XFS vs ext4

Hans Fugal hans at fugal.net
Thu Dec 25 14:25:54 MST 2008

Linux 2.6.28 is just out and it includes support for ext4 which is now
stable. Coincidentally, a new 500G drive is meandering its way to my
home as we speak. It will be used mostly for MythTV (with 2 HD tuners
and much transcoding, though I'm not I/O bound on the transcoding). I'm
an XFS fan, especially for multimedia like MythTV or audio/video
editing. But, ext4 looks to have many of the advantages of XFS. I
haven't done a point-by-point comparison since I'm not an expert on
filesystems, but the major points that they both have are being
extent-based, delayed allocation, fragmentation resistance and online
defragmentation, and some others probably.

XFS' big disadvantage from where I sit is that you can't shrink it, only
grow it. I have wished to shrink an XFS at least once before, so this
isn't a theoretical problem. Its big advantage is that it's stable and

ext4's big disadvantage is its newness. Stable or not it's much newer
than XFS and a .0 release at the moment. It's advantages include kernel
developer mindshare, eventualy mainstreamness, and ???. That's where you
come in. Does ext4 have any significant feature that XFS doesn't, that
mere mortals running MythTV might notice? Does ext4 support shrinkage?
Any thoughts?

Hans Fugal ; http://hans.fugal.net

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the
right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
    -- Johann Sebastian Bach

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