Help me understand what happened to my Fedora 39 install?

I decided to install Fedora 39 KDE on a Lenovo Legion laptop with Ryzen/Nvidia (dual boot with Windows 11), using ext4 and timeshift. Recent updates seem to have messed it up for me, with a black screen and just a mouse cursor after logging in (in both X11 and Wayland). I can still open up a terminal and start plasma with kstart5 plasmashell, though.

I’ve noticed that my root folder is full, seemingly filled with timeshift snapshots.
sudo du / -hd1 --exclude={/run,proc,/dev,/media,/mnt,/sys,/tmp,/cdrom,lost*}| sort -hr -k1

73G     /
48G     /timeshift
14G     /usr
5.2G    /home
4.4G    /var
649M    /opt
553M    /root
543M    /boot
33M     /etc
20K     /.config
4.0K    /srv
4.0K    /afs

Added workstation

Removed lenovo, workstation

Apparently you configured timeshift to make frequent backups, and make no distinction on how many or where they should be stored.

You would need to stop timeshift and remove those files to free up space. Backups that are uncontrolled with the amount of space used are a disaster waiting to happen.

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What’s strange is that I have the default config for timeshift, excluding root and home and just something like 3 daily snapshots, 2 weekly snapshots and 2 monthly snapshots. It shouldnt be filling up like this. At least, it doesn’t on something like EndeavourOS. Perhaps it has something to do with how Fedora’s partitions are set up? I’m using ext4, not btrfs, if that matters.

With limited drive space timeshift may quickly become an issue as you have seen. For a drive with 73G of space timeshift has consumed 48G (2 thirds) of that . This is clearly an issue that needs resolved.

Either a change of timeshift config or halting timeshift seems required. Maybe a separate partition or drive would be a better choice.

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Timeshift is, according to their own documentation, meant for System backup, and intentionally not user data backup, though it can be configured to do so. I find that to be a bit of a waste on the current Fedora system due to btrfs capabilities builtin. Also, a raid (again btrfs) setup would then be even more appropriate in such a case where system restore capability was crucial. This is just an opinion, and there are likely very valid reasons for using an app like Timeshift. I am trying to understand the current desire in general to use Timeshift. Not just @luminous specific case.

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I’ll admit that it was primarily a bit of excess caution that caused me to use Timeshift + ext4, because I’d heard that btrfs requires more maintenance and is less stable. I intended to use Timeshift the same way I have on other systems, namely for system backup and not user data backup. I kept all the default settings, which should be accomplishing that, but it seems to be filling up with snapshots of things I may not be aware of.

Perhaps the best bet for me is to simply reinstall and use btrfs and the default fedora snapshotting capabilities?

I would suggest it, and also installing the btrfs-assistant since it gathers together all the maintenance tools and snapper under one GUI. As for maintenance, I have only done a balance after adding a device to my /var subvolume to expand storage. This is after upgrading since F33 on the same installation.

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I’m only a bit hesitant because I’m used to never really worrying about my file system. Are there any things in particular that I should be concerned about when moving from using ext4 to btrfs? Are there any compatibility issues when installing software or storing media?

Possibly VM storage, I believe Fedora defaults are fine since I haven’t been unable to run my Windows 10 Pro VM’s or my various Linux distro VM’s. I think if you read the docs for BTRFS there is mention of no compression, and possibly some settings for CoW that are not used on VM storage.

As for applications and storage, I don’t notice any difference in performance, but definitely notice it is easier to modify (expand/shrink) my filesystem than traditional ext4 installs, LVM excluded. BTRFS is also a volume manager so it has comparable features to having ext4+LVM+Timeshift. Moving to new hardware (SSD from spinning rust) for my home was also easier I found.

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I see, thanks for the info! Do you know how well system encryption works with btrfs? I think it was an option in the Fedora installer, but could btrfs pose any problems with luks encryption?

Not that I am aware of. There are copious discussion around doing it with Fedora in the various “flavours” available, you can search here for them.