Does a definitive BTRFS newbie friendly guide exist?

I’m talking a walk-through that shows you step by step to setup all of the recommended sub-volumes so that snapshots work properly, and then the exact steps for jumping between snapshots and also include the setup when using both Grub AND SystemD-boot. Possibly even include setting up for the different snapshot helper tools like Timeshift or Snapper or whatever others are good. No half way explanations either. Full examples.

I don’t think it exists, but I hope I’m wrong.

I looked at this topic but it did not help my understanding.

Thank you for your replies!

There cannot be a definitive “howto” guide because most of those things are entirely a matter of personal preference.

Well, there must be a “best practices” example setup that would work for most cases.
I know there can be unique situations, but you gotta start with understanding a basic setup before you can branch out.

I had Btrfs installed for quite a while. But due to lack of knowledge about it, I could only proceed with the automated installation of Calamaris, so I quickly realized that I am overwhelmed with being able to do a manual partitioning. I am now at an age where the intellectual receptivity does not work as well as it did when I was young. That’s why I decided to stay with ext4 until Btrfs becomes the standard. Also there is with Btrfs again the problem with the fragmentation. That and the fiddling with the subvolumes takes away too much of my willingness to learn about it. Sorry, it’s just an IMHO :wink:

The installer creates a pretty “standard” setup that works in most cases. You should be able to just use it “as-is”. It will work with both timeshift and snapper.

The problem is that we all want different things

  • Some people care about snapshots, others don’t
  • Some people use snapshots only for the root, some use them only for data and others use them for both
  • Some people want to be able to boot off of snapshots, others find that quite useless
  • Some people prefer timeshift while others prefer snapper
  • Etc, etc, etc

I agree that a general guide would help newcomers here.

While it’s certainly true that there is no definitive way to handle btrfs snapshots and rollbacks, I think that snapper + btrfs-assistant is arguably the best and most user friendly since it gives users a nice, intuitive GUI somewhat similar to how YaST manages snapshots on OpenSUSE TW.

It’s not even really a guide, but the post that was most benefical to me was this comment by @dalto:

Install EOS and select btrfs as the filesystem
After the install yay -Syu snapper btrfs-assistant
    Optional - Install btrfsmaintenance for more functionality in Btrfs Assistant
    Optional - Install snap-pac to take snapshots during pacman operations automatically.
Open up Btrfs Assistant and create a profile for the root subvolume and choose your snapshot options.
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If you install with btrfs it gives you a pretty standard set of subvolumes that i would consider the norm. I then install btrfs-assistant, snapper-support and btrfsmaintenance. I’m using grub so i don’t know how it is on systemd-boot. This gives me a complete setup with little configuration to do after. Profile for root is created automatically so there are only minor setting changes. It has snapshot entries on boot that you can boot on. I’m not sure if you can restore a snapshot from there? :thinking: I mainly restore snapshots from within btrfs-assistant.

Yeah, if you want to boot from snapshots then GRUB is the only way AFAIK - systemd-boot doesn’t support it (which is fine with me, since I also only ever restore snapshots via btrfs-assistant anyway).

If you don’t understand Btrfs and are not willing to jump deep into that particular rabbit hole and learn about it (but instead require a “definitive, newbie-friendly” guide, whatever that means, and “recommended best practices”, again, unclear what that is: recommended by whom? best in what way?), why do you even want to use Btrfs?

What’s better about Btfrs compared to ext4, for your particular use case? In what way is it going to make your life easier? And if you don’t know the answers to these questions, have you considered the possibility that using a more complex setup without actually needing the features is not going to make your life easier, but quite the contrary?

Of course, nobody can answer that for you, it’s up to you to decide.

Both ext4 and Btrfs are standards. I don’t think that Btrfs is going to replace ext4, they are different filesystems designed for different purposes, both have pros and cons and which one is better depends on one’s particular use case.

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For me, the only reason to use Btrfs is the clean way to create snapshots. However, I am very happy with timeshift and rsync as well. Conclusion: I have no real reason for Btfs.

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Fair enough. I don’t even use snapshots.

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Also good

I never said I wasn’t willing to jump into the rabbit hole with both feet. Doesn’t hurt to ask if there is an easier way first, does it?
There is no “need” for me to do anything on my computer other than I want to do it. I was just hoping there was something I had missed.
Guess I’ll have to keep digging.

It would help if you could explain what you would like to accomplish. I am sure we could point you in the right direction with more information.

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Just something like, how to deal with multiple drives and using the safe RAID options of BTRFS.
That type of stuff. Yes I know BTRFS is not considered stable. my current setup is dumb but I could not find a better way to do it. I have one small hdd just as my boot partition, two SSDs as Root and an NVME as Home. The two SSDs are supposed to be in Raid0 but I don’t think I did it right. I could not figure out how to have the boot partition on the two or one of the SSDs which is why I used the hdd. These are all Spare parts I had lying around. After the OS was installed I did create a subvolume for a swap file. It’s been stable so far. But I know it is not an ideal setup.
how would you guys recommend using two 250gig SSDs and one ~450gig NVME drive. The motherboard can’t boot from NVME, it’s old. The NVME drive is on a pcie card.

The nice thing about btrfs is if you want raid, you can add it at anytime with a could of simple commands.

Assuming the 450GB drive performs better, I would put all the standard subvolumes on it. If you place the ESP on one of the disks, that should handle your boot issue.

Then put the remaining space on the other two SSDs into a single Btrfs filesystem. Create subvolumes in there to hold the data you want on those slightly slower disks.

In general, I always to to have /, /home, ~/.cache and /var/cache on my fastest storage.

Now, lets say for example you wanted you games, videos, downloads and music on the slower SSDs, you can create subvolumes for those items and mount them appropriately.

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Why so arrogant, man? aleksian is just curious about something (in this case BTRFS), just like me (cos I am curious too in How-to-do)??? I understand that you are EOS-linux-guru, and we are some bugs in yo system, but just remember: once you were same unalphabetical bug in the same system. So, with all my respect - or you help the guy (and all of us newbies), or go catch the wind :wink:

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I understand to some degree where @Kresimir is coming from. I too am one of those that don’t have a real deep understanding when it comes to btrfs but i have learned and i have been helped and i have gained enough knowledge to be able to use it and understand my installation. The reason i like btrfs is more to do with i find it works flawlessly without corruption and i do a lot of wiping and reinstalling. I honestly don’t think he’s being arrogant as much as it sounds to you. It’s more putting forth the questions that are the reality. If you don’t know anything about it then why do you feel you need to use it etc? It’s just questioning the logic of why one would want to use it not knowing. Basically learn about it first and then you decide you would like to use it because of the features that it provides such as using snapper with subvolumes to take snapshots and roll back. I find it intriguing because i don’t know as much as i would like to about it and it’s hard to understand some of the technical aspects of it. Knowing what one wants to accomplish is the place to start. Then asking questions around those thoughts. :wink:

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Thanx ricklinux for your answer! Thanx Dalto and many of you guys!!! Thanx Kresimir too for his help in the forum! I am reading alot here and slowly learnig. My point was, that not everyone is capable of examining/trying/fighting true the obstacles. Some of us are newbies and maybe will die like newbies in some partitions. Not knowing and asking is not a sin. I understand your point, that everyone must try hard and his very best before asking, but still - I dont think such arrogance have place in this forum.
And excuse my english