I'm trying to detect what filesystems a kernel can support. Ideally in a little list of their names but I'll take anything you've got.

Note that I don't mean the current filesystems in use, just ones that the current kernel could, theoretically support directly (obviously, fuse could support infinite numbers more).


Can I list the filesystems a running kernel can support?

Well, answer /proc/filesystems is simply wrong — it reflects only those FSes that are already brought in use, but there're usually a way more:

ls /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/fs

Another source is /proc/config.gz which might be absent in your distro (and I always wonder «why?!» in case).

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    Ubuntu's kernel config is included, just in a different place: /boot/config-$(uname -r) – Oli Nov 3 '13 at 16:21
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    /proc/filesystems is not wrong, it is just incomplete. – scai Nov 3 '13 at 21:15
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    @poige By that logic your answer is terribly incomplete and wrong as well. /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/fs will only help with filesystems that have been enabled as modules, not ones that are built into the kernel. Additionally a module name might not match the filesystem name it provides, and a single module can provide multiple filesystems. – Patrick Nov 4 '13 at 1:42
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    This answer is misleading, if a module isn't loaded, the kernel simply cannot load that filesystem type until it is. To state that the kernel can load it is not correct -- you don't know if it can until you successfully load the module. There's not even a guarantee that you can load that module. – Chris Down Nov 4 '13 at 7:35
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    @poige actually I'm not overlooking /proc/config.gz at all. 1) it's not guaranteed to exist, 2) A module name might not match the filesystem name it provides, and a single module can provide multiple filesystems. – Patrick Nov 4 '13 at 12:00

/proc/filesystems lists all of the filesystem types supported by the running kernel, along with filesystem attributes, nodev to indicate that this filesystem is not backed by a block device, for example.

man 5 filesystems gives some more in-depth information.

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    What does the nodev mean in the output when you cat /proc/filesystems? – slm Nov 3 '13 at 14:22
  • On my Arch linux laptop, cat /proc/filesystems lists a bunch of "nodev", obviously special-purpose filesystems, plus ext2, ext3, ext4. When I look in /lib/modules/3.11.6-1-ARCH/kernel/fs, I see a number of others, like "fats", "btrfs", "reiserfs" which are also regular on-disk filesystems, but don't appear in the /proc/filesystem list. What's up with that? – Bruce Ediger Nov 3 '13 at 14:49
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    nodev indicates that the filesystem in question is not a physical filesystem that needs a block device to live on, but rather a virtual filesystem that is backed by something other than a block device. – Jonathan Callen Nov 3 '13 at 14:49
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    @BruceEdiger: /proc/filesystems only shows the filesystems that the kernel has loaded -- until you insert those modules into the kernel (which usually happens automatically when you need them), the kernel cannot support those filesystems. – Jonathan Callen Nov 3 '13 at 14:51

I believe this will give you what you want:

(cat /proc/filesystems | awk '{print $NF}' | sed '/^$/d'; ls -1 /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/fs) | sort -u


Based on my best understanding:

  • cat /proc/filesystems | awk '{print $NF}' | sed '/^$/d' gives you all the filesystems that are natively supported by the kernel (like sysfs) along with those that have their kernel modules currently loaded
  • ls -1 /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/fs gives you the list of available filesystem modules available for your kernel
  • sort -u sorts the combined results of the first two commands with duplicates removed (only show unique results -u)

I am still learning linux, this works on Arch linux but I believe for at least ubuntu you may need to change the path /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/fs to a different directory appropriate for your distribution.

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