== Summary ==
For laptop and workstation installs of Fedora, we want to provide file
system features to users in a transparent fashion. We want to add new
features, while reducing the amount of expertise needed to deal with
situations like [https://pagure.io/fedora-workstation/issue/152
running out of disk space.] Btrfs is well adapted to this role by
design philosophy, let's make it the default.
== Owners ==
* Names: [[User:Chrismurphy|Chris Murphy]], [[User:Ngompa|Neal
Gompa]], [[User:Josef|Josef Bacik]], [[User:Salimma|Michel Alexandre
Salim]], [[User:Dcavalca|Davide Cavalca]], [[User:eeickmeyer|Erich
Eickmeyer]], [[User:ignatenkobrain|Igor Raits]],
[[User:Raveit65|Wolfgang Ulbrich]], [[User:Zsun|Zamir SUN]],
[[User:rdieter|Rex Dieter]], [[User:grinnz|Dan Book]],
* Emails: chrismurphy(a)fedoraproject.org, ngompa13(a)gmail.com,
josef(a)toxicpanda.com, michel(a)michel-slm.name, dcavalca(a)fb.com,
fedora(a)raveit.de, zsun(a)fedoraproject.org, rdieter(a)gmail.com,
* Products: All desktop editions, spins, and labs
* Responsible WGs: Workstation Working Group, KDE Special Interest Group
== Detailed Description ==
Fedora desktop edition/spin variants will switch to using Btrfs as the
filesystem by default for new installs. Labs derived from these
variants inherit this change, and other editions may opt into this
The change is based on the installer's custom partitioning Btrfs
preset. It's been well tested for 7 years.
'''''Current partitioning'''''<br />
<span style="color: tomato">vg/root</span> LV mounted at <span
style="color: tomato">/</span> and a <span style="color:
tomato">vg/home</span> LV mounted at <span style="color:
tomato">/home</span>. These are separate file system volumes, with
separate free/used space.
'''''Proposed partitioning'''''<br />
<span style="color: tomato">root</span> subvolume mounted at
style="color: tomato">/</span> and <span style="color:
tomato">home</span> subvolume mounted at <span style="color:
tomato">/home</span>. Subvolumes don't have size, they act mostly like
directories, space is shared.
<span style="color: tomato">/boot</span> will be a small ext4
A separate boot is needed to boot dm-crypt sysroot installations; it's
less complicated to keep the layout the same, regardless of whether
sysroot is encrypted. There will be no automatic snapshots/rollbacks.
If you select to encrypt your data, LUKS (dm-crypt) will be still used
as it is today (with the small difference that Btrfs is used instead
of LVM+Ext4). There is upstream work on getting native encryption for
Btrfs that will be considered once ready and is subject of a different
change proposal in a future Fedora release.
=== Optimizations (Optional) ===
The detailed description above is the proposal. It's intended to be a
minimalist and transparent switch. It's also the same as was
accepted]) for Fedora 16. The
following optimizations improve on the proposal, but are not critical.
They are also transparent to most users. The general idea is agree to
the base proposal first, and then consider these as enhancements.
==== Boot on Btrfs ====
* Instead of a 1G ext4 boot, create a 1G Btrfs boot.
* Advantage: Makes it possible to include in a snapshot and rollback
regime. GRUB has stable support for Btrfs for 10+ years.
* Scope: Contingent on bootloader and installer team review and
approval. blivet should use <code>mkfs.btrfs --mixed</code>.
==== Compression ====
* Enable transparent compression using zstd on select directories:
<span style="color: tomato">/usr</span> <span
tomato">/var/lib/flatpak</span> <span style="color:
* Advantage: Saves space and significantly increase the lifespan of
flash-based media by reducing write amplification. It may improve
performance in some instances.
* Scope: Contingent on installer team review and approval to enhance
anaconda to perform the installation using <code>mount -o
compress=zstd</code>, then set the proper XATTR for each directory.
The XATTR can't be set until after the directories are created via:
rsync, rpm, or unsquashfs based installation.
==== Additional subvolumes ====
* <span style="color: tomato">/var/log/</span> <span
tomato">/var/lib/libvirt/images</span> and <span style="color:
tomato">~/.local/share/gnome-boxes/images/</span> will use separate
* Advantage: Makes it easier to excluded them from snapshots,
rollbacks, and send/receive. (Btrfs snapshotting is not recursive, it
stops at a nested subvolume.)
* Scope: Anaconda knows how to do this already, just change the
kickstart to add additional subvolumes (minus the subvolume in <span
style="color: tomato">~/</span>. GNOME Boxes will need enhancement to
detect that the user home is on Btrfs and create <span style="color:
tomato">~/.local/share/gnome-boxes/images/</span> as a subvolume.
== Feedback ==
==== Red Hat doesn't support Btrfs? Can Fedora do this? ====
Red Hat supports Fedora well, in many ways. But Fedora already works
closely with, and depends on, upstreams. And this will be one of them.
That's an important consideration for this proposal. The community has
a stake in ensuring it is supported. Red Hat will never support Btrfs
if Fedora rejects it. Fedora necessarily needs to be first, and make
the persuasive case that it solves more problems than alternatives.
Feature owners believe it does, hands down.
The Btrfs community has users that have been using it for most of the
past decade at scale. It's been the default on openSUSE (and SUSE
Linux Enterprise) since 2014, and Facebook has been using it for all
their OS and data volumes, in their data centers, for almost as long.
Btrfs is a mature, well-understood, and battle-tested file system,
used on both desktop/container and server/cloud use-cases. We do have
developers of the Btrfs filesystem maintaining and supporting the code
in Fedora, one is a Change owner, so issues that are pinned to Btrfs
can be addressed quickly.
==== What about device-mapper alternatives? ====
dm-thin (thin provisioning):
[[https://pagure.io/fedora-workstation/issue/152 Issue #152] still
happens, because the installer won't over provision by default. It
still requires manual intervention by the user to identify and resolve
the problem. Upon growing a file system on dm-thin, the pool is over
committed, and file system sizes become a fantasy: they don't add up
to the total physical storage available. The truth of used and free
space is only known by the thin pool, and CLI and GUI programs are
unprepared for this. Integration points like rpm free space checks or
GNOME disk-space warnings would have to be adapted as well.
dm-vdo: is not yet merged, and isn't as straightforward to selectively
enable per directory and per file, as is the case on Btrfs using
<code>chattr +c</code> on <span style="color:
Btrfs solves the problems that need solving, with few side effects or
pitfalls for users. It has more features we can take advantage of
immediately and transparently: compression, integrity, and IO
isolation. Many Btrfs features and optimizations can be opted into
selectively per directory or file, such as compression and nodatacow,
rather than as a layer that's either on or off.
==== What about UI/UX and integration in the desktop? ====
If Btrfs isn't the default file system, there's no commitment, nor
reason to work on any UI/UX integration. There are ideas to make
certain features discoverable: selective compression; systemd-homed
may take advantage of either Btrfs online resize, or near-term planned
native encryption, which could make it possible to live convert
non-encrypted homes to encrypted; and system snapshot and rollbacks.
Anaconda already has sophisticated Btrfs integration.
==== What Btrfs features are recommended and supported? ====
The primary goal of this feature is to be largely transparent to the
user. It does not require or expect users to learn new commands, or to
engage in peculiar maintenance rituals.
The full set of Btrfs features that is considered stable and enabled
by default upstream will be enabled in Fedora. Fedora is a community
project. What is supported within Fedora depends on what the community
decides to put forward in terms of resources.
The upstream [https://btrfs.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Status
feature status page].
==== Are subvolumes really mostly like directories? ====
Subvolumes behave like directories in terms of navigation in both the
GUI and CLI, e.g. <code>cp</code>, <code>mv</code>,
owner/permissions, and SELinux labels. They also share space, just
like a directory.
But it is an incomplete answer.
A subvolume is an independent file tree, with its own POSIX namespace,
and has its own pool of inodes. This means inode numbers repeat
themselves on a Btrfs volume. Inodes are only unique within a given
subvolume. A subvolume has its own st_dev, so if you use <code>stat
FILE</code> it reports a device value referring to the subvolume the
file is in. And it also means hard links can't be created between
subvolumes. From this perspective, subvolumes start looking more like
a separate file system. But subvolumes share most of the other trees,
so they're not truly independent file systems. They're also not block
== Benefit to Fedora ==
Problems Btrfs helps solve:
* Users running out of free space on either <span style="color:
tomato">/</span> or <span style="color:
** "one big file system": no hard barriers like partitions or logical
volumes ** transparent compression: significantly reduces write
amplification, improves lifespan of storage hardware
** reflinks and snapshots are more efficient for use cases like
containers (Podman supports both)
* Storage devices can be flaky, resulting in data corruption
** Everything is checksummed and verified on every read
** Corrupt data results in EIO (input/output error), instead of
resulting in application confusion, and isn't replicated into backups
* Poor desktop responsiveness when under pressure
** Currently only Btrfs has proper IO isolation capability via cgroups2
** Completes the resource control picture: memory, cpu, IO isolation
* File system resize
** Online shrink and grow are fundamental to the design
* Complex storage setups are... complicated
** Simple and comprehensive command interface. One master command
** Simpler to boot, all code is in the kernel, no initramfs complexities
** Simple and efficient file system replication, including incremental
backups, with <code>btrfs send</code> and <code>btrfs
== Scope ==
* Proposal owners:
** Submit PR's for Anaconda to change <code>default_scheme =
BTRFS</code> to the proper product files.
** Multiple test days: build community support network
** Aid with documentation
* Other developers:
** Anaconda, review PRs and merge
** Bootloader team, review PRs and merge
** Recommended optimization <code>chattr +C</code> set on the
containing directory for virt-manager and GNOME Boxes.
* Release engineering: [https://pagure.io/releng/issue/9545
* Policies and guidelines: N/A
* Trademark approval: N/A
== Upgrade/compatibility impact ==
Change will not affect upgrades.
Documentation will be provided for existing Btrfs users to "retrofit"
their setups to that of a default Btrfs installation (base plus any
== How To Test ==
Do a custom partitioning installation; change the scheme drop-down
menu to Btrfs; click the blue "automatically create partitions"; and
Fedora 31, 32, Rawhide, on x86_64 and ARM.
'''''Once change lands'''''<br />
It should be simple enough to test, just do a normal install.
== User Experience ==
==== Pros ====
* Mostly transparent
* Space savings from compression
* Longer lifespan of hardware, also from compression.
* Utilities for used and free space, CLI and GUI, are expected to
behave the same. No special commands are required.
* More detailed information can be revealed by <code>btrfs</code>
==== Enhancement opportunities ====
updatedb does not
index /home when /home is a bind mount] Also can affected rpm-ostree
installations, including Silverblue.
Incorrect numbers when using multiple btrfs subvolumes] This isn't
Btrfs specific, happens with "one big ext4" volume as well.
RFE: create qcow2 with 'nocow' option when on btrfs /home] This is
Btrfs specific, and is a recommended optimization for both GNOME Boxes
automatically use btrfs driver if on btrfs]
== Dependencies ==
== Contingency Plan ==
* Contingency mechanism: Owner will revert changes back to LVM+ext4
* Contingency deadline: Beta freeze
* Blocks release? Yes
* Blocks product? Workstation and KDE
== Documentation ==
Strictly speaking no documentation is required reading for users. But
there will be some Fedora documentation to help get the ball rolling.
For those who want to know more:
btrfs wiki main
page and full feature list.]
<code>man 5 btrfs</code> contains: mount options, features, swapfile
support, checksum algorithms, and more<br />
<code>man btrfs</code> contains an overview of the btrfs subcommands<br
<code>man btrfs <nowiki><subcommand></nowiki></code> will
show the man
page for that subcommand
NOTE: The btrfs command will accept partial subcommands, as long as
it's not ambiguous. These are equivalent commands:<br />
<code>btrfs subvolume snapshot</code><br />
<code>btrfs sub snap</code><br />
<code>btrfs su sn</code>
You'll discover your own convention. It might be preferable to write
out the full command on forums and lists, but then maybe some folks
don't learn about this useful shortcut?
For those who want to know a lot more:
Btrfs developer documentation]<br />
== Release Notes ==
The default file system on the desktop is Btrfs.
Since this one is just the default, when you haven't picked your own
partitioning scheme, while I disagree with moving to btrfs and all of the
instability and other issues associated, this is an okay default. This doesn't
effect anyone who just clicks "Custom partitioning". Besides, it's better
John M. Harris, Jr.