Fedora Linux Distribution: Version 33 makes BTRFS the standard file system


Fedora 33 appears with a bang: the developers of the Linux distribution have decided to switch from EXT4 to BTRFS as the standard file system of the Linux distribution. The “Anaconda” installer offered this file system as an option in previous versions, but new installations now configure BTRFS on the system partition by default with automatic partitioning.

In addition to two other major changes, namely the move to systemd-resolved and the decision to use Nano instead of Vim as the editor, Fedora 33 also brings many updates as expected.

The proposal to make BTRFS standard with Fedora 33, despite its purpose, came late in the development phase, namely only three months before the first planned release date. Posting only on the second of the two release dates mentioned above had a different reason: the beta didn’t want to start under Secure Boot and was asking for an additional week to fix the bugs.

When asked whether BTRFS is “finished” or not, the file system developers remain ambivalent in information about the state of BTRFS. From the perspective of Fedora developers, the arguments in favor of BTRFS – transparent compression for directories and easy expandability of storage space – have outweighed doubts about file system maturity.

The BTRFS partition scheme in Fedora 33: The BTRFS system partition created by the installer is complemented by a boot partition that is left with EXT4.

(Image: screenshot)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Cent OS, for which Fedora is often considered the “preliminary stage”, will probably not follow suit when it comes to BTRFS: systems prefer XFS, as was the case when Fedora chose EXT4 as the standard file system .

Another notable change in Fedora 33 that shouldn’t please everyone is the change in name resolution for network connections to systemd – resolved by conventional resolution via nss-dns, as documented in the Fedora Wiki. Fedora developers cite cross-program DNS cache and cooperation with VPNs as advantages of systemd-resolved. One drawback that the change brings with it that has caused displeasure on the Fedora mailing list, however, is that DNSSEC is no longer available since Fedora 33.

Another change, namely the replacement of the pre-installed Vim editor by Nano, will probably not only meet with the approval of Fedora users.

In the overall package, Fedora 33 should provide a lot of discussion material, because the changes are comparable in scope to the change to Systemd in Fedora 14 and the move to Wayland as the standard for Gnome four years ago. Aside from that, Fedora Workstation provides a familiar desktop image: Gnome has been updated to version 3.38, KDE Spin ships KDE Plasma 5.20 with the Wayland option pre-installed on the login page.

The kernel has arrived at version 5.8.15 and, as usual with Fedora, will see an update to 5.9 soon. For the swap area, Fedora now uses zRAM, which creates a compressed swap in main memory and should use main memory more efficiently. All other minor innovations are listed in the Fedora 33 release notes.

We have addressed the innovations in the aforementioned Gnome and Plasma versions in separate reports:

As always, Fedora 33 is also available for download with other desktops besides Gnome and the aforementioned KDE Plasma 5. The Fedora 33 installable live systems are again available as so-called “spins” with Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE, LXQT, LXDE and experimental “Sugar-on-a-Stick” desktop available for school computers – not only for the X86-64 architecture, but also for ARM.

There are minor differences from the other runs in the Gnome edition installer: The first user account is created in Gnome after the first boot of the installed system, with the other Fedora editions already in the “Anaconda” installer.


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