@ /home with btrfs

One inevitably learns that NTFS-3G, great though it is for exchanging data with Windows users, is not *quite* well-suited to heavy workloads such as serving Bittorrent files. And when one is particularly unlucky, the result is the kind of disk corruption of the kind that results in a lot of recovered directories and files with generic names. And bogus directory entries-turned-files that point nowhere.

It’s particularly bitter-sweet when that happens when one — ok, I — was in the middle of moving the files to what I figured, as it turns out correctly, is a more stable solution: Btrfs. I might not want to have it on my root partition just yet — from past experience, running an RPM transaction on it can be rather tediously slow — but for a relatively small number of large files, it should do OK. And it did — though during one of the move operations, NTFS-3G gave up the ghost. Ah well.

Sufficiently impressed by Btrfs — seems to be holding well so far, while I’m catching up on some of the lost torrents — the next step is, of course, to run a home directory under it. Not crazy enough to put my main laptop to the test, I volunteered my netbook. Some recent Rawhide update means compositing on it is currently rather buggy — unusably flickering display with KMS, very slow without — so while I’m back on a plain GNOME desktop after having fun with the new GNOME Shell, I figured the netbook will serve as a Btrfs testbed. btrfs-convert happily converted 7G-worth of files from an ext4 partition in a couple of minutes. The conversion is even reversible, though after making sure everything is still there, I nuked the old image file. The important files are synced to the main laptop anyway (thanks, Unison!)

One small niggle — at the beginning, logging in through the console yields a bizarre error

No directory /home/michel!
Logging in with home = "/".

ls --lcontext shows that /home/michel is properly labeled — nice conversion job —  so this was at first puzzling. As it turns out, though, /home was not. Restoring it to the proper context fixes matters.

Will update if there are any further issues, but so far, Btrfs looks like it’s going to stay. Back to tinkering with GNUstep and Étoile…

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