Btrfs article

I wrote an article on the origins and design of btrfs, which, because I was too busy with OSCON to post about it last week, is at this very moment available free to all:

A short history of btrfs

I originally intended for it to be an overview of btrfs from the user/administrator point of view, but it morphed into this weird present tense gonzo journalism pseudo-documentary. Kinda weird, but people seem to like it, and I didn’t want to claw my eyes out while writing it.

In the article, I briefly compare and contrast btrfs and ZFS architectures. After you read this, you should be able to explain the basic differences between ZFS and btrfs in 60 seconds or less while twirling your glass of champagne. The other web 2.0 nerds will be TOTALLY IMPRESSED. I swear.

5 thoughts on “Btrfs article”

  1. It’s a good article. I don’t always manage (sorry) to make it through some of your longer explanations, but this one was just right.

    I wonder … I have found that I understand history-of-science presentation way better (and stay more interested in it) when it’s told in the very terms you describe here: a timeline of people, their assumptions and goals, their political affiliations and experiences, their unpleasant discoveries along the way, the few “breakthrough research publications only grasped by close participants”, etc. I also find reading the history of programming languages books, with the stories of development goals, pressures and assumptions, far more engaging than bullet-point feature comparisons.

    It makes for a more gripping tale, and also makes for better and more honest (rather than marketing-speak) after-the-fact comparative understanding: “why are there two competing systems for foo?”, “does system X replace system Y, or complement it, or extend it, or render it pointless?”, etc.

    Maybe consider this writing style more in the future? Assuming it doesn’t get too political :)

  2. I love the part where you say “It’s a bit like convergent evolution between marsupials and placental mammals – a marsupial mouse and a placental mouse look nearly identical on the outside, but their internal implementations are quite a bit different!”

    When I read that I was like “WTF”

  3. I just read the btrfs article. Great overview. Thanks for writing it (and for including just the right level of technical detail to make it interesting but not overwhelming). At least now I have some idea how it differs from ZFS, which I wasn’t sure of before. I certainly look forward to the day I can actually start using btrfs for important things.

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