follow. And, now is a reasonable time to experiment, 3 years should be plenty of time to get the major bugs out, hopefully anything left should be new features and fine tuning basic functionality.

    In any case, I would question running BTRFS for any but data partitions, I don't know that there is sufficient reason to place under an OS.
    And, of course with anything bright, new and shiney... BACK UP. And maintain multiple BACK UPs which WORK.

    IMO,
    TSU

  7. #7

    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    I've just read this thread with great surprise! I use SLED 11 SP2 and have been using BTRFS for about a year or so, and it has been perfect. What hooked me was Novell's statement that they were including it in SLE and that is was supported. If they have to support it they wouldn't want to deal with headaches, so it must be OK I thought and haven't looked back. The other factor is that BTRFS support SSD drives properly, which I use also for root/

    Snapshots run in the background a bit like shadow copies on Windows, and I feel a lot more reckless about testing software or patches, because if I screw my system which I have done about 3 times in 12 months, I just roll back. I used to be paranoid about putting certain patches or software on my PC , but not so much anymore.

    Command line stuff works:
    snapper list
    snapper delete

    Someone also mentioned performance of BTRFS was slow, well it ain't here, on SSD it's super, and this writer agrees - where BTRFS smashes the other FS on test: Glen Pitt-Pladdy :: Blog - Filesystems for USB drive Backup

    Maybe it's just the OpenSuse implementation that has hassles, unlike SLE which is not so bleeding edge but ROCK stable, which is why I don't mind paying a bit for it.

    - Gordon

  8. #8

    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    I'm also testing BTRS on my laptop with it's good SSD support but for my workstation I'm using Ext4 but that depends whether I encounter any problems in the next months as I think with SLES12 I will use it as my primary FS. Therefore it will get decent testing form me until the release of SLES12.

  9. #9
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    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    On Sat, 25 May 2013 15:26:02 +0000, gordon mzano wrote:

    > Maybe it's just the OpenSuse implementation that has hassles, unlike SLE
    > which is not so bleeding edge but ROCK stable, which is why I don't mind
    > paying a bit for it.


    No, it's that it's new and that at least until fairly recently, there
    were no recovery tools if it got messed up.

    It sounds like you're running fairly stable and getting clean shutdowns.
    Hope you don't have a shutdown that has problems, because the recovery
    tools are still pretty new IIRC.

    But it's progressing, and conceptually, it looks like a good progression
    for filesystems in Linux.

    Jim
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    Jim Henderson
    openSUSE Forums Administrator
    Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

  10. #10
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    Default re: Advisory June 2013: New Users beware of using the BTRFS filesystem

    I agree with gordon_mzano, for me Btrfs has been stable for me now since February 24.
    Speed & stability are fine, even re-installed with Ext4 (by mistake) once.
    OpenSuSE Leap 42.3 / KDE 5.8 | Intel i7 3770 | 16GBRam | 120 + 80GB SSD's | Benq 27" | DVD | PhilipsToUcam 740 | HPpsc2355p | Logitech KB & mouse | 320 +160 + 80 + 80 GB USB HDD's | Fritz!Box Fon WLAN 7360 | (V)DSL 12 MB/s | SuSE since 2001

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