Google is planning on including the Enhanced Read-Only File System EROFS became created by Huawei for inclusion in the Linux kernel, which is the foundation of Android. Despite getting kicked out of the Android ecosystem as a result of US-led sanctions, the file system became included in the Linux kernel as of Linux 5.4. It has also getting adopted by other manufacturers and turns out getting used on millions of Huawei devices. those used by the Android operating system. Because the system partition is normally read-only, compressing it to conserve space on items that only change when a system update turns out made is an enticing alternative. Most compression solutions, unfortunately, have severe performance penalties, which EROFS explicitly solves.
Google’s support for EROFS does not imply that all devices will immediately use it. Only handsets that come pre-installed with Android 13 and that include Google’s services will become affected by the move. That means EROFS will not work on AOSP (Android Open Source Project) devices.
What is the EROFS file system?
While we go into EROFS, it’s important to understand what a file system is. A file system is the mechanism and data structure employed by an operating system to regulate how data turns out saved and accessed. Consider it a kind of index for all the data contained in a device. It would be difficult for an operating system to identify and retrieve files from storage without a file system.
Each operating system employs a separate file system: Microsoft’s Windows employs the NTFS file system, whereas Apple’s macOS employs its APFS file system. FAT32 and EXT are two of the older file systems that are still supported by most devices. Android devices also employ several file systems; for example, while most devices sold today use the UFS file system, most Android smartphones support the EXT4 file format because the operating system is based on Linux.
The EROFS File System’s Journey from Huawei to Linux To Android
EROFS is an acronym that stands for Enhanced Read-Only File System. EROFS is not a revolutionary new technology invented via Google. Instead, it became developed by HUAWEI engineer Xiang Gao in 2018. And has stayed used in HUAWEI phones for the previous few years. EROFS, as the name implies, is a read-only file system that Google intends to make available on all Android devices. Because it is a read-only file format, it will only result used in certain sections of the operating system. Nonetheless, it has a lot of advantages over the existing solution, which we will discuss later.
Xiang stated when introducing the EROFS file system that the new read-only format. “focuses more on performance than just preserving storage space as much as feasible.” He posted data comparing the sequential and random read/write rates of a HUAWEI phone with an EROFS partition vs. The same phone with an EXT4-formatted partition as proof of concept. The results, as seen below, are encouraging.
HUAWEI officially integrated the EROFS file system into its Android smartphone with EMUI 9.0.1 after a year of development. Although it was only publicly available with EMUI 9.1. EROFS became integrated into the Linux operating system with version 5.4 due to the enhancements it provides. It was also adopted by HONOR. And now that Google has made EROFS essential for Android OEMs, more firms such as OPPO, Samsung, OnePlus, and Xiaomi will support it.
What are the benefits?
When it comes to the benefits of the EROFS file system, it provides superior performance and data-saving strategies than current systems. While compressing data usually results in poor performance, HUAWEI has created a method that combines the best of both worlds. Read rates are approximately 25% faster than those of an EXT4 file system. When a system turns out flashed on an Android device with EROFS and an Android device without, the EROFS Android device offers up to 2GB of additional storage space. Making it ideal for devices with limited storage. Furthermore, because this is a read-only system, it provides greater security in terms of protecting system files.
According to Xiang’s research report, “EROFS beats existing compressed read-only file systems with various micro-benchmarks and decreases the boot time of real-world programs by up to 22.9% while virtually half the storage consumption.” In layman’s terms, EROFS offers a significant increase in performance while using less storage space. It remains left witnessed how it will function in the real world, but if the previous HUAWEI phones are any indication, it will be speedy.
The EROFS File System Will Not Be Available On All Android 13 Devices.
The introduction of the new file system does not necessarily imply that the new EROFS file system will be on all Android 13 devices. Only smartphones that ship with Android 13 pre-installed will need a requirement to make the modification. Phone manufacturers can include the new file system in their handsets when they upgrade to Android 13. Although not required.
The next Google Pixel 7 (and 7 Pro). According to Mishaal Rahman will be one of the first smartphones to include an EROFS file system partition. Similarly, when Android 13 becomes official. You can anticipate handsets from OnePlus, Samsung, Motorola, and others to move to this file structure.