Distribution and filesystems comparison

Hi guys,

My first question is what is you favorite distribution of linux and why?  My personal favorite is arch because of its rolling release nature, pacman is a killer package manager, and how generic the programming is.  Plus the installation is meant to teach you (not scare you), which it does quite well.  This was a great change from ubuntu, where installing certain things, especially graphics drivers would break my entire system.  This may have been AMDs fault, as their catalyst driver never supports various xorg deployments out of the gate, but not having the latest open source radeon driver on ubuntu can be detrimental.

Another question, do we think BTRFS is ready for primetime?  I personally do, and love it.  SSD performance lags behind ext4 and f2fs, but the features are incredible, including COW, built in compression and raid (0,1,5,6,10), subvolumes and snapshots, metadata, and many more.  Installing the entire OS onto one volume, with root, home, opt, and var seperated for security, and to make backup snapshots of root simple, is fantastic.  It is the greatest competitor on the linux side to ZFS (ZFS on linux is much worse ;) ).  This further makes me love arch, as having the newest stable kernel is hugely beneficial to BTRFS.

Just joined after the proxmox video and I'm very excited!  The Tek is by far my favorite youtube series!

I love RPM based distros above all, the package manager its self is miles ahead of something like apt, but I do agree pacman is rather good, but I feel RPM can do more in a sense, just pacman is just easier to use.

My favorite distro would be Fedora, but I don't use it because of AMD problems, so I am currently using Mageia 4.1 full FOSS.

I have to agree with the Arch install process, it took me ages at first to setup a working distro, I can now do it within 20 mins dependant on internet speeds.but I need something a little more stable these days, not to say Arch isnt stable, because it is, but factor in that I want RPM and something a bit lighter on maintenance, I cant really use it on my main PC, when I get my laptop back I shall be running it on there.

also BTRFS is ready imo, I wouldnt use f2fs on SSDs, its very limited and I would say more alpha than BTRFS, its rather fast, but I havent noticed any performance increase over EXT4 at the moment, but cant say I have had any issues with BTRFS, also I believe it was built to replace ZFS, while ZFS is good, its time for something new and more unified, that both home and enterprise want to take advantage of, not just one.

Also newest stable kernels are on most distros, so we all get the brilliant benefits of innovation instead of relying on a company to do our work.

And welcome to the forums!  

Thanks for your response.  Arch is very stable at this point in my opinion, as I have a 2 year old install without a hiccup.  I don't mind the lack of RPM, because if you desire, you can install yaourt and build everything from source.  There aren't so many maintanence requirements these days, as pacman automates the entire process.  And yuck to apt-get, all new kernels break ubuntu... disgusting.

Maybe I'm biased against fedora for AMD related problems as well.  Yum was pretty nice at the beginning, but I'm fine with binaries for most quickly upgraded things these days for the time saved and low CPU usage (I thought about gentoo but gave up such ambitions.  Maybe with a 5960x...).

Are there good rpm based rolling release distros?  I believe this to factor to be essential for BTRFS as the improvements arrive so quickly.

Depends what you define as good, as is standard in Linux, what may work for you may not for others, but I would suggest OpenSUSE Factory over anything else, I had a great few days with it, but just couldn't connect to it like I can with Arch and Fedora, I didn't enjoy the experience as much as the other two, but I still had fun, and YaST, well. What a tool!

Mageia Cauldron is another decent distro but I cant vouch for its stability compared to Factory, I haven't used it, same for Fedora Rawhide, but it can break a lot, use it if your brave and know what your doing.

But no matter the distro BTRFS seems stable, more so if you are running 3.15, personally I have had success since 3.13 (When I started using BTRFS in Manjaro) had superb success with it in OpenSUSE Factory, and its a default system there!

I shall be going BTRFS on Mageia 4.1 soon, just wanted to get up to speed with it again before trying dev software.

Also just keep an eye out for package freezes, Arch doesn't use these due to it been a true rolling model, but the RPM ones are not really true rolling, there more pseudo rolling.

Even CentOS gave great results on BTRFS, but less refinement, so stick as high up the pipeline as you can :)


And I know that Arch is rather stable, but on my laptop its a pig, no sound drivers at start, and there annoying to install, but its the distro I get on with the best, I understand Arch more than any other distro I have used, and I can make it sing to my tune easily easily on my desktop, and the performance, well its dam fine, and I love minimal sizes, and the fact I get the main option of ATI drivers (6870 best on open source) just dreading it when I move to a R9 280 with FOSS.

and there is a fix for the AMD issue, but I dont see why we should just because rhel wants to make more money via Nvidia, arseholes... Nvidia suck on Linux to my knowledge.

and dont go 8 core with Linux, pointless, maybe for KVM but no major gains on a system that can out do windows with a PIII processor ;)

With respect to the sound "drivers", you do need to load them in "/etc/modprobe.d" to establish a default sound card/  It is mentioned in the wiki for ALSA.  8 cores is far from pointless if you are compiling from source, as phoronix reported it can compile the mainline kernel in nearly 45 seconds.  If you are browsing the web or other layman tasks, then I agree that an APU will server you more than fine enough.

I've been running the ati drivers for my 280x, and it works perfectly fine (though I don't really game on linux).  Mesa 10.3 was officially released recently with big performance gains.  I actually like it better for typical things, especially dual-head support and 2D acceleration without tearing on multi-monitor setups.  There is a way to get catalyst fairly easily by adding a server to your /etc/pacman.conf, though it's slow on the uptake for new xorg releases, which is kind of harsh for a rolling release.  I like ATI though, plus wayland support is KMS only at the moment.

BTRFS has all my love, the only wish I have is for a windows driver and a compress=lz4 option for my boot drive SSD.  I have a btrfs raid 5 that is currently inaccessible on windows, but I wouldn't dream of using ntfs on my archival hard drives (no compression=zlib option and I would need an LSI controller... grow up windoze).

My bias towards arch is most likely do to the fact that it taught me the most about linux subsystems :)