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Re: Advice about ext3, please

Paul E Condon wrote:
On 2009-03-08_12:58:14, Steven Demetrius wrote:
Paul E Condon wrote:
I'd like some confirmation, or refutation, of some reasoning:

I have a USB external hard drive. It came with vfat fs, but I want to
write an ext2/3 fs on it. All my internal HD are ext3, but should this
one be ext3, also? Doesn't ext3 essentially write everything twice,
first to the journal, and then to the actual target location? This is
OK with an internal bus interface from the CPU to the HD, but USB is
not so fast. So I think I should not use ext3 for this HD. Is this

Basically ext3 is ext2 with Journaling. Journaling basically safe-guards against power failure and system crashes. It is well suited for system partitions and partitions that are being used most of the time your computer is on.

Journaling uses significantly more disk space and does not allow for deleted file recovery. IT uses more resources that ext2. Journaling does not write everything twice. It keeps track of the file system which makes recovery fast and more reliable than file systems without Journaling.

I recommend the following:

ext3 - for system partitions and data partitions which are in use most of the time (/, /home, /var, etc. if they are separate partitions or drives).

ext2 - for backup, removable, partitions rarely used, etc.

If your USB external is for backup or file transfers then I recommend using the ext2 file system on it. Logic being that if your USB external data gets corrupted then you still have a copy of the data on another partition.

Some people confuse backup with archiving. They will make copies of their data and store it away until they have data problems with the system. This is archiving. Backup is a never ending routine whether done once a week or one a month and also include regular data integrity checks of the backups.

I turned 76 last Dec. I've followed digital electronic computing since
I was in high school in late '40s. That was way back when digital
computers would seldom run for more than a few hours or a day without
crashing. Back then, people regularly ran what they called 'check
points'. These were records of the current state of the unfinished
computation in a format that was suitable for restarting the computer
after the offending vacuum tube was found and replaced. Often, the
last check point record was unreadable, whatever the recording medium,
and they had to find the last *good* check point. Then, they would
'back up' to that last good check point and resume the calculation
from that poing. Over time, the jargon has changed. The word backup
now means what was once called 'writing a check point'. Back then, I
think there was little idea of archiving as it is thought of today,
namely a permanent historical record. Check points were written onto
flaky (literally) magnetic tape, or punched paper tape. Any idea of
permanence of such records seemed rediculous.

I show my age by calling my nightly backups check points. They are
written on a separate HD on a separate computer. Now, I am working on
a system for archiving my check points onto an external HD.
Your comments are helpful reinforcement of my inclinations, but see
Sven's earlier comment. The current default for mount of ext3fs seems
not to be so costly as you or I have supposed. There is a very costly
option, but it is not the default.

Paul congratulations on your 76th and thank you for the history lessen. It very interesting and most times funny how computer jargon evolves.

Thank you for your positive comments.

I've looked at Sven's earlier comments. If there is a concern with compatibility with older systems then ext2 would be the way to go.

If the default mount option is to not enable write to journal then that does reduce amount of resources used. However, journaling still requires more disk space for file system management which in a data backup or data transfer HD would be better used for data storage. Here I'm talking about the journaling database used to track changes on the file system to be used for recovery.

I don't see any advantage in using ext3 over ext2 for data backup or data transfer. I do see some disadvantages. However in the grand scheme of things these disadvantages maybe negligible. The main issue here is the amount of disk space used for maintaining the file system which affects the amount of space available for data storage.

An Internet search would be a good way to get detailed comparison on advantages and disadvantages of ext2 and ext3.

Thanks you.

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