Next Generation of Filesystems in Linux

Recently an article in Linux Format Magazine caught my attention about linux filesystems. Let's start it this way...Windows has NTFS and MAC OS X has HFS but in Linux, we have choices of filesystems such as ext3, ext2, JFS, ReiserFS, OCFS, GFS and Lustre. Although we have lists of filesystems, ext3 or third extended filesystem is commonly used by Linux operating systems. ext3 is so widespread, but there is a new filesystem introduced recently (Oct 2008) which is ext4, successor of ext3.

ext4 is bound to be popular as it is forwards and backwards compatible with ext3 that means, anyone can switch from ext3 to ext4 and rollback to ext3 without formatting hard drive. Moreover ext4 also allocates more space to a file than it actually requires. So further write, won't run out of space and become fragmented. This filesystem also introduces nanosecond for timestamp which means allocate a bit more space to store extra date to support files date beyond certain 'Y2K' like period. As a add on, ext4 also automatically marks unused sections that being irrelevant to fsck which means a complete filsystem check only looks at the bits that contain data.This will make the fsck much quicker.

Although ext4 is just released few months ago, this will be only a bridge between ext3 and a new Generation filesytem..Is it ext5 ???No..It is called btrfs (pronunced 'butter fs') which is currently under heavy development. Its been designed as a response to Sun's ZFS filesystems and includes snapshots, disk mirroring, data stripping, copy-on-write, dynamic inode allocation and so on...For further info about btrfs, just go on to http://btrfs.wiki.kernel.org/

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