Alexander Shinn on Sun, 25 Apr 1999 06:58:02 -0400 (EDT)

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Re: Linux file system

On Tue, Apr 20, 1999 at 01:51:22AM -0400, Steven J. Pulito wrote:
> Hello everybody,
> quick question:
> I've heard that there is no need to defrag a linux hard drive because the
> file system does it automatically.  Could someone verify this and possibly
> elaborate on the technical details?

It doesn't actually defrag automatically, it's just not as important
to defrag a linux filesystem.  On a FAT filesystem, a 4meg file would
occupy 4 continuous megs of space on your hard drive.  If you had 4
megs, but only available in smaller chunks, you would want to defrag,
and rearrange the files so the 4 megs were grouped together.  The linux
(ext2) filesystem uses a structure called an inode, which basically has
pointers to the different blocks of your hard drive used by the file
(read the filesystem section of The Linux Kernel for more details).  So
linux files are by default spread out over the hard drive, and therefore
defragging doesn't really serve any purpose.


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