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Apple Shuts Down Open Source ZFS Project

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple Shuts Down Open Source ZFS Project

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A notice posted today on Apple's ZFS open source project page indicates that the project has been terminated.
The ZFS project has been discontinued. The mailing list and repository will also be removed shortly.

ZFS is an advanced file system developed by Sun that had been ported to Mac OS X and released as an open source project on Apple's Mac OS Forge collaboration site in 2007. ZFS had been rumored to become the default file system for Mac OS X Leopard, but ultimately appeared with only limited read-only capabilities.

Apple's continued interest in ZFS was indicated by inclusion of the technology in its early product description pages for Snow Leopard Server, although the information was subsequently removed from Apple's site and support for ZFS was not included in either Snow Leopard or Snow Leopard Server upon release.

Several sources later indicated that the lack of ZFS support in Snow Leopard was due to licensing issues with Sun, leaving the future of ZFS uncertain, although Sun's pending acquisition by Oracle left open the possibility that the issue could be revisited in the future.

The apparently complete cessation of Apple's support for the ZFS open source project, however, suggests that the company may have given up hope of achieving satisfactory licensing terms for the technology and redirected its resources elsewhere.

Apple yesterday also posted a new job listing for a file system engineer. While the description includes duties related to "maintenance of existing file systems", it also specifies work in the "design, implementation and support of future file system technologies", suggesting that the company may be expanding its in-house team to develop its own file system technologies rather than pursuing ZFS.

Article Link: Apple Shuts Down Open Source ZFS Project
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 29, 2006
10,925
1,235
Washington DC
At first this sounds bad, but then it seems like Apple is working on their own next-generation file system.

One would presume, this being Apple, that they're going to make sure it has all the advantages of ZFS plus a few more goodies. This might take longer but I'm betting it will be worth it.

Could be the biggest feature of 10.7. :)
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
I'd rather have Apple custom developer their own Filesystem.

ZFS is nice but many of the features it offers are for Enterprise. Apple need only support the really good features and keep their FS light and for speed and functional for their area of computer (consumer, small biz)
 

Mattie Num Nums

macrumors 68030
Mar 5, 2009
2,834
0
USA
This is interesting. This at first seems like a major step back. Though if Apple develops anything close to ZFS we could see another lawsuit.
 

vertgo

macrumors member
Dec 18, 2006
55
13
ZFS was my most anticipated feature of Snow Leopard

I've been dreaming of ZFS for some time, and compared to all of the other features originally promised with Snow Leopard, ZFS was the most interesting from what it could promise to an user.

I hope that this isn't really the end, as I do think HFS+ should be end of life, and putting more lipstick on it is a clunky solution. Apple has had a way of dragging legacy people kicking and screaming into the future, but letting people languish under HFS while ZFS is out there? It's like Microsoft.
 

seashellz

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2004
407
0
i remember that MS had to junk ZFS being included VISTA;
Anyone know if they have it yet-and does it make any real difference in making it a reliable stable system?

also if this is open source-why would SUN be of any concern ?
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,606
855
i remember that MS had to junk ZFS being included VISTA;
Anyone know if they have it yet-and does it make any real difference in making it a reliable stable system?

Uhm... I'm not aware of any plans MSFT had of ZFS ever being included with Windows by default. You might be mistaking it for the WinFS project which still would have used NTFS on the bottom while providing a more user-centric view of their data.

And no, Windows is still using good ol' NTFS.
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,663
4,658
The Peninsula
I've been dreaming of ZFS for some time, and compared to all of the other features originally promised with Snow Leopard, ZFS was the most interesting from what it could promise to an user.

Well, you can look forward to Microsoft's 128-bit filesystem.... ;)
 

exscape

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2008
57
0
Nooooooo :(
Well, there goes a major part of my plan to have my MBP backed up using zfs send/recv on my to-be FreeBSD server (currently just a testing box). :(
 

Morky

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2002
185
138
NYC
i remember that MS had to junk ZFS being included VISTA;
Anyone know if they have it yet-and does it make any real difference in making it a reliable stable system?

No, MS builds or buys its own technologies. They would never license something like ZFS. However, you're right in that MS axed their hotly-anticipated WinFS file system from Vista, which is may be a similar scenario to what we are now seeing with Apple and ZFS. We don't really know whether the Apple/ZFS issue is technical or with licensing.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,161
15,121
Central U.S.
Haha, you guys are funny. If they just now trashed ZFS and had no backup plan and are starting fresh with these new job postings, then there is no way that 10.7 will have this new FS.

However, I tend to believe that Apple was working on something else in at the same time as a failsafe. It would be pretty dumb to put all your eggs in one basket if you're not even sure you'll get the licensing you need. That said, I give Apple a below even chance of about 40% for including this in 10.7. And yes, I'm mainly talking out my ass but doesn't it make sense??
 

idea_hamster

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2003
1,096
1
NYC, or thereabouts
It's kind of sad, but...

I would be very surprised if this didn't have to do with the purchase of Sun by Oracle.

Sun needed licensing revenue since their entire business model was built around developing technology (well, not entire, but alot).

Oracle's business model is about selling ERP solutions to companies' CEOs -- nothing to do with licensing tech. Once Oracle held the keys to ZFS, I think that the deal was a gonner.

Sun's incentive for cash flow was such that they might have struck a deal that was lucrative enough for Apple's tastes (since Apple has been returning big $$$ to investors). Oracle just isn't hungry enough to sell ZFS at a price that Apple's willing to pay.

The (almost) saving grace is that the current state of affairs isn't terrible and Apple (probably) won't inflict some POS filesystem on us. If that's good news, then so be it -- it's better news than the next extension of the iPhone/AT&T tie-up that I'm confident is coming down the pike.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,735
508
Redondo Beach, California
At first this sounds bad, but then it seems like Apple is working on their own next-generation file system.

One would presume, this being Apple, that they're going to make sure it has all the advantages of ZFS plus a few more goodies. This might take longer but I'm betting it will be worth it.

Could be the biggest feature of 10.7. :)

It took Sun a decade to make ZFS work well. Can Apple, starting over do it any faster then Sun? Sun put a great deal of resources into the project not just one engineer. ZFS is one of the reasons you'd run Solaris. But on the other hand does Apple need something so complex. We don't see Mac OS X used in big data centers so I don't see why Aple needs the full up ZFS, something MUCH simler might serve Apple's needs better.

I seriously doubt Apple can make something has "all the advantages of ZFS plus a few more goodies." in only a couple years. They have been trying to port ZFS for a couple years already and still were not done. Starting from scratch is a 10X harder problem.

That said, I give Apple a below even chance of about 40% for including this in 10.7. And yes, I'm mainly talking out my ass but doesn't it make sense??

I've followed the development of several new file systems. Two years is "way not enough" time. Many of the projects fail. You can't even be sure you will finish. I think Microsoft worked for many years on some kind of DBMS based file system to replace NTFS and it seems they just gave up
 

CFreymarc

Suspended
Sep 4, 2009
3,969
1,149
No suprise

After a long disk crawl on Snow Leopard and not seeing this anywhere on the install got me to wonder what would become of this. This announcement with the launch of all the big new hardware not happening doesn't surprise me at all. Yes, there is something else brewing for sure up Cupertino way.
 

backdraft

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2002
329
1
USA
Well maybe they should just port Aqua and Cocoa to FreeBSD. Release 8 will have ZFS production ready and the FreeBSD team is already at work porting Grand Central Dispatch. On top of that FreeBSD has Jails built right in! :D

GCD + FreeBSD
http://www.appleinsider.com/article...for_snow_leopards_grand_central_dispatch.html

ZFS + FreeBSD
http://www.freebsd.org/news/status/report-2009-04-2009-09.html#FreeBSD/ZFS

Jails vs VMware
http://bsd.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/06/02/0043258


I've been dreaming of ZFS for some time, and compared to all of the other features originally promised with Snow Leopard, ZFS was the most interesting from what it could promise to an user.

I hope that this isn't really the end, as I do think HFS+ should be end of life, and putting more lipstick on it is a clunky solution. Apple has had a way of dragging legacy people kicking and screaming into the future, but letting people languish under HFS while ZFS is out there? It's like Microsoft.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Original poster
Aug 29, 2006
10,925
1,235
Washington DC
I seriously doubt Apple can make something has "all the advantages of ZFS plus a few more goodies." in only a couple years.

OS X was secretly running on intel chips YEARS before they decided to switch over. They were working on it in the background, 'just in case.'

What makes you think they're just starting on their next file system now? Just because they were playing around with ZFS? Apple has never been a company to put all their eggs in one basket.

EDIT: And by the way, any of you who wanted ZFS for its more consumer-friendly features, you really should look at buying a Drobo drive: http://www.drobo.com

It has a lot of cool features that will probably keep you happy for the time being.
 

tofagerl

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2006
957
397
How far had they gotten on the ZFS dev previews? AFAIK the reading part was pretty much done, and the writing part wasn't half bad either.
So, if you get one of those, you could still use it...

Well, far more interesting: which features will be used in HFS(2) or whatever they decide to call it? Or will they use BTRFS? Historically I can't recall any cooperation between Apple and the big O (NOT OPERA), but who knows what the future brings.
 

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
Apple hired Dominic Giampaolo years ago folks. Dom wrote the FS for Be OS.

Apple was mainly kicking the tires with ZFS but they in now way ever told anyone that they planned on making ZFS their default FS.

I expect the next FS to boost Time Machine and go to lengths to clean up and preserve metadata handling.

I wouldn't be surprised if it is delivered on 10.7.
 

Blaat Mekker

macrumors member
Sep 19, 2008
36
0
I'd rather have Apple custom developer their own Filesystem.

ZFS is nice but many of the features it offers are for Enterprise. Apple need only support the really good features and keep their FS light and for speed and functional for their area of computer (consumer, small biz)

The main and really good features (volume management, filesystems, snapshot management) are the very useful for enterprises. If you have any things that are only useful for enterprises, please enlighten me.
 

SurfSpirit

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2006
65
0
At least future plans are more concrete!

At first this sounds bad, but then it seems like Apple is working on their own next-generation file system.

One would presume, this being Apple, that they're going to make sure it has all the advantages of ZFS plus a few more goodies. This might take longer but I'm betting it will be worth it.

Could be the biggest feature of 10.7. :)

I have exactly the same opinion!
 
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