back to article Open ZFS wielders kick off 'truly open source' dev group

A bunch of companies that rely on ZFS to power their products have banded together in a new open source cabal that says it will offer a "truly open source" version of the filesystem. The group revealed itself to the world yesterday, erecting the eponymous open-zfs.org website and announcing an intention to do the following …

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  1. Oninoshiko

    The Raspi support is kinda useless, but other then that there's some interesting things they have in the works.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought that initially, but rPI support is very useful for learning at home on cheapo hardware. Of course, you could use VMs and VHDs, but an rPI is a pretty good alternative.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Don't get me wrong, I have a Raspi, It's really neat to play with, but the reality is the hardware limitations of it make many of the advantages of ZFS moot.

    2. Gordan

      Pi support and 32-bitness

      It's not the Pi support per se that is the limiting factor on the Linux implementation, it's generally the support for 32-bit platforms. ZFS was designed for a 64-bit platform with a very robust kernel virtual memory subsystem. Linux's kernel virtual memory is somewhat crippled (it's use is generally discouraged, as there are usually better ways to do things), and when you combine that with generally memory starved 32-bit platforms you run into problems.

      The FreeBSD implementation works much better if you are stuck with 32-bit hardware. Or if you really want to run Linux on a 32-bit platform with ZFS, zfs-fuse works very well.

  2. Antonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    About time!

    Good news indeed.

    Is there anything at all of value from Oracle's embrace of Sun that hasn't forked off from under Ellison's thumb?

    Looks like the takeover has turned out to be a very good thing for (F(L))OSS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC

      "Looks like the takeover has turned out to be a very good thing for (F(L))OSS."

      In my opinion the takeover has done no such thing. Nothing good has come from it.

      It's not the takeover which pushed these products into the open source environment, that was basically the "obsession" with open source software living within Sun Microsystems. Don't forget that FreeBSD gained ZFS support by porting the code from Solaris, and all at a time where Sun was still a separate company.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: @AC

        And we're lucky that Sun did gave away the source code to various gems like ZFS.

        People who complain about it not being GPL2 licensed are simply being ungrateful. Perhaps they should chill out a bit. You don't look a gift horse in the mouth, as the old saying goes.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          CDDL and GPL not compatible

          If the Trojans had looked their gift horse in the mouth, they would have found it was full of Greek soldiers. Likewise ZFS is stuffed with patents. It is not possible to simultaneously satisfy the terms of the GPL and CDDL in a single piece of software, in part because GPL would require a patent license that Sun/Oracle do not provide. You are welcome to get sued like a GIF user, but I will stick to GPL or compatible. BTW: pi's already have BTRFS.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge
            Gimp

            Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

            ZFS is not patent encumbered. GPL is incompatible with CDDL, not vice versa. CDDL works can be happily combined with BSD works.

            It's funny when a Linux fanboy resorts to FUD about superior software.

          2. HereWeGoAgain

            Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

            Since when is the GPL the yardstick by which free or open source software is measured?

            I wonder if you do really 'stick to GPL', or just think you do. Do you use X11? That's an MIT licence. Do you use Apache? Apache licence. Firefox? MPL. And so on.

            If you don't agree with non-GPL code, don't use any of the above.

            1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

              Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

              HereWeGoAgain:

              Since when is the GPL the yardstick by which free or open source software is measured?

              Since about 70% of open source projects select a GPL license.

              I wonder if you do really 'stick to GPL', or just think you do. Do you use X11? That's an MIT licence. Do you use Apache? Apache licence. Firefox? MPL. And so on.

              'stick to GPL' is your phrase, not mine. I am very well aware of the licenses for X11, Apache and Firefox. All the licenses you just mentioned are GPL compatible. I have a specific problem with the CDDL, and why Sun selected it.

              Oninoshiko: You are welcome to pull a ZFS disk out of a Mac and plug it into a Solaris box. I pick the most appropriate file system available on the OS and move data with a network connection. Where is the limitation?

              1. Oninoshiko

                Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

                "Oninoshiko: You are welcome to pull a ZFS disk out of a Mac and plug it into a Solaris box. I pick the most appropriate file system available on the OS and move data with a network connection. Where is the limitation?"

                I was responding the the immediately prior poster who's comment implied ZFS has less traction then BTRFS, despite ZFS being more widely available on different platforms. We where discussing the limitation in the availability of different FSes.

                You've chosen to link to a rather disingenuous article by Greg DeKoenigsberg. It's funny how he thought SUN should go to GPL3, but has no problem with Linux NOT. If it was just about keeping ZFS out of the Linux kernel, they could have made it GPL3, because GPL3 is incompatible with GPL2, so it STILL would not be able to be included with the Linux kernel.

                The Linux kernel is limited to GPL2, and is not distributed "GPL 2 or later." Rightfully so, too, only a moron would distribute under a license they haven't read.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

            I've used both, and btrfs features & usability are still behind where ZFS was on Solaris 10 years ago.

          4. Gordan

            Re: CDDL and GPL not compatible

            "BTW: pi's already have BTRFS."

            BTRFS is the most useless pile of steaming manure that has ever disgraced Linux with it's inclusion into the kernel tree. It's feature were _intended_ to rival ZFS but after years of development it has failed to even match the usability of ancient vanilla file systems like ext*.

            It is also telling that EL7 will ship with XFS as the default FS rather than BTRFS.

            If I didn't know better I might suspect that Oracle's continued pushing of BTRFS is nothing more than an attempt to dissuade people from using ZFS on Linux and thus assist them in pushing Solaris as having ZFS as the killer feature.

        2. frymaster

          Not ungrateful

          People who want it to be GPL2-compatible want it because then it can be included in the Linux kernel.

          1. HereWeGoAgain

            Re: Not ungrateful

            OK, so license the Linux kernel under a more liberal licence.

            1. Evan Essence

              Re: Not ungrateful

              OK, so license the Linux kernel under a more liberal licence.

              What are you trying to do? Do you want Linus to explode?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not ungrateful

            @frymaster,

            "People who want it to be GPL2-compatible want it because then it can be included in the Linux kernel."

            If the Linux kernel devs really want to use ZFS as is then surely all they need to do is to agree amongst themselves and change the license to one that facilitates that (rather than blocking it).

            Ok, so there's a large number of kernel devs past, present and dead out there who'd all have to agree. And I dare say a few of them might be untraceable. However, for something such as ZFS that would apparently be a tremendous asset to Linux, surely it would be worth at least asking them (or their estate) the question? After all, who'd actually say no?

            1. Down not across Silver badge

              Re: Not ungrateful

              "Ok, so there's a large number of kernel devs past, present and dead out there who'd all have to agree. And I dare say a few of them might be untraceable. However, for something such as ZFS that would apparently be a tremendous asset to Linux, surely it would be worth at least asking them (or their estate) the question? After all, who'd actually say no?"

              Linus.

              1. Daniel B.
                Trollface

                Linux kernel license

                The fun thing is that everyone comments that the Linux kernel would never go for a more liberal license... when the kernel itself has kept itself in a more liberal license. Have y'all forgotten why the kernel didn't migrate to GPLv3?

        3. fch

          Gift horses ...

          Apples and oranges. Even if either came for free, only one can turn into orange juice.

          It's not a bad thing at all that it isn't GPLv2 licensed; but that it's not licensed GPLv2-compatible (as BSD or LGPL would've been), and/or not dual-licensed, that limits applicability.

          The result is that there's a great opensource filesystem with far far less traction than it deserves. If Sun wanted to make Linux developers envious by dangling all these nice technology carrots, they surely succeeded to a degree. But if you want to motivate contribution and/or use, inciting envy is more likely to result in the opposite.

          1. Oninoshiko

            Re: Limited applicablity

            ZFS is available on: Linux, BSD, MacOS, and Solaris

            BTRFS is available on: Linux

            remind me, which is more limited?

    2. RAMChYLD

      Re: About time!

      > Is there anything at all of value from Oracle's embrace of Sun that hasn't forked off from under Ellison's

      > thumb?

      Maybe I'm still in the dark ages, but what about Virtualbox? So far I've not heard of any forks of that excellent virt solution. Kinda sad really, imo it's the most comprehensive hypervisor I've ever used. It truly deserves to be forked and set free from the hands of Ellison.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: About time!

        If you think Virtualbox is an "excellent virt solution" you must be in the dark ages. Of all the virtualization solutions I've tried, Virtualbox is the worst of them.

        1. iSadLusa

          Re: About time!

          An unsubstantiated opinion followed by an unsubstantiated counter-opinion. Sparkling gems of reasoning? Or intelligent debate, but not as we know it, Jim.

        2. Number6

          Re: About time!

          When I was looking for a way to run OS/2 in a virtual machine, VirtualBox was the only one that worked. That might have changed now, but it's stable, and until I get organised enough to rewrite the one task done by the OS/2 box, it'll suffice.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rasberry Pi?

    I get the feeling that the only reason for including this one is to gain popularity (or more attention), but quite frankly I don't see this easily working out. In my opinion ZFS is "superior by design" but even so; it is very demanding on your resources, especially memory. So I can't help wonder if working within a 512Mb limit is going to suffice here...

    Still, I maybe cynical but I do hope they'll succeed nonetheless. Because if they can manage to lower the resource demands without compromising features then this could be good news for everyone using ZFS.

  4. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Lets see a Windows version of ZFS which you can boot off, not just as an extension.

    I'd love to drop NTFS from a great height, and see it killed off.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Lets see a Windows version of ZFS which you can boot off, not just as an extension.

      Indeed. I wish I could simply use ZFS as a standard between all my boxes instead of having to resort to FAT32 or weird VM skipping to stuff files on NTFS. Currently I can do so with ZFS with everything except Windows.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Lets see a Windows version of ZFS which you can boot off, not just as an extension.

        I wish I could simply use ZFS as a standard between all my boxes instead of having to resort to FAT32 or weird VM skipping to stuff files on NTFS. Currently I can do so with ZFS with everything except Windows.

        That's nuts, you still put hard disks in your windows machines? Spin up a zvol on one of your storage boxes and serve it up over iscsi, install windows on that. The FS windows sees will still be NTFS, but you can take snapshots of the underlying zvol, shrink/expand the zvol, etc.

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