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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
58,670
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In June, we noted that Sun's ZFS file system, previously mentioned by Apple as being included in Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard[/url], had been removed from Apple's documentation for the release. The change was ultimately reflected in the released version of Snow Leopard, which does in fact lack support for ZFS.

MacRumors had heard that the removal of support for ZFS, which had even made appearances in Leopard, from Snow Leopard was due to licensing issues, and a recent posting from data storage expert Robin Harris suggests that this may indeed be the case.
But then a couple of sources came in with a new angle: that Sun's licensing demands killed the deal. Sun prefers the CDDL [Common Development and Distribution License] and may have asked for some extra protections, including patent indemnification, that caused Apple to reconsider the business risk of ZFS.
While Sun could elect to release ZFS under a GNU General Public License (GPL) that would enable inclusion of support for it in other settings, the company has yet to do so. Harris notes, however, that Oracle's pending acquisition of Sun could open the door to reconsideration of ZFS licensing issues.
Now that Oracle is acquiring Sun things look brighter. Oracle is already bankrolling a GPL'd ZFS clone - btrfs - that will take years to reach the level of maturity that ZFS now enjoys. Once they own ZFS why wouldn't they GPL it and call it good?
In Harris' view, Sun's apparent reluctance to license ZFS represents a significant missed opportunity for the company and the industry, one which Harris hopes can be rectified in the near future.
The ZFS team has produced a game-changing file system/volume manager. The chance to get it into the hands of 10s of millions of Mac users - and to influence Redmond’s file system strategy - seem to this outsider an opportunity of a lifetime.

If the ZFS engineering team opposed this - and I'd love to hear their take - I encourage them to reconsider. Marketers often ask the question "would you prefer 100% of nothing or 40% of something huge?"

Article Link: Lack of ZFS File System Support in Snow Leopard Due to Licensing Issues?
 

poundsmack

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2005
287
0
GPL'ing ZFS

Sun has had an insteresting run with open sourcing their stuff to the few various licences they are using. The issue they seem to face the most is how to make that open source technology profitable for them. I am not sure if the reluctance to GPL ZFS might have been linked to this issue (since I don't know a ton about CDDL, i can't say if it would make a difference), but I am sure Sun had their reason.

Remember when jonathan schwartz jumped the gun at a press conference and said ZFS would be included in OSX? before Steve got the chance to say it? 20$ says Jobs didn't include it out of spite.

jonathan schwartz: "we're going ot be in apple's OSX!"
Jobs: "...you were. reveal a feature and take away my chance to anounce it will you? see how you like them apples, removed"
jonathan schwartz: (silence)
Jobs: "I have the power!!!1"
 

SydneyDev

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2008
346
0
I don't think it's a lost opportunity. ZFS is an excellent file system and a big selling point for Solaris. Why spend all that money developing it and then just give it away to Apple and others? If I was them I'd make it a feature of Solaris and don't give it to anyone (and I'm a Mac user).
 

parapup

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2006
1,291
49
Bull Crap. There is nothing in the CDDL license that would make Apple think twice about including ZFS in OSX. They shipped it once and continue to ship NTFS which is GPLed and GPL is more restrictive to organizations than CDDL is. And ZFS is even in FreeBSD - so licensing incompatibilities if any would be very minor and definitely not show stoppers.

It is however much more likely that it was dropped purely due to technical issues. ZFS is very intrusive and demanding on the OS infrastructure to be extremely scalable and often some assumptions deep within the OS are challenged by revolutionary stuff like ZFS.

If you look at the FreeBSD ZFS Wiki it is evident that there are a lot of hurdles. Going a little further and reaching over to OpenSolaris forums - it has not been a particularly smooth sailing for Solaris users either. That is very uncommon of Sun and clearly demonstrates the complexities involved.

"Porting" is one thing but "supporting" something like ZFS is not an easy task and perhaps the wise people at Apple realized that ZFS is not your grandma's accounting program and dropped it for now. Expect it to come back once Apple sorts out the issues.
 

theheadguy

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,155
1,379
california
I know that everyone is just smitten with SL but it really pisses me off that apple doesn't speak up about why something like ZFS isn't there. they touted it. it reminds me of the star wars-like backdrop for ichat... That magically never came to fruition either. No wonder their media events are so amazing, they announce features that never arrive. instead of manning up and explaining why, they've got forum users here who will surely offer up excuses for them (see above and below). it just would be nice if they spoke up on their own before media frenzies encourage them to.
 

cswiger1

macrumors member
Feb 9, 2009
59
0
Ok, so I thought I was pretty Mac savvy, but apparently I don’t speak acronym well enough. What does this mean for the end user like me?
 

backdraft

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2002
332
13
USA
Sun has had an insteresting run with open sourcing their stuff to the few various licences they are using. The issue they seem to face the most is how to make that open source technology profitable for them. I am not sure if the reluctance to GPL ZFS might have been linked to this issue (since I don't know a ton about CDDL, i can't say if it would make a difference), but I am sure Sun had their reason.

Remember when jonathan schwartz jumped the gun at a press conference and said ZFS would be included in OSX? before Steve got the chance to say it? 20$ says Jobs didn't include it out of spite.

jonathan schwartz: "we're going ot be in apple's OSX!"
Jobs: "...you were. reveal a feature and take away my chance to anounce it will you? see how you like them apples, removed"
jonathan schwartz: (silence)
Jobs: "I have the power!!!1"

Apple should have bought Sun when it had the chance! Licensing "issues" would be a non-issue
 

twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,307
26
Right side of wrong
man. i've been looking forward to ZFS ever since the rumors that it would be included in Leopard. and it didn't happen, and now not happening with snow leopard either. man
 

Evangelion

macrumors 68040
Jan 10, 2005
3,323
42
ZFS or WinFS....which vaporware will be unceremoniously murdered first?:rolleyes:

Un, ZFS is being used in Solaris as we speak. It's hardly "vaporware".

As to Oracle killing Btrfs in favour of ZFS.... I don't see that happening. Btrfs is designed for Linux, and Linux is #1 priority for Oracle. Shoehorning ZFS in to Linux could be quite difficult, especially when we consider the fact that Btrfs is already in Linux, whereas ZFS is not. There might be a Btrfs v2 down the road that takes the best of ZFS and combines them with best of Btrfs, but that's a different issue altogether.
 

parapup

macrumors 65816
Oct 31, 2006
1,291
49
Ok, so I thought I was pretty Mac savvy, but apparently I don’t speak acronym well enough. What does this mean for the end user like me?

Never have to worry about your data getting corrupted due to hardware problems - ZFS checksums everything, never have to worry about overwriting something and needing the old copy - you have snapshots with ZFS that are way too better and efficient and automatic than Time Machine ever will be, never have to worry about the complexities of replacing disks - there is redundancy at software level if you throw multiple disks and you can easily offline bad disks from the pool and put in new ones - expensive hardware RAID for free made easy!
 

OriginalMacRat

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2007
591
863
Dtrace in Xcode is CDDL also

Note that Sun's open source technology Dtrace is currently in Xcode and is also under the CDDL license.

Apple likes the CDDL license.

MacRumors really shouldn't repost articles from a clueless crackpot.
 

Evangelion

macrumors 68040
Jan 10, 2005
3,323
42
Note that Sun's open source technology Dtrace is currently in Xcode and is also under the CDDL license.

Apple likes the CDDL license.

MacRumors really shouldn't repost articles from a clueless crackpot.

It seems to me that this isn't a case of Apple not liking CDDL, but rather, Sun wanting more guarantees from Apple.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,943
803
Redondo Beach, California
I don't think it's a lost opportunity. ZFS is an excellent file system and a big selling point for Solaris. Why spend all that money developing it and then just give it away to Apple and others? If I was them I'd make it a feature of Solaris and don't give it to anyone (and I'm a Mac user).

Solaris itself is free. Anyone can download it. How does Sun make more money by causing even more people to download a free copy of Solaris?

The way they make money on free software is from service. They are the experts and people come to them for tech suport and consulting. The more widely used their software is the more potential service and support customers they have.

Also some people who will install ZFS in Apple hardware may outgrow apple hardware. Apple's top end servers are matched up to Sun's entry level servers. Getting people "hooked" on ZFS will make Sun's Solaris based servers more attractive to them when they outgrow Apple hardware.
 
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