Weird Names, New Filesystem, and Strange Distros

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 22, 2015

The top story today seems to be the announcement from ex-Googlite Kent Overstreet of a new COW filesystem for Linux. In other news, Major Hayden explained why Ethernet devices have such weird names in Fedora and Manuel Jose covered the strangest Linux distributions. Elsewhere, Christine Hall posted her review of Bodhi 3.1.0 and Dedoimedo loved Mint 17.2. A review of LibreOffice 5 rounds out the day.

Kent Overstreet is a former Google software engineer who has been working on a new filesystem for Linux systems. It actually began as Bcache which "allows Linux machines to use flash-based SSDs (solid-state drives) as cache for other, slower and less expensive, hard disk drives." He wrote to the kernel mailing list yesterday that Bcache has evolved and grown into a "full blown, general purpose posix filesystem - a modern COW filesystem with checksumming, compression, multiple devices, caching, and eventually snapshots and all kinds of other nifty features." He added, "The main goal of bcachefs [is] to match ext4 and xfs on performance and reliability, but with the features of btrfs/zfs." It's more or less "feature complete" and Overstreet is looking for testers. Expect to see this filesystem making its way into distros at some point although Overstreet said it probably "won't be done in a month or a year." He's hoping to secure some funding and help as well, so "talk to your $manager or whoever and nag them until they send me a check." Contact information is included in the post.

Major Hayden today explained why Fedora (and others) have such weird network device names. For decades most distributions used the ethX convention, but Fedora changed that a few releases ago and now we have names such as enp1s0f1 and enp1s0f0. "Ethernet cards will always start with en, but they might be followed by a p (for PCI slots), a s (for hotplug PCI-E slots), and o (for onboard cards)." The next space is the bus ID followed by slot number and, in the examples given, the firmware index. Of course, it's really not that simple. There are case statements that help systemd and udev assign a name. First it searches if the card is in a udev database and if not, it moves on to whether it's on-board or plugged in. If it's plugged in, it'll move on to slot, path, and mac in that order. Most will be found in a slot and common names seen by users resemble ens9f0, which translates to a hotpluggable PCI Ethernet card in slot 9. Hayden went into much more detail and included some special cases, but basically when you see those weird device names, at least you know there is actually a method to the madness.

Manuel Jose posted The Strangest, Most Unique Linux Distros today saying, "Linux eco-system is very diverse. There's one for everyone. Let's discuss the weird and wacky world of niche Linux distros that represents the true diversity of open platforms." He begins with Puppy and includes it with the likes of Suicide Linux, Ubuntu Satanic Edition (which I believe is defunct), and Hannah Montana Linux. See the rest of his choices at

In other news:

* Dedoimedo likes Linux Mint 17.2, "Tight as a tiger" (whatever that means)

* Nothing Could Be Finer Than Point Linux

* Christine Hall's Promised Bodhi 3.1.0 Review

* Libreoffice 5 review

* Linux gaming rising: 32 killer games