Appeal for BtrFS Inclusion in Kernel

Jan 06, 2009

Chris Mason, lead developer of the copy-on-write BtrFS filesystem, has appealed for its inclusion in the Linux kernel.

In his linux-kernel mail, Chris Mason attests to the current working condition of the BtrFS filesystem and found it stable enough for a larger test environment, basing it on the significant changes he made in early December. Mason, who works on BtrFS at Oracle, hopes that other developers will quickly set themselves to task with the new filesystem.

Reactions to Mason's appeal were the usual mix of supportive and skeptical. The current kernel maintainer Andrew Morton immediately replied with "What's btrfs? I think I've heard the name before, but I've never seen the patches." In response, Mason promised a subsequent kernel patch and, in the meantime, referred to code in the git repository.

Criticism rained down as usual from developers who wanted as much common-usage code as possible in separate libraries. Some linux-kernel responders suggested tagging the filesystem with the btrfs-dev designation, analogous to the development version of ext4. Mason considers this step irrelevant in that BtrFS, as a totally new filesystem, has an inherent development status and no one would think of using it as a standard filesystem at this point.

The discussion as to its inclusion in the kernel is still ongoing, and then as to which BtrFS version and in which official Kernel release.

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  • Ohh please

    The above comments know next to nothing about the linux kernel.

    1)It will take distros 6 to 1 year to get this kernel in their releases. Sure maybe Open Suse or Fedora might in 2-3 months.

    2)The Linux distros won't be enabling when they compile their kernel it unless they have tested it, and can support it.

    3)The Linux distros won't be including userspace utils to create the file system.

    Given the above a user would need to go out and get a bleeding edge kernel. Then compile in the support when they build it. Then download the utils to make the filesystem. If you are doing all that you better know what you are doing or you'll have issues.

    Ext4 is a different story as you can convert ext3 to ext4 filesystem simply by mounting an ext3. Now you have ext4 filesystem which if anything goes wrong your filesystem repair tools most likely aren't new enough for. Also you'll need to know how to convert back....
  • A bit overblown

    From the comments above, you'd think that Chris Mason was doing a Reiser with the kernel team.

    If you actually read the thread above, you'd see he is responsive for the real issues but a bit resistant on some changes that he thinks are arbitrary, but what person isn't? The btrfsdev issue is an example of this. In ( ) he wrote:

    "Should it be named btrfsdev? My vote is no, it is extra work for the distros when we finally do rename it, and I don't think btrfs really has the reputation for stability right now. But if Linus or Andrew would prefer the dev on there, I'll do it."

    Sound's reasonable to me, and I expect it'll happen because anyone testing btrfs now will likely be testing it with throw-away data, so there wouldn't be any need to rename it. Once btrfs is out, the btrfsdev module could safely disappear and the new btrfs (production version) module will exist.

  • dev designation

    yeah, I get the impression that he'd like a lot of "accidental" usage, I mean, why not add the dev designation? because then people might actually use it and report back issues, oh? it's a development filesystem? I didnt realise, but it works so well!!!

    I mean, sorry, but this isnt a developer mindset, this is a deliberately confusing the issue to create bug reports issue, it's so blatently obvious and transparent.

    people might actually lose something important, then you could be losing money and they'll just stick their hands up and say, oh well, sorry, you know there isnt a warranty, right???
  • Implicitly in development

    The usual blinkered approach of a hacker... "I know it's in development, so I can't imagine how nobody else would not know it's in development". And there's the key word: "imagine". No empathy. Great work and all that, jolly good, keep it up ... but treating everyone who isn't "in" on the specialist knowledge of a hacker as an outsider who somehow doesn't belong can only sully Linux's image.

    I'm not talking about home users: this is the same kernel that RedHat will use in mission critical systems.

    If it's only *implicitly* in development, then it's not *obviously* in development. Mark it "-dev", and when it's production-ready, take away the "-dev" designation. In fact, keep the "-dev" designation for the next version implicitly in development. Simple, really.
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