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Re: New laptop: need advice on choice of file system types




On Fri, 2019-04-12 at 12:43 -0400, Dan Ritter wrote:
> Tom Browder wrote: 
> > I have used ext4 for many years while I have been watching zfs and
> > btrfs being developed. I am now considering using one or both on at
> > least one partion during my upcoming new Debian installation.
> > 
> > Can anyone recommend either one for a normal (non-developer,
> > non-hobbyiest) user who does backups and values his data and wants
> > reasonable reliability?
> 
> If you want to experiment, having root on ext4 and /home on ZFS
> is pretty easy to accomplish.
> 
> ZFS for root is too difficult to recommend to a casual user
> today, but I expect that to change in a version or two.

I'll second this recommendation, with two additional comments. First,
there is a good set of instructions for installing with root on ZFS at

https://github.com/zfsonlinux/zfs/wiki/Debian-Stretch-Root-on-ZFS

that, if followed carefully and accurately, is very likely to result in
a successful install, including LUKS encryption and root on ZFS. I have
been testing one such on a VM for several months and plan shortly
install on an old (2011) Apple Macbook. My only deviations were to omit
encryption and to use Buster, rather than Stretch, as the target. I
think at the time I did it that may have given me a later version of
ZFS, and it was clear that Buster would become the new stable version
around the time I wanted to use ZFS for real.

The install process described there is straightforward, and it includes
the steps needed if you want to encrypt the file systemsbut very much
hands on. I don't think I would call it difficult as much as requiring
careful attention to detail while carrying out a fairly lengthy
procedure. It is possible to cut and paste many of the commands, but
they must be edited carefully for the target environment.

If you have a new and untouched machine, it would be an excellent
opportunity to try this without really risking anything but time and
maybe frustration.

Second, ZFS comes with a significant learning curve and differs a bit
from more traditional and common file systems used in Linuxland,
including those used with LVM. LVM adds a layer to management; ZFS
changes management quite a bit, although generally for the better. The
Oracle documentation for their commercial ZFS, though, is available on
their web site and generally usable with openzfs, although incompletely
because the later features of Oracle ZFS are not available.

ZFS for /home makes sense, especially for anyone not already somewhat
familiar with ZFS.

Regards,
Tom Dial

> 
> -dsr-