I'm a big fan of ZFS on FreeBSD (I've been using it on my home server since before it got stable; bleeding edge, baby!) and I'd like to try out btrfs to see how that's evolving.

Since it's still largely in development, none of the usual mainstream distros have btrfs as an option. I haven't used Linux in a bunch of years, so I don't really know what my best options are for giving btrfs a try.


  • easy to install
  • btrfs supported without requiring me to rebuild the kernel


  • I was going to suggest Gentoo, but then I saw other requirements... Interesting question.
    – AndrejaKo
    Sep 20, 2010 at 14:06
  • I to was interested in looking at BTRFS because the development of ZFS seemed to have stalled. Fortunately, ZFS is going to remain alive thanks to FreeBSD. Also with the release of EXT4, I don't know how much of a push there is behind BTRFS. I was hoping ZFS and BTRFS would push each other to be better and better and learn from each other. Sep 21, 2010 at 3:29

7 Answers 7


openSUSE 11.3 has btrfs support, and is pretty awesome.

Btrfs has been developed to become the next generation default Linux file system. openSUSE is the first distribution that lets you choose Btrfs in the installer.

The installer will warn you that Btrfs is still experimental, so be cautious of using it on production system. You also have to remember to setup a separate /boot partition as the boot loader will not boot from a Btrfs partition yet.

openSUSE fanboi here

  • openSUSE 11.3 has become openSUSE Leap 15.3 meanwhile (using kernel 5.3.18-59.24-default and trfsprogs-4.19.1).
    – U. Windl
    Oct 7, 2021 at 12:37

Debian supports it.

I've had it installed on a server of mine and running for about six months now. No issues, really.

  • Did you run anything on your server? If yes, which kind of application? As long as you don't add this information, nobody will be able to rely on your statement.
    – yamass
    Feb 24, 2020 at 16:17

Besides openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2 provides support (not technology preview) for Btrfs.

Besides Btrfs, openSUSE 12.1 and SLE[SD]11SP2 also ships with the Snapper utility, which will help you manage snapshots. Both Snapper and its YaST plugin (yast snapper) provide the function to discover the content of a snapshot and the difference compared to another snapshot. The YaST disk partitioning module is also aware of Btrfs and will provide a recommended setup for subvolumes.


Ubuntu support Btrfs as well, quote from official ubuntu Btrfs

As of 11.04-beta1,
 it is possible to use only btrfs file systems with the caveat
 that grub _MUST_NOT_ be installed to the boot sector
 of the btrfs volume containing /boot. 


I've been using Btrfs on KDE Neon User Edition for over two years and it has been faultless for me. I used it on a single HD, then created a RAID1 with two HDs, then converted back to a singleton with two HDs to maximize my free space. I use a third HD in my laptop (CDROM Cadddy) for using Btrfs send & receive to store backup snapshots.

Btrfs is offered in Kubuntu or Neon as a fs during the install. You can give it the whole disk (/dev/sda) or a partition (/dev/sda1). The partition is better. Based on Ubuntu, either creates the primary subvolumes @ and @home. Other distros, like OpenSuSE, create a dozen or so default subvolumes. Lines in /etc/fstab bind @ to / and @home to /home. Oshunluver on Kubuntuforuums.net explains how you can use Btrfs to install multiple distros, selectable at boot, and give each one access to all the available free space. There's no need to preassign sizes to subvolumens.

Using snapper and other automatic snapshotting apps can get you into disk space shortage very quickly unless your snapper.conf is tuned properly. After trying snapper I uninstalled it. The Btrfs snapshot commands are so easy that I open a Konsole and issue them manually, especially before an update or an experiment. If, while updating or experimenting, you break something, rather than taking hours or days to fix it just do a 3 minute rollback.

If you plan to run VirtualBox on a Btrfs system you have two choices: Use a fixed size virtual HD, or for dynamic virtual HDs, give the folder into which you will create your virtual HDs the NOCOW property first.

Because Btrfs makes it SO EASY to backup and restore I will never be going back to EXT4. ZFS isn't a default root fs on most distros yet, but when it does appear in that capacity I will give it a try.


Sabayon linux (Gentoo-based) has btrfs support too, is easy to install and is much more newbie-freindly than Gentoo.


Garuda Linux (based on arch), natively installs with BTRFS and functionality of snapshots. If you prefer you can download vanilla version with KDE desktop. Stable

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