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As strange as it may sound, I have noticed a louder hard disk operation during read/write with EXT3 (using Slackware 10 on IBM-DJNA-351520, 15GB 5400 rpm IDE). Since that "incident" I am using ReiserFS.
i was a big fan of ext3(on slackware) for few years before decidinig to change to reiserfs. Since my job tasks were to deploy a few Squid proxy servers in multiple sites, i had a very good chance to see how the proxy performed. I think the best part is at processing smaller files. Occasionally, i need to clear 12GB of Squid's cache(although it is not neccessary) and the speed between ext3 and reiserfs varied alot. Of course, reiserfs is faster. Unfortunately, im not working in that company anymore so i couldnt show the benchmarking here. :P
Thanks for the info, I decided to go with ReiserFS with my Slackware 10.2 installation. The first thing that I noticed is that the filesystem was created fast!! It took, I would guess a tenth of the time ext3 took. If the rest of its feature work this well, I think I will be pleasently surprised.
A little late to the discussion but what the hell...
I prefer ext3 for a couple of reasons:
1) The performance difference for the average task is negligible - very rarely am I ever waiting for I/O to finish on either filesystem. For "serious" servers, etc. this may be a concern. For my Linux desktop (my primary work/leisure machine) it really isn't at all. My drives are ATA33/66 and so I'd notice more than other people any huge speed differences that would affect my daily workload. Although things like filesystem creation etc. are faster in Reiser, general use sees little to no difference. Reiser is, however, much better at holding lots of tiny files (i.e. massive web caches and the like).
2) Ext3 can be read as Ext2. This was the killer for me - some of the oldest Linux bootdisks can still read my data straight from the ext3 disk without any sort of faffing about. I don't need special utils just to read my data, just an ordinary (even out-of-date) boot disk will recover my data. Stuff like Norton Ghost and similar systems support ext2/3 directly and are able to actually read the data, not just copy every bit from the harddrive like they would have to for a more "exotic" filesystem. There are plugins for Windows FS to let you read ext2/3 directly (although I know that Reiser also has similar utilities).
3) Reiser is a bit of a moving target - Certain Linux kernels wiped out Reiser partitions, the current version of Reiser used to be confused if you were trying to repair a partition that contained a Reiser disk image etc. (although I'm not sure if that's not just a problem for EVERY filesystem... I've definitely had it happen on FAT disks too).
I like my data stability and will gladly sacrifice a tiny piece of speed for such reassurance. Filesystem stability (stable interfaces and on-disk formats, less bugs, length of proven service etc.) is more important to me than anything - I always transfer all my data to whatever my latest machine is and I still have direct access to the same data that I was using almost 15 years ago.
4) Reiser may not (I believe definitely not) always be on-disk compatible with previous versions of itself. Reiser4 was certainly not compatible with earlier versions, hence a backup, reformat and reinstall was necessary to keep your old data on the new filesystem. Ext3 doesn't suffer from this problem (data from fairly old ext2 partitions can easily and cheaply be upgraded to Ext3). Again, this was quite important for me.
5) On both ext3 and reiser, you stand little chance of simple file recovery in the case of something like accidental file deletion (ext2 you used to be able to "undelete" but ext3 kind of screws things up now). However, at least on ext2/3 you stand a decent chance of being able to recover SOMETHING should things do wrong with a filesytem index.