Bye bye Reiser4

A few days ago my root partition (formatted Reiser4) corrupted on my notebook. [ the usual IO hangups and nasty output in dmesg ]. Probably due to the usual wear and tear a notebook has to suffer or a faulty suspend cycle causing bogus IO. Something I suffered a few times before and didn’t think it would be a great deal. This time, though, fsck.reiser4 said it was all ok. That meant I was pretty screwed, for I knew it didn’t work correctly.

I lended a USB hdd, booted up to a fallback installation on a separate ext2 partition and tried to copy over everything to the USB hdd. It was quite tricky to copy over as much as I could and remembering the point where it started to crash when reading it. Luckily, I salvaged my whole /home. /var, /bin, /usr/share and a lot of other trees weren’t that lucky.

Formatted to XFS, copied everything I got back to the HDD and copied a Gentoo stage 3 tarball over it. A stage 3 tarball contains a minimal installation to which can be chrooted and then booted and from which the rest of the system can be build: the usual method to install Gentoo. I didn’t lost my world nor /etc/make.conf file. A small script later I got portage re-emerging every package I had installed on the system. Still 200 to go at the moment, but at least I’m now in a partially functioning gnome desktop, which is a lot more usable than TWM (ugly default WM of Xorg).

XFS performs quite well. It’s latency under load is a lot smaller than Reiser4’s. (It’s a pity I haven’t yet come to try the new patches in mm to help Reiser4 a bit with that problem. And also becasuse Reiser4 seems so close to inclusion, reading Andrew’s merge plans). In contrast, XFS sucks at handling a lot of small files compared to Reiser4. This is all just a feeling though. I haven’t tested anything. The most important characteristic of a FS, though, is only apparent after long use: the influence of fragmentation. Having looked around a bit, btrfs seems interesting.

On a sidenote on latency: my mom runs Ubuntu with EXT3 and even though EXT3 sucks in practically every single performance benchmark it has seem to got a superb responsiveness. Ah, 150 packages to go.

5 thoughts on “Bye bye Reiser4”

  1. Reiser3 would suit portage’s bunch of small files much better than XFS could. Except this, it supports data=journal, so it’s my FS of choice. XFS is for something like porn videos, he-he. 🙂

  2. > Compared to reiser4 (if it doesn’t corrupt)

    Sure. I’ve tried’em all. Reiserfs3 is the best one up till now. At least with its data=journal I don’t have files’ content damaged as I have had with XFS. And it still performs better, than another “data=journal”-able FS — EXT3FS.

  3. Reiserfs3 could possibly be better, I didn’t do hard tests. I used it before Reiser4. I switched to XFS because I wanted to try it for a change.

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