Just doing my part to get some XFS advocacy out there as well as
introduce the solutions people are looking for.
-------- Original Message --------
From: Bryan-TheBS-Smith <b.j.smith@xxxxxxxx>
Subject: Letter to Editor: "Red Hat Makes Itself More Available"
Letter to Editor regarding:
"RedHat Makes Itself More Available" by Timothy Dyck
Dear Sirs --
As always, it's nice to see the media keeping up with the latest
releases. I think you pegged it on the nose with the fact that
RedHat 7.2 doesn't have a lot of changes. Such is typical of a
RedHat ".2" release, which is the final in a major version that
offers the most stability of the lot.
But I wanted to clarify and discuss a paragraph, and I comment on it
piece-meal. Especially regarding access control lists (ACLs) as
there are various filesystem support issues that won't be fully
addressed until the next kernel version (2.5 experimental, probably
1. On RedHat's lack of official/installer support for ReiserFS
"However, we were disappointed that there wasn't at least the
option to use three features available for Linux: the ReiserFS
file system (supported in the operating system but not the
This is an obvious vendor support issue. RedHat has not spent time
testing the ReiserFS filesystem, unlike other vendors SuSE. So
RedHat would be poorly equipped to offer support for it officially.
Users who want ReiserFS support should stick with SuSE, or possibly
adopt Mandrake if they want a [largely] RedHat-compatible
Instead of testing ReiserFS, RedHat has spent almost two years
testing the Ext3 implementation -- along with VALinux as well, who
has released modified RedHat distros with it for over a year now in
end-user products (most notably their NAS appliances). Unlike the
more revolutionary ReiserFS, evolutionary Ext3 doesn't have all the
issues with various kernel interfaces, like NFS (especially for
non-Linux clients), which is the reason why RedHat supports it
instead of ReiserFS. It is because of the complete NFS
compatibility and its basis on Ext2 that keeps many of us using
RedHat and Ext3.
It should also be noted that Stephen Tweedie, the current maintainer
of not only Ext3, but Ext2, is a RedHat employee. I would not be
surprised if Ext3 is eventually integrated into the official kernel
2. Lack of installer support for LVM
> "... logical volume management ..."
I think everyone agrees with that one. Of course, there are
additional filesystem support issues that have not been addressed.
I have seen numerous issues crop up on both the Ext3 and XFS support
lists regarding LVM. Many have to do with continually nagging
issues with the virtual memory (VM) implementation in 2.4.x in even
the latest releases (especially RAID-5 support).
3. Lack of support for access control lists (ACL)
> "... and file access control lists."
ReiserFS nor Ext3 support ACLs yet, so I don't understand your point
here. And the Ext2 support is far from complete, which means that
Ext3 will take some time as well. Lastly, ACLs are not going to be
"standard" in the 2.4.x kernel. We'll have to wait for 2.5/3.0 for
For now, SGI's XFS filesystem offers complete ACL support, including
Samba 2.2 integration, as well as official Linux quota support as
well (unlike any other JFS). SGI official XFS filesystem releases
are designed to install right alongside the RedHat CDs or
installation tree (for those installing over a network). Because
XFS is just a port of the XFS filesystem from Irix, and is a very
traditional UNIX FS design (and very compatible with kernel
interfaces), it is most likely that the XFS ACL implementation will
become the _standard_ for 2.5/3.0 -- along with other key XFS
technologies at the virtual filesystem, VFS, layer so all
filesystems will have a single standard.
In the same light, because of its tight integration with the virtual
memory (VM) subsystem of the Linux kernel, as well as all its other
advanced features, XFS will not be integrated into the official
kernel until 2.5/3.0. For 2.4, any ACL implementations to this
point are going to be FS-specific, with both ReiserFS and IBM's JFS
lack any implementation to date. XFS is the only filesystem that
offers production-quality ones today (and can even share them with
Irix disks and network clients), and the Ext2/Ext3 ACL
implementation is clearly "beta" at this stage -- as well as not
integrated with major services like Samba 2.2.
4. Conclusions on lack of LVM and ACL
> "The latter two are important for the enterprise, and we'd
> encourage Red Hat to move forward quickly in these areas."
Again, there is no choice regarding ACLs, RedHat or SuSE. Anyone
who wants a JFS with full ACL support will either need to move to
SGI's XFS support, or wait for kernel 2.5/3.0-based distributions
which are still a long way off -- being that the 2.5 tree is just
now being created by Linus.
> SuSE Linux AG's SuSE Linux is a good choice for those wanting
> a mainstream Linux distribution with a more aggressive
> development approach.
Again, unless I'm missing something, I have not seen ACLs, let alone
quota support for any ReiserFS release yet. There are many things
planned in ReiserFS 4.x, and it is the future of filesystem design.
Unfortunately, its radical approaches affect UNIX/Linux
compatibility today. So many of us are still stuck running Ext3
But XFS does offer all the features you desire and more. 64-bit
JFS, ACLs (incluing Samba 2.2 integration), LVM compatibility (no
installer support though on the last one), as well as official quota
support. Using RedHat Linux + SGI XFS is a powerful combination,
one that can be installed very easily by simply adding the single
SGI XFS release CD to your RedHat set. Powerful enough that many of
us consider it "important for the enterprise."
SGI XFS homepage:
-- Bryan "TheBS" Smith
Contributing Author, "Samba Unleashed"
ReiserFS tester since November 1999 (never adopted)
Ext3 production use since February 2000
XFS production use since February 2001
Bryan "TheBS" Smith mailto:b.j.smith@xxxxxxxx chat:thebs413
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