Ext4 is the winner despite identical performance. Why? Convenience and ubiquity. Ext4 is still a great file system for desktop/workstation use. Btrfs may offer larger volumes (up to 16 EB) and improved fault tolerance, but at the moment it feels more like an add-on filesystem rather than one built into Linux. Data mirroring is not allowed in Ext4 while in Btrfs it is still in process.
What is Btrfs?
Btrfs, which can be pronounced as “Butter FS”, “Better FS”, or “B-Tree FS”, is a file system made entirely from scratch. Btrfs exists because the developers wanted to expand the function of a file system to include pools, snapshots, and checksums, among other things.
What is Ext4?
Ext4 is the evolution of the most widely used Linux file system, Ext3. In many ways, Ext4 is a deeper improvement over Ext3 than Ext3 is over Ext2. Ext3 is primarily about adding a journal to Ext2, but Ext4 modifies important file system data structures, such as those intended to store file data. The result is a file system with improved design, performance, reliability, and features.
- Ext4 seems to be the best option on a desktop system as it is already present as a default file system and is slightly faster than Btrfs when transferring files.
- Btrfs is definitely worth looking into, but a full switch to replace Ext4 on desktop Linux could take a few years.
- Btrfs has many nice features. Copy-on-Write, snapshots, extensive checksums, scrubbing, mirroring, automatic data recovery, and many other useful enhancements ensure data integrity. Btrfs lacks the RAID-Z features of ZFS, so RAID is still experimental with Btrfs. However, for pure data storage, Btrfs is the winner over Ext4, but time will tell.
- Btrfs were developed by Oracle Corporation, Fujitsu, and Red Ha. Ext4 was developed by Mingming Cao, Andreas Dilger, Alex Zhuravlev (Tomas), Dave Kleikamp, Theodore Ts’o, Eric Sandeen, Sam Naghshineh, and others.
- Ext4 stands for Extended Fourth File System, while Btrfs stands for Btree File System.
- Btrfs has a Linux compatible operating system, while Ext4 has Linux and FreeBSD.
- Data mirroring is not allowed in Ext4 while in Btrfs it is still in process.
- Btrfs was introduced on July 29, 2013, while Ext4 was introduced on October 21, 2008.