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hplc 03-07-2012 06:39 AM

the major difference between ext4 and reiserFS
I cant help but wondering why one gets to choose between ext2,ext3,ext4 and reiserFS. The choice quickly boils down to ext4 or reiserFS, but then what?, both are journaling and seems to offer same experience to the home user, does it take more unlikely home soultions, JBOD / RAID to experience a difference?

snowpine 03-07-2012 08:57 AM

ext4 is an actively-developed filesystem used/recommended by every major distro.

reiserfs development ended in 2008 when this happened:

Your choice. :)

Satyaveer Arya 03-07-2012 09:48 AM


The most recent in the ext filesystem line, ext4 includes many major improvements over ext3 like larger filesystem support, faster checking, nanosecond timestamps, and verification of the journal through checksums. It’s backward and forward compatible with versions 2 and 3, so you can mount a ext2 or ext3 filesystem as ext4, and the other way around. You may however lose some of the benefits of the newer versions when mounting as the older. Many of the modern Linux distributions now offer ext4 during the install, and some are using it as the default.


Before ext3, ReiserFS was the only journaling filesystem for Linux. It’s also notable for allowing live resizing of the filesystem. In some cases where many small files are involved, Reiserfs can outperform ext3 by a considerable margin. Reiser3 has problems, however when it comes to handling things like multicore PCs, as the design only allows for some operations to run one at a time.

1. Best performance and scalability when number of files is great and/or files are small
2. Journaled
3. POSIX extended access controls

Reiser FS was designed to remove the scalability and performance limitations that exist in EXT2 and EXT3 file systems. It scales and performs extremely well on Linux, outscaling EXT3 with htrees. In addition, Reiser was designed to very efficiently use disk space. As a result, it is the best file system on Linux where there are a great number of small files in the file system. As collaboration (email) and many web serving applications have lots of small files, Reiser is best suited for these types of workloads.

snowpine 03-07-2012 09:58 AM

^--- outdated info; SUSE switched from reiserfs in 2006. :)

Satyaveer Arya 03-07-2012 10:05 AM

Ohh yeah you're right...

DavidMcCann 03-07-2012 10:39 AM

Reiser may be a dying option. The man who created it is in jail for murder and the last time I heard there were just three others working on it!

salasi 03-07-2012 11:51 AM


Originally Posted by snowpine (Post 4620872)
reiserfs development ended in 2008 when this happened:

The inference that Hans Reiser's detention may have been involved in the termination of ReiserFS's development would be incorrect. The further development of the traditional ReiserFS had already been discontinued in favour of Reiser4, and a better question might be 'and what happened to Reiser4, since that was reputed to have many improvements over the earlier version?'.

Well, Hans Reiser was a legendarily disputatious person, spiky and difficult to get on with (I won't claim that he is the only one in that category, but he was at the outer edge) and the kernel devs really weren't up for making many concessions to him and he wasn't up for making concessions to the areas in which kernel's approach to filesystem operations were at variance what he would regard as the default.

Once Reiser4 reached the point at which the Reiser team thought that it was workable, any attempts to get them to support the older version were met with a 'use Reiser4' response, irrespective of whether the problem was some massive one that really needed work, or not. And, obviously, irrespective of whether 'use Reiser4' was a response that had any chance of being workable.

At the time, I remember testing Reiser4 ('hacked' kernel to use, although I didn't do any of the hacking) and even then (pre-ext4) I was impressed with the performance; in general 'how does it feel' testing, it seemed faster than ReiserFS, which, in turn (over a very limited set of general purpose testing, which may have played to its strong suit of good small file performance) seemed faster than ext3. Broadly, it seemed pretty much ready to go, but the ongoing lack of mutual understanding between the Reiser team and the Kernel team did make progress difficult.

Incidentally, my experience with ReiserFS suggests that it is a lot easier to corrupt as a result of unclean shutdowns than ext3/ext4, although it may an issue connected with how exactly the partitions are set up, and the journalling mode. These days, ext4 is a safer option, even though the Reiser4 vs ext4 comparison would have been interesting to see, had they been able to go head to head, back in the day, but the inference that the Reiser team (as opposed to anyone who worked on Reiser at one of the distros, for example) would be unresponsive to user woes, if that action didn't fit with their then priorities, would always be a concern.

hplc 03-08-2012 04:47 AM

Thanks for all the answers, i went for Reiser since my idea was that since i use a caching proxy perhaps i will find it to handle many small fragments from the proxy in a quicker pace, i am still somewhat confused, it seems ext4 is a safer way to go, but does it handle requests from a caching proxy as fast as Reiser?.

I might be a little on the slow side, but thats how understood my answers:

Ext4 = safer and very much an active maintained fs

Reiser = faster in reading / writing small fragments / files but as extinct as the dinosaurs

Or have ext4 surpassed Reiser in every aspect these days?, (sorry if im being on the slow side here)

salasi 03-08-2012 08:43 AM

Well, you could read some results here and make your own mind up. On the other hand, you could read that very same article and get confused. They do several tests, none of which is exactly like your usage scenario, and get wildly different results depending on which scenario is underway. Some of the scenarios have some vague similarities; some have none. You may or may not feels that this gets you closer to coming to a conclusion.

Yes, a caching proxy is likely to be dealing with many small files, and that does play to Reiser's strong suit (the handling of small files), but whether it really gives Reiser an actual advantage is another question. If I had to guess, my guess would be that the cache perf doesn't change appreciably from one to the other and that if speed is the only criterion it doesn't make a noticeable difference. But that's just a guess.

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