Support for the EXT4 filesystem started appearing in the Ubuntu 9.04 daily development images just a few days ago, and early adopters have been experiencing the speed and efficiency of this new format. Compared to EXT3, EXT4 shows marked performance improvements and pulled far ahead of the competition in many respects. Phoronix’s article on Ubuntu’s EXT4 support contains some technical benchmarks.
But what does this mean for us regular users? For one, we’ll now be able to store gargantuan files on the scale 16TB. While that feature would not be useful to most users, the faster read/write speeds would allow most applications to start and work faster. In particular, Softpedia reports a noticeable boot time improvement of 9 seconds, yielding a 21.4-second boot. While this may not seem very much, let’s remember that Ubuntu and the EXT4 module are still full of debugging code. Once that’s gone and everything else is stabilized, the system would work even better.