The Linux Extended Filesystems

Linux supports 83 different filesystems, but it has its own native filesystems which perform admirably in a wide variety of circumstances.

Most Linux distributions — especially the Red Hat related distributions such as Fedora and Centos — use the Extended series of filesystems. Linus originally used the Minix filesystem for Linux because he was already familiar with it; Minix is the OS he wrote Linux to replace and the filesystem was freely available which meant he did not have to write a filesystem when he was doing the early work on Linux.

When Linux became very popular and widely used, the Minix filesystem proved to be unable to handle the loads and performance that was being required of it so Rémy Card wrote a new file system, the Extended filesystem or EXT. As Linux became more popular and more widely used in production environments of large corporations, performance and capacity pressures built on the filesystem to the point where improvement was needed. This led in turn to the second, third and fourth Extended filesystems, EXT2, EXT3 and EXT4.

The next few articles discuss these three filesystems, a bit about how they function, and their capacities.

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