For the past two years or so, I’ve been manually adjusting Ubuntu’s default ext3 filesystem to use the data_writeback flag because it lends a considerable degree of peppiness to an otherwise sluggard of a default system. Over time I dropped journalling file systems altogether, because I didn’t see wasting processor cycles or I/O times — particularly on old machines — on keeping track of which files were changed, when, and how.
And I can honestly say, with 100 percent veracity, my hand on the Bible or the Torah or the Koran or whatever book you think holy, that I have never suffered any data loss I could directly trace to that tweak, or that filesystem.
In fact, the only time I had I crapped out installation that I could be fairly certain was the fault of the filesystem, I was using XFS. And that was a looong time ago.
So I’m going to go out on a limb, and I’m going to continue to endorse it. Even if …
all mention the possibility of losing data in Firefox while using ext3 with the data_writeback flag. And I’m even going to turn up my nose at some of the comments on this otherwise admirable list of Ubuntu tweaks, which suggest noatime is a no-no too.
I’m not a Linux expert. I don’t hold any computer science degrees and I’ve never held a job as a sysadmin. There are a lot of things I don’t know, and there are plenty of times when I’m just plain wrong.
But I am a trained journalist. And so I’m not going to speak outside of any facts — and in this case, those facts are my personal, immediate experiences. I don’t endorse or suggest anything I haven’t tried myself, and I don’t grasp at blog posts, or random anonymous experts, or armchair quarterbacks, over my own history with one part of Linux or another. I know what works for me, and what hasn’t, and that’s how I judge.
So again, I’m going to continue to suggest ext3 and data_writeback, or ext2 with noatime, or both and all three at once. You can wave your degrees or your resume or send digg links if you feel that’s necessary, but until my trusty Inspiron comes to a screeching halt with filesystem error messages, I’m going to continue to blithely wander along this path.
You are free to join me, or if you prefer, find your own direction. That’s what makes Linux great.