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17 February 2012, 16:11

Fedora puts back Btrfs deployment yet again

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Fedora logo The Fedora Project has put back plans to make Btrfs its default filesystem. It will now take over the role in Fedora 18, rather than in version 17 as originally planned. That is the conclusion based upon an amendment to the Fedora 17 planning page on the Fedora wiki and a ticket in the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) tracking system. The May release of the Linux distribution will therefore retain ext4 as its default filesystem.

According to the steering committee ticket, Anaconda – the installation program used by Fedora – does not fully support Btrfs. It is therefore not possible to modify disks or filesystems interactively using Anaconda's partitioning tool. Developer Josef Bacik, who works on Btrfs in the Linux kernel and Fedora on behalf of Red Hat, has indicated that he can live with this restriction in Fedora 18, but nonetheless comments that he has given up on his original plan to have Btrfs take over as the default filesystem in Fedora 17, and will instead aim to achieve this in version 18.

The Anaconda restriction would appear to be just one of many factors behind the decision, as just prior to this, Bacik had said on the Fedora developer mailing list that he was no longer actively pursuing this plan. Also in the email, sent on 7 February, Bacik mentions that btrfsck, the long-awaited enhanced filesystem checking and repair program, should be released soon. Availability of this was a condition for using Btrfs as the default filesystem in Fedora 17, and this is therefore likely to be another factor behind the decision to put back its introduction. The non-appearance of an improved version of this tool was also the reason why plans to make Btrfs the default in Fedora 16 were abandoned. No announcement on the fsck tool has been forthcoming in recent days, although some changes to btrfsck have been merged into the git repository for the Btrfs utilities collection btrfs-progs. These are, however, restricted to a branch designated "dangerdonteveruse" and are therefore probably better left untested.

The Fedora Project has not yet explicitly announced that it is abandoning its plans for Btrfs in Fedora 17, but it is fairly standard practice in each development cycle to see some planned features left by the wayside when they prove insufficiently mature.


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