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flouran 10-18-2008 01:01 AM

Create a Linux Distribution that Doesn't Use the ext3 filesystem
Hey guys,
I was wondering if it was at all possible to create a Linux distribution (or even better yet, modify a current Linux distribution like Ubuntu), that does not use the ext3 filesystem, but another filesystem (for example, VxFS)? I know that it is possible to do this because Linux is a "UNIX-like" OS which does not use the original UNIX filesystem, UFS, but uses ext3. Moreover, Macintosh OS X uses the Hfsplus filesystem, although it is based off of BSD which uses UFS as well. Lastly, HP UX is UNIX-based but uses the VxFS filesystem instead of UFS.

Also, if I changed the filesystem of Linux, would that mean I would have to reprogram the Linux kernel's monolithic structure?

Any help is greatly appreciated,

jschiwal 10-18-2008 01:17 AM

Is VxFS supported by the kernel? You simply need to indicate the filesystem to use when you install. SuSE used to default to the ReiserFS upto about a year ago. You do need to use a filesystem that supports Linux/Unix permissions and acls. Using one that also has quota support would also be advisable.

linuxlover.chaitanya 10-18-2008 01:36 AM

I guess most of the distros give the option of using the file system of the choice that it supports. But I doubt VxFS is a free or open source. You need to pay for it. Correct me if I am wrong.

flouran 10-18-2008 09:45 AM

VxFS was just a rhetorical example. Jschiwal, you said that I simply would need to indicate which filesystem I needed to install. How would I do that then in say, Ubuntu (in other words, could you specify more details)? The more important question that no one has answered fully yet is HOW would I change the filesystem that Ubuntu uses (and/or any Linux distribution in general)? For instance, is there an internet tutorial or book on it, or could you guys lead me from your own experience (as I know that most of the people here are extremely bright)? Also, what filesystem(s) would you guys recommend?

Any help is greatly appreciated,

jschiwal 10-18-2008 09:56 AM

Select a different filesystem during the installation. Use the manual/expert partitioning option (whatever Ubuntu calls it).

If the system is already installed, you will need to use a live distro or rescue disk so that you can backup all of the files, reformat and then restore the files again. The filesystems you normally use can't be mounted for that.

flouran 10-18-2008 10:10 AM

Ok, I will try your method. Basically, I want to change the filesystem that the Ubuntu LiveCD (like a customized LiveCD) uses, so that when it is installed to my hard drive, it will use the filesystem I specified. Thus, would your method work for my specific usage of the LiveCD? Also, what would be an excellent open-source alternative to the ext3 filesystem (would JFS be more reliable)?

flouran 10-18-2008 10:56 AM

But, how would I customize the LiveCD so that by default it formats a partition as JFS?

crashmeister 10-18-2008 12:06 PM

Dunno if Ubuntu supports a jfs install.

Normally it either does or doesn't - if it doesn't chances are that you'd need to modify the kernel.

Just use any filesystem - there isn't a lot of difference between the Linux file systems for normal use.

flouran 10-18-2008 12:43 PM

I checked, and Ubuntu does support a JFS install.
However, my question still remains unanswered: How would I customize the Ubuntu LiveCD so that by default it formats a partition as JFS?

crashmeister 10-18-2008 02:21 PM


You are another one of those 'gonna create me my own distro' guys or is there any sense behind this?

BTW - if you don't know how to do it and the existing solution works for you wtf is the problem?

salasi 10-18-2008 03:10 PM

While I am also unsure why exactly you are asking this question, I do want to comment that if you look on distrowatch, it lists the journalling filesystem(s) supported by each of the distros in its listings.

As was stated earlier, you set the filesystem for the hard disk when you create the filesystem, partition by partition.

Just because its supported, doesn't mean that you can make it happen by default; you probably can in RedHat with kickstart and SuSE with Autoyast, but I don't know whether you have a similar facility in a debian/Ubuntu install. Maybe you can, but outside the context of an totally automated install, it doesn't do much to help.

t2000kw 01-15-2009 09:26 AM

If you're not insistent on doing this automatically, the next Ubuntu (Jaunty Jackalope ?) will have EXT4 support, but you have to do that manually during the install process. Feedback from a developer tells me EXT4 shaves 3 seconds off the boot time. It's also more reliable. Issues using EXT4 are already addressed and it should be a great release, worth installing even though it's not LTS.


crashmeister 01-15-2009 10:26 AM

I'd be rather careful in stating that a new file system that isn't in production use is more reliable than whatever else ;)

Randux 01-19-2009 03:17 PM

Try installing a distro that doesn't hide everything from you and you can learn more about what's going on, and make your own choices.

I recommend SLACKWARE!

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