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I've read in several places that ext3 is better than ext2, something about journaling. I'm not interested in any other filesystems, I just want to know if the benefits are enough to warrant a filesystem conversion. Could somebody sum up what "Journaling" is in a few sentences?
very basically, a journal keeps track of the changes that are made, before they are made. this means that if something causes a crash, next boot there is still a record of what was being done when the system went done. this hugely reduces the possibility of having damaged files or ither inconsistencies.
yes, very much worth it for large partitions. juts use tune2fs -j /dev/hda1 to convert from ext2 to ext3. it's totally safe, and you can still mount it as ext2 if you want, it just bagsies some drive space for the journal, which is simply ignored if you use ext2 still.
sorry to revive an old thread, and possibly hijacking one, but is it safe to do "on the fly"?
ie: i have an X server running, can I do this through a terminal window, or would I want to do it in runlevel 1?
You can do it "on the fly", so to speak. I did it at a normal console. (Not from X, but I don't see how it would matter.) Make sure you change your filesystem type in your "/etc/fstab" file. Just change the ext2 to ext3.
I could very-well be wrong, but I think its safe to do it while X is running, just use a root console.