2 min

Tags in this article

, , , ,

Canonical will expand its support for ZFS on Ubuntu in Ubuntu 19.10 by adding ZFS on-root as an installation option. The new support is based on the ZFS-on-Linux project, which in turn is based on code ported from OpenSolaris, Sun Microsystems’ open-source operating system.

ZFS on-root basically means that ZFS becomes the core file system for system startup. Ubuntu version 19.10 will be delivered with ZFS on Linux 0.8.1. Ubuntu has long supported ZFS, for use with the LXD container hypervisor, but now ZFS is added on-root as an experimental installation option. There will also be an expandable layout, in case there will be server support later on.

Ubuntu version 19.10, or Eoan, is expected in October. Other features include data integrity checks, built-in RAID, built-in encryption, deduplication and copy-on-write cloning, built-in compression, TRIM support for SSDs, and recovery for storage pools using snapshots. Ubuntu Eoan will have ZFS support in the GRUB menu, including an option to restore the file system to a previous point based on snapshots.

The downside of ZFS is that the configuration is complex and the system requirements are high, especially in terms of working memory. Canonical strives to make ZFS easier to manage, while retaining the ability to improve the system manually. To do this, the team created a new daemon called zsys, which is integrated into GRUB and helps manage complex ZFS layouts. The support for ZFS on root is experimental, and the announcement emphasizes the following: We don’t want to encourage people to already use it on production systems, or at least not without regular backups.

Problems with licenses

ZFS is covered by Sun’s Common Development and Distribution License. There are different sounds about the compatibility of CDDL with the General Public License version 2 (GPLv2), which is used for Linux, according to The Register. In 2016, Canonical’s legal team came to the conclusion that it was allowed to distribute ZFS as an independent kernel module. The Software Freedom Conservancy, a non-profit organization that promotes open-source software, disagreed: CDDLv1 is incompatible with GPLv2, so distribution of the binaryies is not allowed. If ZFS were to be used more with Ubuntu, it is possible that license uncertainty would be an obstacle.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.