Native ZFS for Linux Coming (and Other ZFS News)

Two different projects are in full swing developing a native port of the ZFS file system to Linux. Currently, the only available ZFS for Linux is based on FUSE (running file systems in user space, not kernel space). Running with FUSE means a significant penalty in speed.

One ZFS project is being done at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and is driven by Brian Behlendorf; the other project is being done by KQ Infotech. OSNews had a good article about the LLNL project.

Phoronix is reporting that KQ Infotech announced they would be releasing source code in September. Unfortunately, the project apparently only supports 64-bit Linux, and does not support data de-duplication and other newer features.

The writer is also unimpressed by ZFS overall; there is mention of BtrFS as being better. What is truly interesting is that both file systems are now are under the Oracle umbrella – BtrFS since the beginning, and ZFS as part of the Sun acquisition.

On top of this, Oracle and NetApp have resolved the lawsuit over ZFS, removing the clouds that had hung over ZFS.

These are interesting times for ZFS. If you don’t understand what the fuss is all about, Paul Rubens has a quick overview, and Sun’s ZFS team has an excellent slide presentation on ZFS. There are more ZFS resources available from the OpenSolaris ZFS Community.

OpenSolaris is Officially Dead

We saw this coming.

As of 23 August 2010, the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) has stepped down; Ben Rockwood posted the resolution on his blog.

Oracle’s previous email to staff shows that Oracle has no interest in keeping OpenSolaris going, and now there is no one minding the store.

The next step lies with Illumos, the new torch-bearer for open source Solaris. Nexenta, the commercial UNIX based on OpenSolaris and a GNU userland will probably be the first to use Illumos (the project has close ties to Nexenta) – and Belenix may be next, although Belenix development seems to be quite slow (there is no corporate sponsorship and the community seems to be small). Belenix has the tougher problem, as they use a Solaris-based userland.

Oracle’s Plans for OpenSolaris Murkier than Ever

The controversy around the future of OpenSolaris has been building to a fever pitch these last few weeks, most recently leading to the creation of Illumos, a new open source kernel tree based on the open source portions of OpenSolaris.

Way back in July of 2009, Steven Vaughn-Nichols suggested that OpenSolaris would wither on the vine through deliberate neglect by Oracle – and this seems to be happening (whereas his prediction of the same treatment for MySQL and VirtualBox seems to be misplaced). Then in February of 2010, Ben Rockwood wrote an open letter to Oracle about the future of Solaris and OpenSolaris.

Oracle’s most recent response (during an interview with ServerWatch) has been to state that development on Solaris continues apace, and that Solaris 11 is due out by the end of 2011. Most notable was the lack of any discussion on the future of OpenSolaris.

A few months ago, the OpenSolaris Governing Board – in effect, the people in charge of the details of operating the OpenSolaris community and its resources – are willing to resign en masse if Oracle does not talk to them; Peter Tribble (a member of the OpenSolaris Governing Board) talks about this action in his blog.

I agree with those that say that Oracle can do what it likes, and the threat made by the board is empty – not because of the threat itself, but because it will accomplish nothing, and has no effect on Oracle. If Oracle wants OpenSolaris to go away, it doesn’t matter what the OpenSolaris community thinks. The Governing Board simply has no leverage with Oracle.

No word on how this action will affect Belenix; while Nexenta is basically the OpenSolaris kernel plus a Debian/GNU userland, Belenix is an OpenSolaris kernel plus a mostly Solaris userland. The primary founder of Belenix (Moinak Ghosh) is on the OpenSolaris board; one of the other developers (Sriram Narayanan?) blogged about the board’s action shortly after it was taken in July. Perhaps Belenix would use the Illumos kernel as well?

However, the prospect of OpenSolaris living on in the form of Illumos is promising, and technologies that are part of the open source OpenSolaris will not be lost. Nexenta has already stated its interest in Illumos; this is perhaps because Nexenta relies on OpenSolaris (with its now doubtful future) for its kernel. Thus, it is perhaps no surprise that a Nexenta engineer is the driving force behind Illumos, and neither is it a surprise that Illumos is currently a kernel only.

So now – how long before we see a Debian/Illumos project? Or is that Nexenta now?

CommunityOne West: June 1-3 2009

Sun is holding its CommunityOne West conference at the Moscone Center June 1-3 in San Francisco, California.

Sounds like there will be a wide range of Solaris and Open Source topics, including virtualization, system management, cloud development, mobile development, web development, and much more.

The OpenSolaris community will be there in force, so don’t miss it!

This is one of the first conferences since Oracle announced their acquisition of Sun; it would be interesting to be plugged into the rumour mill on the floor.

Did anyone go to CommunityOne East in New York City?

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OpenSolaris 2008.05

OpenSolaris 2008.05 (for x86) was released earlier this month, along with a new OpenSolaris web site (which to me bears more than a passing resemblence to the OpenSUSE web site). I don’t know the difference between that web site and, but somebody must think its worth it.

I’ve already ordered my CD of OpenSolaris 2008.05; now to find something to run it on. Alright already, so that’s backwards – but I’m always trying the new UNIX versions. And why not? This is an excellent way to find out what is likely to be in Solaris 11.

The CD of OpenSolaris 2008.05 is also a live CD, which means you can try it out anywhere the operating system can run: just reboot with the CDROM in the drive.

Jason Perlow of ZDNet wrote a nice review article titled OpenSolaris: What Ubuntu wants to be when it grows up on May 5, 2008. It isn’t a step by step technical review, but it is good nonetheless. Another review was recently written by Ashwin Bhat K S about his experiences with OpenSolaris 2008.05. He used a laptop, so this review is doubly interesting. There is another review by Milind Arun Choudhary which talks about installing OpenSolaris (Nexenta, actually) into a VirtualBox virtual machine under MacOS X.

I can only hope that OpenSolaris driver support will improve; last time I installed it onto a current laptop it had no wifi connectivity and no network connectivity because of missing drivers. Is it any surprise then that Ashwin’s first recommendation is more network drivers and more wifi drivers?

Update: Another person has done up a nice article about installing OpenSolaris 2008.05 – their first and only post apparently!