BTRFS + Gnome

Matthias Clasen mclasen at
Wed Jun 8 15:10:15 UTC 2011

On Tue, 2011-06-07 at 07:21 +0000, "Jóhann B. Guðmundsson" wrote:
> What's the current status of btrfs support in Gnome and related 
> applications like Gnome disk utility (  palimpsest )?
> I'm a bit worried that relevant application do not properly support 
> btrfs and we take a step backwards and force the novice end to the 
> terminal to deal with various filesystem related stuff if we switch to 
> btrfs by default ( as opposed to make the switch when the proper support 
> is in relevant applications ).
> Personally I have yet to see what benefits btrfs brings the novices end 
> user over other filesystems that warrants us to switch to it by default.

The first question to answer here would be what 'proper' support would
mean. It is certainly supported as a 'plain old filesystem' ie you can
format your partition as btrfs partition, and the desktop will be able
to use them just like any other filesystem. Which is probably good
enough for the initial rollout.

But of course, we are hoping to gain some exiting new functionality by
switching to btrfs. Some use cases I can think of off the top of my head

* New disk.

  I plug in a new disk, I get a notification that tells me:

  You just plugged in a new disk, do you want to use this to
    ( ) backup your current disk
    (*) use it as extra space
                        [Ignore this disk for now][Go ahead and do it!]

  This would uses btrfs in so far as it can just expand the filesystem
  over multiple disks. The backup part would possibly involve snapshots.

* A file locker.

  Create a 'Private' or 'Locker' folder in the home directory and
  encrypt the tree below that. Then we can make meaningful UI that
  tells people to store confidential stuff below that directory. And
  we avoid the need to ask for a password halfway through boot, when
  can't really do these kinds of interactions without lots of
  contortions and when we can't really have good i18n, etc.

  This would use btrfs encryption capabilities (if it has those, I don't
really know).


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