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Apple shuts down ZFS open source project - Page 2

post #41 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

No such thing, it's called XRAID.
This is typical Apple, and that is exactly the kind of half-baked promises that keeps IT people far away from Apple.

No. Answers for what keep IT people away from apple could include but are not limited to:

Problematic NFS implementation

High cost for compute nodes make clustering impractical

Lack of consistency in usage of config files

Lack of low-cost entry to the server side of things (this just changed, so we'll see how it effects things)
---
All of those could have been trotted out as arguments against apple's adoption in the machine room without argument from me.

A lack of a disc array in the product line up and the use of HFS+ as a file system really aren't generally why Apple isnt chosen.
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post #42 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by aplnub View Post

I highly doubt the file system is what keeps IT people away.

Probably more to do with all their MSCE accreditations, surf the web job, etc. Yeah, and change is really hard for most people.


The mistake was made back in the John Scully days. Thus allowing Microsoft to pretty much go unchallenged and establish itself and it's standards in the industry.

You don't become head of Pepsi and take market share from Coke unless your a real treacherous SOB.
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post #43 of 73
It's already odd enough Apple participated in ZFS development. ZFS has nothing to do with small home entertainment & leisure systems. It targets clusters and networks, so Oracle are obviously right guys to pick it up now.
On the other hand, this may mean Apple abandon for ever any initiatives to step seriously in the corporate segment of IT.

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post #44 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by trboyden View Post

The patent issue(s) would seem to be a non-issue according to the terms of the CDDL which ZFS is licensed under:

Somehow I have a really strong feeling that if someone wants to sue someone else then some silly words in a license agreement are NOT going to stop them. ESPECIALLY when ONE or more of the parties had no participation in (the license) to begin with. I mean seriously, what exactly would the Apple lawyers do?! Hold up this piece of paper and say 'HEY WAIT THEY CAN'T SUE US' it says so right here.

What saddens me most is I've been running ZFS on my Mac for about 5/6 months now and its seriously kickass stuff, even at the early stage of the code (and no GUI support). I'm certainly gonna miss it now that the door is officially closed on the project.

However I might be tempted to build a Solaris or BSD box and transfer my file services over.
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post #45 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

It's already odd enough Apple participated in ZFS development. ZFS has nothing to do with small home entertainment & leisure systems. It targets clusters and networks, so Oracle are obviously right guys to pick it up now.
On the other hand, this may mean Apple abandon for ever any initiatives to step seriously in the corporate segment of IT.

All had to do with PPC, once the processor industry hit the thermal wall, that was it.

IBM bailed and that was that.

No use going with ZFS if your not selling any hardware better than Intel.

Yep, no more Mac supercomputers.
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post #46 of 73
As disappointed in this news as I am, we really don't have enough information about the goals of the zfs project to make a judgment about its application. Between 10.5 and 10.6 those fs needs have probably changed due to what I read on MacRumors forums in the same discussion. Due to Google's Chrome OS, OS developers are rethinking/retargeting development. I think inside Apple there has been a re-evaluation of their fs needs. Apple has 2 kinds of needs, 1.) their own iTunes and App Store that needs mass servers, and 2.) the fs needs of the basic Mac a single person has. ZFS may have become an internal project only, used just for Apple servers to provide the services they need. The development of ZFS, however, may have imparted knowledge on ways to streamline and simplify HFS+, making it a modern fs. Combine that with cloud services, the end user like me gets the snapshot, redundancy, and efficiency feature of ZFS without having to worry about the transition, and Apple gets its online services problem solve through pooled storage. I think the line of prototype thought I'm promoting is a possible explanation, but
post #47 of 73
Thanks for info, MacTripper!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

All had to do with PPC, once the processor industry hit the thermal wall, that was it.
IBM bailed and that was that.

It's a bit unexpected then, that Apple fell in romance with ZFS after they had actually been done with PPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

No use going with ZFS if your not selling any hardware better than Intel.
Yep, no more Mac supercomputers.

Way to go Nvidia! Have any mac supercomputers ever been dreamed of?

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post #48 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by trboyden View Post

The patent issue(s) would seem to be a non-issue according to the terms of the CDDL which ZFS is licensed under:



So, as far as Apple is concerned, NetApp wouldn't have any judicial standing suing Apple for using ZFS, they'd have to go after Sun or Oracle (once the acquisition is complete). Yes, any court decisions could affect Apple downstream in the long run, but this could be the case for any GPL, BSD, or other Open Source software or libraries used by Apple and others. It's a known and accepted risk of doing business in the software world today and is the primary reason why software patents need to be voided in general. This is why Linux supports so many filesystems out of the box - there is always a fallback with a relatively painless migration path in case of an issue - legal or technical-wise.

Apple shouldn't be so hast in their decision, ZFS is still a great file system especially from a storage perspective with its inherit robustness and disaster recovery capabilities. NTFS and HFS(+) do not nearly compare with ZFS's feature set.

However, I don't understand why Apple doesn't just adopt ext2/3 like just about every other Linux system out there or UFS1/2 like the BSDs if they want to be more like them architecturally-wise. Of course it really wouldn't matter what they used if they adopted Fuse in the first place.

I would imagine that Apple's large legal team, with a lot of experience in this area, knows what it's doing. They also have access to real experts in the area to ask advice from where they may need it.

Our speculation about whether or not, legally, this is a good idea is really a waste of time.

We can bemoan its disappearance from Apples' plate, as I do also, but they are obviously the best judge as to why it had to be done.
post #49 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by seek3r View Post

No. Answers for what keep IT people away from apple could include but are not limited to:

You forgot the childish cloak and dagger way they deal with hardware and software roadmaps. Sure it's okay to do that for us in the peanut gallery but corporations need to know as FAR in advance as possible what will be coming out (when it comes to products that would impact THEIR business).

- OS X (client / server) YES
- Xserver YES
- ARA YES
- iPhone YES
- Hardware iMacs / Mac Pros / Laptops etc YES

- Previously unknown hardware (tablet) YES

- AppleTV no
- iLife... no
- iPods no

Apple (well the Apple I knew from a few years ago) was just as cat and mouse when it came to their roadmaps as they are with developers as the are with the public... They are a joke in the eyes of many IT managers.
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post #50 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Apple abandon for ever any initiatives to step seriously in the corporate segment of IT.

Somehow I don't think ZFS would even begin to RIGHT all the WRONGS Apple is famous/infamous for in the IT circles.
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post #51 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

They also cancelled the "make-a-real-mouse" project.

This is a pity, ZFS looked promising for Apple. It's not the worst thing Apple has done lately though, not adding an SSD option for the new iMac took the biscuit. People who defend Apple on this need to seriously take a loot at their fanboy status. The word is: OPTIONAL!!!

It's not exactly specific to this thread, but now I shall take a look at adding an SSD to my 24" iMac. I'm doing it this time for definite.

Intel hasn't exactly launched the Postville X-25 series smoothly. Production issues have hampered delivery schedules and that's likely a reason why they aren't being OEM'd by larger vendors who can't afford late delivery on a SSD to hold up a sale. Let us know how your SSD improves performance. I'm not buying a new Mac without going SSD personally.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MShock View Post

As disappointed in this news as I am, we really don't have enough information about the goals of the zfs project to make a judgment about its application. Between 10.5 and 10.6 those fs needs have probably changed due to what I read on MacRumors forums in the same discussion. Due to Google's Chrome OS, OS developers are rethinking/retargeting development. I think inside Apple there has been a re-evaluation of their fs needs. Apple has 2 kinds of needs, 1.) their own iTunes and App Store that needs mass servers, and 2.) the fs needs of the basic Mac a single person has. ZFS may have become an internal project only, used just for Apple servers to provide the services they need. The development of ZFS, however, may have imparted knowledge on ways to streamline and simplify HFS+, making it a modern fs. Combine that with cloud services, the end user like me gets the snapshot, redundancy, and efficiency feature of ZFS without having to worry about the transition, and Apple gets its online services problem solve through pooled storage. I think the line of prototype thought I'm promoting is a possible explanation, but

I agree with this. Apple's needs are actually divergent from the needs of companies that can really benefit from ZFS. Apple could benefit from a filesystem that is well balanced between lightweight and fast (think portable applications) yet delivers the security (encryption) and metadata and checksumming features needed for their consumer focus. I think they looked at ZFS and then probably decided they'd keep working on their own solution. I'd be shocked if they don't have something out by 10.7. It's not like they stopped work on their homegrown fs to take on ZFS.
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post #52 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by trboyden View Post

The patent issue(s) would seem to be a non-issue according to the terms of the CDDL which ZFS is licensed under
...
So, as far as Apple is concerned, NetApp wouldn't have any judicial standing suing Apple for using ZFS, they'd have to go after Sun or Oracle (once the acquisition is complete)

You are misinterpreting the license. CDDL offers no such protection (nor could it ever).

The CDDL is saying "if you use this software in your products, (1) we promise not to enforce our patents on you, and (2) you must promise the same for others who use it." This means if Apple uses ZFS in a product, Sun/Oracle cannot sue Apple, and Apple cannot sue other users of ZFS.

Since NetApp is not using ZFS code themselves, the license does not apply to them. NetApp would be free to sue Apple directly, and Sun/Oracle would not be obligated to defend Apple in any way. (Sun does however, indemnify its own server customers from patent litigation.)
post #53 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Somehow I don't think ZFS would even begin to RIGHT all the WRONGS Apple is famous/infamous for in the IT circles.

Ummm... OK, Apple gained little success in network administration circles, that's right. Yet Apple used to create products, which may pass for a remedy for their reputation. Not to borrow those from someone else.

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post #54 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Thanks for info, MacTripper!


It's a bit unexpected then, that Apple fell in romance with ZFS after they had actually been done with PPC.


Way to go Nvidia! Have any mac supercomputers ever been dreamed of?

You jest, but: System X/G - Apple and VA tech's subsidized occasional top500 supercomputer
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post #55 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

You forgot the childish cloak and dagger way they deal with hardware and software roadmaps. Sure it's okay to do that for us in the peanut gallery but corporations need to know as FAR in advance as possible what will be coming out (when it comes to products that would impact THEIR business).

Point taken, that's proably the most important reason anyone could mention. I did CMA with "not limited too" though :-p
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post #56 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by seek3r View Post

You jest, but: System X/G - Apple and VA tech's subsidized occasional top500 supercomputer

Mea culpa! I didn't care to look through the pages with numbers greater than 5. And the system, having been ranked 282 of 500, appeared to be on 6th.

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post #57 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Mea culpa! I didn't care to look through the pages with numbers greater than 5. And the system, having been ranked 282 of 500, appeared to be on 6th.

::grins::, just pointing out that *someone* was crazy enough to do it!

For what it's worth I dont believe either X nor it's mac pro based successor, G, appear on the current top500, but they do exist :-p

In general though apple hardware really isnt well suited to that environment, where they lack the density and definitely the performance/density/price to compete (and that's even getting started on software)
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post #58 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by seek3r View Post

::grins::, just pointing out that *someone* was crazy enough to do it!

For what it's worth I dont believe either X nor it's mac pro based successor, G, appear on the current top500, but they do exist :-p

In general though apple hardware really isnt well suited to that environment, where they lack the density and definitely the performance/density/price to compete (and that's even getting started on software)

It's written in black and white there: "home-built cluster" (what we else call diminutively "home-brew"). I meant industrially useful systems.

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post #59 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Thanks for info, MacTripper!


It's a bit unexpected then, that Apple fell in romance with ZFS after they had actually been done with PPC.

Like Apple is a jet ski that can turn on a dime.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Way to go Nvidia! Have any mac supercomputers ever been dreamed of?

Dreamed, completed and scored in the top ten for that time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mac...percomputer%29

Then there was one that was done for the military, classified about it's speed. Larger that System X.
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post #60 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

It's written in black and white there: "home-built cluster" (what we else call diminutively "home-brew"). I meant industrially useful systems.

Well, it is a research cluster, used in a production environment.

They mean home built as in not a directly and wholly supplied solution, and G is the "most advanced network of power and thermal sensors ever assembled in this type of machine" which is neat.

OTOH the only reason it was possible it seems was highly subsidized hardware from apple and, I suspect, "free" power - in most large research unis that I've ever heard this come up (including where I am, at Stony Brook) power is considered part of the general university operating budget, not charged to depts.

But yeah, you're still pretty much right. No one is providing this as a commercial solution because, outside the above environment, it's utterly impractical!

I really wish Apple *would* try for that market, with their engineers and their new-found focus on parallel optimization I've a feeling theyd come up with something impressive :-(
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post #61 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

Like Apple is a jet ski that can turn on a dime.

Kinda. No, I still don't believe Apple would go in supercomputing further, than to some students' experiments. What looks more probable to me is they might have had some prospects of developing OS X Server into serious and recognized server platform.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

Dreamed, completed and scored in the top ten for that time.

Already fixed.

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post #62 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Kinda. No, I still don't believe Apple would go in supercomputing further, than to some students' experiments. What looks more probable to me is they might have had some prospects of developing OS X Server into serious and recognized server platform.

I agree about the supercomputing, more's the pity, be nice to see OSX Server even more robust though :-D.

Heh, I'll be at the top500 announcement in portland in Nov, we'll see if they announce an Apple machine in the new list
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post #63 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by seek3r View Post

I really wish Apple *would* try for that market, with their engineers and their new-found focus on parallel optimization I've a feeling theyd come up with something impressive :-(

Show them moolah.

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post #64 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Show them moolah.

Yes, oh Tom Cruise! :-p
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post #65 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by seek3r View Post

Yes, oh Tom Cruise! :-p

Other-day partners of actress, who interpreted a role in "Moulin Rouge", may also get some credits Sorry, no offence at all

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post #66 of 73
R.I.P. ZFS. We hardly knew thee. Yea, shall you rest in peace and may your soul be replaced by some wicked kick-ass piece of technology.
post #67 of 73
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post #68 of 73
http://devwhy.blogspot.com/2009/10/loss-of-zfs.html

------------------------------------------------

The loss of ZFS

Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Posted by Louis Gerbarg

Well, in case you haven't read any of the myriad stories about it, it appears that Apple has decided not to use ZFS on Mac OS X. Gruber has sources that say it was primarily licensing concerns, which is consistent with what people have implied to me, both recently, and around WWDC (although at that time I think there was probably still hope of resolving the issues).

Now, some people jump may comment that it couldn't be licensing issues, since ZFS is opensource (under the CDDL), and that Apple already uses CDDL software (DTrace). That may be true, but often in deals that involve large companies there is more to it than that. Apple may have wanted guarantees of indemnification in the NetApp lawsuit. Maybe it wanted guarantees that certain modifications it wanted to make would be accepted upstream, or even to get Sun to make certain changes. It also might have wanted additional distribution rights that were not granted under the CDDL. It is typical for companies to negotiate custom agreements in such cases (and for some money to change hands), so the idea that licensing issues are why it fell through is entirely reasonable, even though it is an opensource product. Obviously Sun's steady decline in the market place, and the uncertainty caused by the Oracle acquisition may have greatly complicated any such negotiations.

Why not do a new filesystem?

Apple has a lot of talented file system engineers. They are certainly capable of doing something comparable to ZFS, at least for their target market. The problem with developing a new modern filesystem is that it generally takes longer than a single OS release cycle. Most companies are really bad at having large teams focused on projects that will not ship in the next version of the project they are working on.

This is a particularly acute problem at Apple, which traditionally has done things with very few engineers. I don't want to get into exact numbers, but I recall having a discussion with the head of a university FS team who was discussing the FS he was working on. He was pitching it to a group of Apple engineers. It was some interesting work, but there were some unsolved problems. When he was asked about them he commented that they didn't have enough people to deal with them, but he had some ideas and it shouldn't be an issue for a company with a real FS team. It turned out his research team had about the same number of people working on their FS as Apple had working on HFS, HFS+, UFS, NFS, WebDAV, FAT, and NTFS combined. I think people don't appreciate how productive Apple is on a per-engineer basis. The downside of that is that sometimes it is hard to find the resources to do something large and time consuming, particularly when it is not something that most users will notice in a direct sense. That is especially true if senior management is not excited about the idea.

Because of that, I was fairly convinced ZFS was a credible future primary FS for Apple. Not because it was an optimal design for them (it isn't), but because it was a lot less work than doing a new design from scratch. The fact its fundamental architecture is 20 years newer than HFS meant it would still be better than HFS+ in almost all respects even if it was not designed for Apple's exact needs. Clearly I was wrong, since Apple has stopped the ZFS project.

What changed?

Well, a couple of things have happened. The first is that Mac OS X has gotten more mature. They no longer need to port all of those FSes, they already have them working, and in most cases they work fairly well. That frees up some engineers. Apple has also greatly expanded the number of people working on their kernel work on some parts of it can be amortized over many different products (Mac OS X, iPhone, AppleTV, etc).

Suddenly the notion of doing a new filesystem seems doable, so long as it is a real priority and the FS team doesn't get pulled to keep adding features or doing major work to legacy FSes. That is still a lot of work when Apple had ZFS approaching production quality on OS X.

Apple can do better than ZFS

Sun calls ZFS "The Last Word in Filesystems", but that is hyperbole. ZFS is one of the first widely deployed copy on write FSes. That certainly makes it a tremendous improvement over existing FSes, but pioneers are the ones with arrows in their back. By looking at ZFS's development it is certainly possible to identify mistakes that they made, and ways to do things better if one were to start from scratch. From where I sit, there are 3 obvious ways doing a new FS will be better for Apple than ZFS:

There are has been new fundamental research since ZFS was designed that simplifies many of the issues involved with it. In particular the "B-trees, Shadowing, and Clones" (PDF). That paper is the basis for the design of BtrFS, which has a very similar feature set to ZFS, but internally is entirely different. LWN has an article about BtrFS that explains the significance in some detail (it is written Valerie Aurora, who worked on ZFS at Sun).

ZFS was designed for the storage interfaces available a decade ago. Spinning disks are going to be with us for a long time, especially for bulk storage in data centers and on backup devices. The future is all about solid state. Flash SSDs have significantly different performance characteristics than spinning media, and there may be FS design decisions one could make that would benefit from that. Now, any FS Apple designs will have to work acceptably on traditional drives, but if they are designing for the future then flash is where to be. ZFS has had some optimization work for flash, but it is all in terms of using flash as part of a storage hierarchy. That makes completely makes sense, since ZFS's primary deployment targets are high-end systems and data center storage. Those systems have multiple drives, so the idea of separate flash drives for a ZIL and L2ARC are completely reasonable. Most consumers have one drive in their system, and maybe an external drive for bulk data, data exchange, and backup.

That brings up the last point. ZFS is designed for big systems. It works on small systems, but most of the tradeoffs favor very large computers, with lots of drives. This shows up in a number of ways. The first is that ZFS is not currently capable of adding single drives to an existing vdev or migrating vdevs between various types (mirror, raidz, raidz2). This is a major feature for smaller users who might want to add a single drive, but is a non-issue for data center users who tend to add large number of drives all at once, since they will add whole vdevs. Another issue is that ZFS assumes you have a lot of ram. NEC has been doing a port of OpenSolaris to ARM, and they determined they could not get ZFS to use less than 8 megabytes of ram without making incompatible format changes (Compacted ZFS). With those changes they could squeeze it into a more reasonable 2 megabytes. On a desktop that doesn't seem like a big deal, but on an iPhone 3G or a Time Capsule 8MB of wired memory is an enormous issue.


The only major downside is that if Apple is just starting on a next generation FS now it could be a long time before we get our hands on it.

But now we are going to have another incompatible next generation filesystem

Wolf brought this up during some of the ZFS talk on twitter yesterday. My general opinion is that it doesn't matter. People use drives for two largely unrelated tasks. One is running their computers. This is fixed storage. The other is for data exchange. In the old days people used floppies for their sneakernet media, which made the situation much simpler to understand. In recent years the market realities have caused people to move to using SD cards, thumbdrives, and hard drives as the exchange medium of sneakernet.

The important point is that understand is that while the physical devices may be the same, the use model is different, just as the use of a floppy disk and an internal hard drive were different. Nobody would balk at the notion that floppies should use different FSes than internal drives. Likewise, most people shouldn't care that their external drives are formatted differently than their internal drives.

There are complicated features you want for your boot drives and system disks. Ideally you could have them on your interchange disks, but there are other features that are more important, particularly interoperability, and simplicity. ZFS didn't bring either of those. There might have been a few people who were psyched to be able to use ZFS to share disks between a Mac and a Solaris or FreeBSD box, but honestly those people are few and far between. Whether Apple used ZFS or something else it is just as interoperable with Linux and Windows (which is to say, not at all). So that fact that Apple looks to be doing a new FS does not impact interoperability in any real sense.

The other feature you really want for an interchange FS is simplicity. There are a lot of devices out there that use an FS to communicate with a computer. The simplest example is a digital camera via its media cards, but there are many others. Something like ZFS is way to complex for those devices, and honestly most of the features of ZFS like multiple drive support and snapshots are useless since the devices don't have the physical interconnects or user interfaces to expose those features. There is certainly an argument to made that we could use something a bit better than FAT32 or exFAT as that format, but ZFS was not the right solution for that.

In other words, for that disk you want to use as an external drive to drag between computers you don't want something like ZFS, you want something that is simple enough that a firmware engineer can write a read-only implementation from the specs in less than a week. For the disk embedded in your computer (operationally or literally) you want something like ZFS, but it doesn't matter if it is interoperable with anything else because you won't be moving it between systems.

This is basically how Windows works. Microsoft generally uses NTFS for internal drives, but FAT for external drives. Ultimately somebody should design a filesystem explicitly for use as an interchange format and license it for free, then everyone can deal with their internal FSes and do what makes the most sense for their OSes and markets.
post #69 of 73
Personally, I wouldn't mind if Apple replaced HFS with, say, some offspring of XFS... But ZFS got definitely no worthy mission in Macland.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #70 of 73
Jeff Bonwick Confirms That Apple Abandoned ZFS Over Licensing Issues.

Bonwick is the lead developer of ZFS at Sun.

http://mail.opensolaris.org/pipermai...er/033125.html
post #71 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Jeff Bonwick Confirms That Apple Abandoned ZFS Over Licensing Issues.

Bonwick is the lead developer of ZFS at Sun.

http://mail.opensolaris.org/pipermai...er/033125.html

It sounds like CDDL allows Apple to continue to develop and utilize ZFS on their own. Could this mean that it may be the foundation for the future of Mac OS X?
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #72 of 73
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post #73 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

You don't become head of Pepsi and take market share from Coke unless your a real treacherous SOB.

EXACTLY!

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