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What Is Linux File System? Easy Guide

What Is Linux File System?

As we’ve talked about Linux on the previous post and we have chosen the best Linux distro already and also we learn how to install Linux not it is the time to dig down and understand Linux from inside and we will start with what we’ve  mentioned on load post which is what is the Linux file system.

If we want to talk about Linux File System we need to talk about it from download level and top level in order to fully understand it

You can check this link for a general overview File System

Down Level Explanation

Linux File System or any other file system is the layer which is under the operating system that handles the positioning of your data on the storage without it the system cannot know which file starts from where and ends where.

We talk about Linux, which supports many filesystems windows. MacOS and many other file systems, you can even download software that can handle a new file system when it comes and deal with it

Linux File System Types

So what are Linux file system types?

When you try to install Linux you will see that in order to install Linux you have to install it on a partition or a disk that is one of the following file systems

Ext, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, JFS, XFS, btrfs and swap

So what are those file systems that Linux use?

Ext: old one and no longer used due to limitations

Ext2: first Linux file system that allows 2 terabytes of data allowed

Ext3: came from Ext2, but with upgrades. It keeps the backward compatibility and you can upgrade your Ext2 to Ext3 without problems

The only problem about it that the servers use this kind of file system because this file system does not support file recovery  or disk snapshots

Ext4: faster and allow large files with significant speed

It is a very good option for SSD disks and you notice when you try to install any Linux distro it is the default file system that Linux suggests

JFS: old file system made by IBM it has a Good performance for both large and small files and because of its low CPU usage but failed and files corrupted after long time use reports says

XFS: old file system which shows a bad performance with small files and you can’t compare it with Ext versions rich features

Btrfs: made by oracle it is not stable as Ext in some distros but you can say that it is a replacement for it if you have to, it has a good performance

You may notice From the comparison above  that Ext4 is the best Linux File System

 Top Level Explanation

Now you know what file system Linux offers you ok what is inside that system and what is the system structure

You may come from windows background and windows has partitions like C:\ and D:\ and folders and you install the windows on any of those partitions usually C:\

What about Linux File System Hierarchy well it has a different structure than windows. If you navigate to the root partition which is / and see the structure of the Linux File System. Most distros have the same structures like this:

Linux File System Directories

/bin: Where Linux core commands reside like ls, mv

/boot: Where boot loader and boot files are located.

/dev: Where all physical drives are mounted like USBs DVDs.

/etc: Contains configurations for the installed packages.

/home: Where every user will have a personal folder to put his folders with his name like /home/likegeeks.

/lib: Where the libraries of the installed packages located since libraries shared among all packages. Unlike windows, you may find duplicates in different folders.

/media: Here is the external devices like DVDs and USB sticks are mounted and you can access their files from here.

/mnt: Where you mount other things Network locations and some distros you may find your mounted USB or DVD.

/opt: Some optional packages are located here and this is managed by the package manager.

/proc: Because everything on Linux is a file, this folder for processes running on the system and you can access them and see much info about the current processes.

/root: The home folder for the user root.

/sbin: Like /bin but here binaries for root user only.

/tmp: Contains the temporary files are located.

/usr: Where the utilities and files shared between users on Linux.

/var: Where variable data is located, like system logs.

Now you should understand what the Linux file system is.

Different file system lead to different performance so it is very important to know the file system at least a bit

This post was originally published on Like Geeks site here.

Categories: LikeGeeks, Linux Tags: ,
  1. GreyGeek
    May 25th, 2017 at 15:07 | #1

    Two and 1//2 years ago I switched from EXT4 to Btrfs, when I installed KDE Neon User Edition. I find its performance equal or superior to EXT4 and it has features that can only be added to EXT4 via extra apps, and not very well at that.

    First and foremost is the ability to create instant snapshot backups of both / and /home while continuing to operate the system. Secondly, the ability to send those snapshots to other devices, local or remote, as either a compressed binary file or as an ascii file. Unlike merely copying your root an/or home account to a temporarily mounted USB drive using drag & drop, a snapshot includes all links, sockets, pipes, and every other kind of file. In addition, I can create incremental snapshots. Rolling back to a previous snapshot is simplicity itself. About a month ago I put another HD into the second bay of my laptop and added it to my Btrfs pool. Then I converted my singleton setup to a RAID1 using Btrfs’s balance command. I can add or remove storage devices at will. I can expand or contract the space on the disk that Btrfs uses.

    Btrfs can be installed on a device without creating a partition. Several distros can be installed on their own subvolume and grub can be configured to allow selection of a specific distro at boot time. Oshunluver a Kubuntuforums.net has posted the details in some of his threads.

    The Btrfs Wiki Status page shows that Btrfs is only unstable on RAID 5&6 configurations. Btrfs is now an option on several distros during the formatting phase of installation. It is more than ready to replace EXT4.

  2. Tyler B
    May 26th, 2017 at 07:41 | #2

    GreyGeek :

    Two and 1//2 years ago I switched from EXT4 to Btrfs, when I installed KDE Neon User Edition. I find its performance equal or superior to EXT4 and it has features that can only be added to EXT4 via extra apps, and not very well at that.

    First and foremost is the ability to create instant snapshot backups of both / and /home while continuing to operate the system. Secondly, the ability to send those snapshots to other devices, local or remote, as either a compressed binary file or as an ascii file. Unlike merely copying your root an/or home account to a temporarily mounted USB drive using drag & drop, a snapshot includes all links, sockets, pipes, and every other kind of file. In addition, I can create incremental snapshots. Rolling back to a previous snapshot is simplicity itself. About a month ago I put another HD into the second bay of my laptop and added it to my Btrfs pool. Then I converted my singleton setup to a RAID1 using Btrfs’s balance command. I can add or remove storage devices at will. I can expand or contract the space on the disk that Btrfs uses.

    Btrfs can be installed on a device without creating a partition. Several distros can be installed on their own subvolume and grub can be configured to allow selection of a specific distro at boot time. Oshunluver a Kubuntuforums.net has posted the details in some of his threads.

    The Btrfs Wiki Status page shows that Btrfs is only unstable on RAID 5&6 configurations. Btrfs is now an option on several distros during the formatting phase of installation. It is more than ready to replace EXT4.

    That all sounds awesome. If you ever feel like writing up a post about it and how you use it in detail we’d love to feature it on the site!

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