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I haven't tried JFS or Reiser4. But I've read in some magizines that Reiser4 is blazing fast, with the draw back of using alot of resources. When it becomes stable and is supported natively by the kernel, I'm going to switch to it.
Well, I don't know if it has any disadvantages, but its not always the "best" in every situation. XFS was built to handle a large amount of large files. It works very well with pictures, mp3s, etc. For example, if you open your music folder in Windows and every folder has a icon in thumbnail mode, it will take your computer forever to load all of those pictures, then after you load them it will lag as you scroll through. Using XFS will make that same computer under Linux act like a Mac would with a crap load of pics. Quick load with smooth scrolling. I have heard that sometimes XFS can have trouble with small files, like word documents, though I've never experienced it personally. XFS also dosen't appreciate power interuptions. If you plan on the power going out alot don't use it.
They all are targetted for different things, so as with distrobutions, there is no "best" and anyone saying otherwise is simply being misleading.
ext3 and ReiserFS are both desktop filesystems so you could probably fairly compare them. Out of the box, ReiserFS is faster I believe but ext3 is extremely configurable using tune2fs and can be made as quick as Reiser without too much difficulty at all. I've also seen a large number of threads around here of Reiser3 crapping itself, never seen a problem with an ext3 filesystem that wasn't the fault of the user so that's what I use.
XFS and JFS are designed as server filesystems, XFS is quick fast but it caches in memory very aggressively so if you want to use it to it's potential, make sure your machine has a ton of RAM you can chuck at it adn as Penguin said, a hard shutdown will lose some data. I don't know the first thing about JFS so best not to comment.
Check Wikipedia and Google, Wikipedia has some great filesystem comparisons that will tell you the market the different systems are aimed at and you can find comparisons all over Google that vary wildly in their findings, as most do.
I voted ext3 for its track record. That's what I use for my "normal" filesystems. No real experience with ReiserFS yet (just playing around, mostly). But I use XFS for my MythTV recordings. XFS is good for filesystems with a smaller quantity of very large files (my MythTV recordings filesystem runs around 75 qty 2.5Gb files and maybe another 75 small sized files).
Never had any issues with any filesystem I've used. Day to day use, they all seem pretty much the same. Speed may be different, but I don't measure that personally. Only differences I run into are when I resize a filesystem (I use LVM2). Different filesystem types require different resizing specifics (ext3 must be unmounted first, XFS must remain mounted, etc.)
I've worked much on ext3, ext2, reiserfs, xfs..
ext3 is very stable but isn't very good with huge amount of small files.. and is slower than reiserfs
reiserfs is moderatly stable, moderatly fast, and can handle large amount of small files .. but much slower than xfs
xfs is really fast, inrecidibly fast really .. but many ppl say it can lose much data on power loss .. I didn't experience that before..
ext2 is very great to be used for the boot loader .. as it's simpler than all the other filesystem -ext3,reiserfs, xfs- it allows grub to start noticiply very fast if compared to other filesystems mount under /boot ... it makes the time for loading stage 2 of grub very few ...
that's what I've experienced
oh well, i migrated to ext2 a few years back and migrated to ext3 with a new pc...
so comparing xfs and reiser, well not able to, but did learn the hard way that the older drives,
pre 20 gb dont like ext3...ext3 has been a bit more reliable compared to ext2 and has better recovery...
anyway thats my two bobs worth...
ive been using reiserfs for a long time now, and have never experienced data loss through several power outages and "illegal" shutdowns. I also tend to use ext2 for my boot partition. I like cs-cam's post, and tend to agree that its difficult to compare filesystems when each are created for unique purposes.
2-I had some experience with a Linux Samba TB file server and XFS indexing and start up took ages. (It literally forgot everything and every couple of reboot "required" a full fsck which took several hours to complete. Now the system in question was specially built and as several request never got us the source code from the manufacturer (Samba and XFS--yeash we know they violate the GPL) so we are unable to confirm if this point is a generic XFS trait or a stupid rewrite on the part of our supplier.