Debian-Live Rescue image with ZFS On Linux; Ditched btrfs

I’m a geek. I enjoy playing with different filesystems, version control systems, and, well, for that matter, radios.

I have lately started to worry about the risks of silent data corruption, and as such, looked to switch my personal systems to either ZFS or btrfs, both of which offer built-in checksumming of all data and metadata. I initially opted for btrfs, because of its tighter integration into the Linux kernel and ability to shrink an existing btrfs filesystem.

However, as I wrote last month, that experiment was not a success. I had too many serious performance regressions and one too many kernel panics and decided it wasn’t worth it. And that the SuSE people got it wrong, deeply wrong, when they declared btrfs ready for production. I never lost any data, to its credit. But it simply reduces uptime too much.

That left ZFS. Before I build a system, I always want to make sure I can repair it. So I started with the Debian Live rescue image, and added the zfsonlinux.org repository to it, along with some key packages to enable the ZFS kernel modules, GRUB support, and initramfs support. The resulting image is described, and can be downloaded from, my ZFS Rescue Disc wiki page, which also has a link to my source tree on github.

In future blog posts in the series, I will describe the process of converting existing Debian installations to use ZFS, of getting them to boot from ZFS, some bugs I encountered along the way, and some surprising performance regressions in ZFS compared to ext4 and btrfs.

10 thoughts on “Debian-Live Rescue image with ZFS On Linux; Ditched btrfs

  1. Good Work.
    Please write some endnotes on all the Linux file systems.
    I have had some problems with downloaded isos in the Peppermint Linux’s download folder.
    I felt some hacker’s script had infiltrated (I used my computer as a cloud host inadvertantly) it.
    I changed the hard disk formated everything and even the new disk cannot be partitioned with Gparted (I think the Debian is so finicky that it detects even minute corrupt files).
    Now I keep a copy of all Linux images in NTFS without any understanding how NTFS works.
    Your knowledge on how file system works is useful to old Linux users too.

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