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HOWTO: ReiserFS in Fedora Core

by Jorge Gallegos

I have been attracted to the Reiser File System since I read about the different file systems that linux (redhat for me by then) could support. It sounded really great, a transactional filesystem that... wait, let us clear point by point, shall we?

What is a File System?

Surely most of all know, but just in case... A filesystem is (as pointed out by Google's define feature):
"The data structures placed on a logical disk or partition (by mkfs) which allow the operating system to record information about files stored there."
Simple, isn't it?

What is a Transactional File System?

Transactional means that every movement is safe until it is completed. This is, if you are trying to copy a 13Mb file from one directory to another, it will be in fact really copied until the very last bit of those 13Mb is copied, if an error occurs while making the copy, no copy will be made. This assures the integrity of the system so that if a (i.e.) power outgage occurs, and you do not have a UPS or simply your daughter comes by and kicks your power cord (it happens, really!) next time you power-on your computer it will be safe and dandy.

What is Reiser File System

So, as I was telling you at the beginning of the document, ReiserFS is a Transactional Filesystem built from the ground up by a team of developers leaded by Hans Reiser and now sponsored by the DARPA project. The first transactional FS that I used was ext3, which is (as you may have guessed by now) an enhanced version of the normal and widely used ext2.

Ok, but what's the difference between Ext3 and ReiserFS?

Main difference is speed. ReiserFS is faster at managing files than ext3. Althought still considered experimental by many people, it is very mature and very popular also in the linux world.


Well, the purpose of this document is fairly simple, and is to tell you how you can install your Fedora Box with ReiserFS support from the installation. Right now I'm talking about Fedora, althought I've used this little trick since RedHat 7.2

When you are beginning your system install process, this is, right after booting with the FC cd and before pressing enter at the boot prompt, type at the prompt: boot: linux reiserfs And that's it. You now will have acces to the ReiserFS option during your partition process step.


This is a little tip that is very well known by people all over the 'net, however, there is no explicit indication of how to do it. Well, there is one now ;-)