back to article Bundling ZFS and Linux is impossible says Richard Stallman

Free Software Foundation president and Gnu Public Licence (GNU GPL) author Richard Stallman has weighed in on the spat over whether Ubuntu can legally include ZFS in Linux, with a resounding “No!” Stallman has issued a statement he says “.... explains some issues about the meaning and enforcement of the GNU General Public …

Anonymous Coward

@Bronek - Re: Forgetting about Oracle deciding all your money is now ours?

Yeah, and Google has to pay billions for just four lines of code that resembles Java.

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Re: @Bronek - Forgetting about Oracle deciding all your money is now ours?

@AC - CDDL prevents Oracle from playing this game with OpenZFS, however at this moment it seems like it is FSF (and RMS) who want to kill OpenZFS on Linux. Oracle will not lift a finger, as it does not hurt them at all (it actually may help, by killing free competition).

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TJ1

You probably don't want to use OpenZFS on Linux...

... on your SSDs since it has no discard (TRIM/UNMAP) erase-block support in the file-system.

There are *experimental* patches coming along but they won't be in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

For TRIM/UNMAP discard support use eXT4 or BTRFS.

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Re: You probably don't want to use OpenZFS on Linux...

By now, all SSDs on the market have decent (or better) garbage collection algorithms.

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Re: You probably don't want to use OpenZFS on Linux...

By now, all SSDs on the market have decent (or better) garbage collection algorithms.

You seem to be missing the point of TRIM. It's not an alternative to GC in the flash controller, it's a technology that assists GC and makes it possible to achieve better wear levelling.

It does this by ensuring that flash blocks that formerly belonged to files that have been deleted are made available for garbage collection sooner -- at the point of file deletion (when the TRIM command is issued) rather than at the point of reuse -- so that the garbage collector has more free blocks to work with.

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Childcatcher

That's why we can't have nice things

If we start bending the GPL license rules, it's just a matter of time until a precedent is created and the greedy companies start doing as they please with the code.

I support Stallman on this one, Ubuntu keep showing time and time again that they deserve to be kicked out of the Open Source community for doing stupid, selfish things with the open source software.

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TVU
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Re: That's why we can't have nice things

"If we start bending the GPL license rules, it's just a matter of time until a precedent is created and the greedy companies start doing as they please with the code.

I support Stallman on this one, Ubuntu keep showing time and time again that they deserve to be kicked out of the Open Source community for doing stupid, selfish things with the open source software."

I think it is worth pointing out two things. The first of which is that I have now seen four informed legal opinions about this matter and three of them support Canonical's interpretation with only one, from the Free Software Conservancy, that is a dissenting opinion.

Secondly, the comment is deeply unfair to the great contribution that Canonical and Ubuntu have made to GNU-Linux operating systems over the years including the important publicity aspect. Along with Linux Mint, Ubuntu is a known and recognised Linux OS brand and it's one of the few that's actually available to buy on a new laptop or desktop PC.

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ZFS is a big business

Oracle: "ZFS is currently one of the fastest growing products within the Oracle Server and Storage Systems business unit and sold more than a billion dollars". As far as I see, this is not a discussion about if GPL and CDDL are compatible. I think it could refer to Oracle’s own cloud. Did you know that Oracle has a massive global storage business? Did you know that Oracle has over three hundred petabytes of ZFS Storage Appliances deployed across its cloud, infrastructure hosting, internal product development and global IT operations?

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Re: ZFS is a big business

No matter what conclusion this argument between Ubuntu and FSF reaches, this has nothing to do with Oracle. OpenZFS is growing business and the argument is around OpenZFS licensing. Oracle is not using OpenZFS and has nothing to do with it, they have their own closed source branched (technically, it was upstream then) by Sun before OpenZFS was created, and which they bought together with Sun.

Also, this has nothing to do with Oracle and everything to do with "software defined storage" which is often using OpenZFS (except for Oracle which does not, as explained above). Oracle is so far behind, it does not even show in the rearview mirror. You mention billion dollars, but forgot the scale - it was accumulated over 6 years. EMC alone made this much in sales over 18 months, see more here. Also, as far as software side is concerned, Oracle's ZFS is stale. Their appliances are sold on the strength of the hardware and on support contracts. Today anyone can get better performance and more features with OpenZFS and a good mix of NVMe, SSD and spinning rust - all generic. Which is what they actually are doing.

I must admit I am getting annoyed on El Reg for even mentioning Oracle in the context of this argument, and spreading bloody misinformation.

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As identified, one of the major differences in GPLv3 vs GPLv2 is the handling of combined works and not just derived works.

I understood a derived work as a fork. Existing GPLv2 code modified to add or change functionality in that code was required to follow GPLv2 source availability upon distribution of the binary. There was the linking statically or dynamically issue.

Statically could be understood to be incorporating the linked code and therefore the linked code must also be GPLv2. Statically linked code is a form of a derived work. Dynamic linking not incorporating the linked code could not require the linked code to be GPLv2 even if the linked code in binary file was distributed with the GPLv2 binary which is a form of combined work.

GPLv3 extended the reach to combined work. Combined work could be interpreted to cover an entire distribution including closed source binaries distributed with the GPLv3 code.

Statically linked code simplifies the interaction of the code and has advantages because of that. There can be improved reliability, better performance, more efficient code execution, etc. Dynamically linked code can be more flexible, more memory efficient, and advantageous in other ways. Programmers have plenty of reasons to select static or dynamic linking not just licensing.

So I have to wonder where this leaves all these "Live" distributions which can boot from CD/DVD/USB and support a wide array of hardware with much closed source drivers?

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Stallman is right and things really are black and white.

If we don't enforce a copyleft license like the GPL then a copyright license like the EULA should not be enforced ether.

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