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After looking at the code for various utilities and the kernel code for some time, it does seem that what @Hauke suggested is true - whether a filesystem is ext2/ext3/ext4 is purely defined by the options that are enabled. From the Wikipedia page on ext4: Backward compatibility ext4 is backward compatible with ext3 and ext2, making it possible to ...


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Not a direct answer but in looking at the output of tune2fs -l ... for each type of filesystem shows the following differences. Filesystem features EXT2 Filesystem features: ext_attr resize_inode dir_index filetype sparse_super EXT3 Filesystem features: has_journal ext_attr resize_inode dir_index filetype needs_recovery sparse_super ...


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The resize_inode feature creates a hidden inode ( number 7, you can view it in debugfs with stat <7> ) to reserve those blocks so that the GDT can be grown. By default it reserves enough space to grow the filesystem to 1024 times its original size. You can disable the feature or adjust the size using options to mke2fs at format time. What does ...



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