I'm fairly new to both GNU/Linux and btrfs, but I've decided I want to make my next computer (a desktop with one HDD) use Linux with btrfs as the filesystem. However, I've seen some advice online that says that I shouldn't use btrfs for my /home partition; some sources say it's not safe enough, and others say it might slow the system down in some way related to writing small files. I've also noticed that openSUSE's default is to have a separate /home partition using XFS.

Is there anything to this, or some other reason why I shouldn't use btrfs for /home? Even if I use a separate partition for /home, is there a reason I shouldn't use btrfs on that separate partition? Please also, any subvolume/partition scheme suggestion is welcome (which subvolumes, if not, and why.. I know there are some limitation by nestling them but I didn't understand it very well).

Many thanks

  • It's been my experience that it's not the greatest filesystem in the world by any means, yes it's smaller but we've had many issues on machines that for one reason or another the filesystem just tanks. If I had it to do all over again, we would go with something a bit more stable like ext4. Due to size limitations on our thin clients we went with BTRFS, I would have rather opted for another 2G of space on the devices.
    – Optichip
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 11:47
  • I didn't know it was "smaller", I thought that because of the snapshot feature it could take up more usable space Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


I am a user of btrfs. In the past I used it for both the root and the home partitions. Now I'm using btrfs for the root and XFS for the home partition (because of openSUSE, as you pointed out).

I cannot notice any differences, except one: with XFS, I can't snapshot my home anymore. Btrfs is fairly stable nowadays, however, you should always have backups anyway.

Your partitioning scheme can be pretty simple. Just a / and a /home partition will do it. I would also advise you to create a separate /boot partition, with another filesystem (ext2 is frequently chosen).

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