Vim and firefox don't need fsync(), they just use it, because it's apparently the most portable way of praying for consistency across crashes. A good file system guarantees POSIX logical ordering across crashes, and there applications like vim or firefox do not need fsync(). If the computer is used only for such applications (not, e.g., remote transactional systems), then the sysadmin could use it in a mode where fsync() is a noop, and it would be really fast. Let's hope that Btrfs is headed that way.
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