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Sun CEO Says ZFS Will Be 'the File System' for OSX 384

Posted by Zonk
from the so-happy-together dept.
Fjan11 writes "Sun's Jonathan Schwartz has announced that Apple will be making ZFS 'the file system' in Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. It's possible that Leopard's Time Machine feature will require ZFS to run, because ZFS has back-up and snapshots build right in to the filesystem as well as a host of other features. 'Rumors of Apple's interest in ZFS began in April 2006, when an OpenSolaris mailing list revealed that Apple had contacted Sun regarding porting ZFS to OS 10. The file system later began making appearances in Leopard builds. ZFS has a long list of improvements over Apple's current file system, Journaled HFS+.'"
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Sun CEO Says ZFS Will Be 'the File System' for OSX

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:43AM (#19424335)
    But they killed that project.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dch24 (904899)
      As a linux user, I have found good use for ReiserFS. However, I've been asked time and again "why doesn't my iPod work with Windows"? If they move to an open source file system, iTunes for Windows could easily include a ZFS driver. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but some sort of ZFS driver is in the Linux kernel, and Sun is open sourcing Solaris.)

      I like having an mp3 player that doubles as a backup device for my important files. But some of my files are > 4Gb, so FAT32 doesn't work.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by soleblaze (628864)
        ZFS cannot be added to the linux kernel due to licensing issues. However, there is work being done on a FUSE module for ZFS support. Though I'm not sure if it'll be worth using for anything more than accessing existing ZFS partitions.
        • ZFS for FUSE (Score:3, Informative)

          by piojo (995934)
          I am using ZFS-FUSE right now. On my gentoo system, many partitions are zfs, including /home, /var/tmp, /usr/share, /usr/portage, and /opt

          Because I have suffered some random corruptions in the past, even with ext3 ("This mp3 didn't used to have a skip there!"), I wanted the checksumming so that I can tell when I need to restore something from a backup.

          As a filesystem, it works completely, including creation of new filesystems, compression, checksums, etc. However, I've noticed a decrease in my system's gene
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by morcego (260031)

            I've noticed a decrease in my system's general performance since installing zfs


            A user space filesystem is not something I would expect performance from.
      • by brunascle (994197) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:09PM (#19424767)

        Correct me if I'm wrong, but some sort of ZFS driver is in the Linux kernel
        i dont think there is (could be wrong). something about a licensing problem. but apparently some people have gotten it to work in linux using FUSE [wikipedia.org]. (more info [blogspot.com])
      • by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot@gotnate . c om> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:12PM (#19424827) Journal

        If they move to an open source file system, iTunes for Windows could easily include a ZFS driver.

        and since apple has all the rights and source to HFS(+)(Journaled) they can just as easily write a windows driver for it as well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by aled (228417)

      But they killed that project.


      This is Slashdot. We do not say "they killed the project". We say "but BSD/OpenSolaris/ZFS/etc is dead".
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:11PM (#19424801)
      You know, having a project like that canceled is very stressful for developers. It must have been murder on their families, too.

      Oh God. I can't sign my name to that.
    • There is no need to 'stick the knife' in! ;-)
  • by dsginter (104154) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:44AM (#19424347)
    Mmmm... Boiled Oceans!
  • I'm giving odds... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Telephone Sanitizer (989116) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:46AM (#19424375)
    Well, not in THIS forum. But elsewhere.

    5:1 that it's not the default root file system in Leopard.

    The first bootable release of ZFS (not "BUILD," but "RELEASE") isn't even due until the Fall.

    I'm not alone in this skepticism. See this Ars story, for example.
    http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/06/ 06/sun-ceo-jonathan-schwartz-zfs-to-be-the-file-sy stem-in-leopard [arstechnica.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vellmont (569020)

      5:1 that it's not the default root file system in Leopard.

      It would be foolish to make any new technology that touches so many other applications and parts of the OS the default when you don't have to. It's much smarter to make it an option and try to shake out any problems that arise. Then make it the default at a later date.

      • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:44PM (#19425369)
        Are you kidding? This is ZFS we're talking about.

        ZFS is several orders of magnitude better at streaming large files like are used in video editing, which is already a huge draw for Macs. Since it is copy-on-write, writes are done without seeking so are very fast and can be spread out across multiple drives in parallel. IIRC within a zfs pool (collection of drives) you can make different 'filesystems' mirrored or striped, so you can have a /video that is striped and ultra-fast whereas /home is mirrored and fault-tolerant.

        You can take your 100gb video and instantly say 'snapshot this' then make any number of changes to it and if you don't like it just revert back again. Contrast to every other filesystem (besides spirolog) where you have to make a 100gb copy as a backup -- which takes forever, so nobody does it unless they have to.

        You can drop in a new drive and say 'use this drive' and your existing filesystem instantly has more space available and it is more fault tolerant or faster or both. If you want to remove a drive you say 'dont use this drive' and you can still use the OS normally while it moves data off to other drives.

        Something like ZFS, that "touches so many other applications and parts of the OS" has to be the default. Otherwise you have to support two completely different ways of using the system. And that bloat and complication costs a lot more than just getting it right through extensive testing. If you are really worried about it, don't upgrade the OS for a while.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Vellmont (569020)

          Are you kidding? This is ZFS we're talking about.

          Right, I'm sure it won't wind up breaking some important application at the expense of adding a wiz-bang feature that 95% of the users couldn't care less about.

          I'm not a Mac user, but even if I could (maybe I can) add ZFS to my Linux workstation I wouldn't. I prefer stable and reliable over untested new features. I think most people feel the same way, so making the default something else makes a lot of sense. If ZFS is as great as you say, it will eventual
          • by jellomizer (103300) * on Thursday June 07, 2007 @01:15PM (#19425807)
            If you were a Mac User you realize that Apple does stuff like this a lot, and they are quite good at it too.

            The Move from Classic (OS 9) to OS X forced people to Recompile/Port or Die from obsoleteness modernized almost all the software for Mac OS X. This removed a lot of Old Hacky code from the code base and forced developers to follow a more modern programming style.

            Next it was the move from Power PC to Intel. This once again required a full recompile but this time is assured that the recompile was with their own development tools. So more hacky code was removed and replaced with more standardized system calls.

            Now with ZFS on Mac OS X it is more likely that most things will work just fine with ZFS because Apple Knows what most of the calls to the OS will be. And the bulk of the legicy code has been updated.

            Windows, Linux and traditional Unix OS Devlopers don't normally Break Compatibility so often so their hacks to work around a shortfall in an OLD version of the OS holds threw to the following versions of their software on newer versions of the OS. So migrating OS ZFS on Linux is much more risky then moving to ZFS on OS X.

            But it is a trade off of getting Modern Software and paying more $$$ for the software. or Pay less for the software but make it hard to upgrade to a better system in the future.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by rho (6063)

              Apple has traditionally been in favor of forcing devices, such as not putting arrow keys on the original Mac keyboard.

              Their philosophy tends to be of a benevolent dictator like Linus. Apple is going to make you do some things, and it's for your own good. If you're not happy with it, usually you can do something else if you have the technical skill, or you can just go get a Winders box. This has meant Apple's been able to do things no other company could, and is also why, IMO, they're the top of the heap f

            • by JimDaGeek (983925) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @06:38PM (#19430789)

              The Move from Classic (OS 9) to OS X forced people to Recompile/Port or Die from obsoleteness
              Not completely true. You can still run classic code, if you really want. I think what Apple did was make cocoa [apple.com] so much better that developers wanted it and users demand it.

              Next it was the move from Power PC to Intel.
              Again, you can run PPC under Intel via Rosetta [apple.com]. Though getting a native Intel build always performs better. Some say they don't notice any difference. I disagree. For example, a PPC build of Photoshop is much slower than a Universal build of the new Photoshop.
              So Apple does leave backwards compatibility stuff there, however they make the new stuff so much better, that developers and users want to get it ASAP.

              Now compare this to Microsoft. While .Net with C# is an improvement for developers in productivity, there is really no gain/difference for users. For example I had to port a legacy VB 6 app to C#/.Net. The end users didn't know anything different about the app from their point of view. Just switching to .Net didn't make the app inherit any default functionality. Contrast this to Cocoa where an app get spell checking via NSSpellChecker.
              • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @09:44PM (#19432545)
                "PPC build of Photoshop is much slower than a Universal build of the new Photoshop"

                The old PPC builds of Photoshop are also much slower on PPC than the only universal version, CS3. They moved Photoshop from Codewarrior to Xcode between CS2 and CS3, and it's the most massive rewrite they've ever done. So you can't distinguish how much of the speed difference of CS3 over CS2 on Intel is due to it being Intel native, and how much is simply due to it being faster.
          • by Tuzanor (125152) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @02:24PM (#19426887) Homepage

            You are right to a certain extent, but you have to realized that current file systems are old and clunky. For a desktop or a few non-critical servers moving to the new tech is a great idea. Down the road, when ZFS is more mature and understood, it's going to be a welcome addition to most production setups. If you ran real-world mission-critical prod setups needing high availability you'd understand.

            Imaging you have a huge medical database on several servers and are running out of disk space. To expand, you need to plug in new hard drives, create RAID setups, create partions, move data over, restart the database, verify again and again, downtimes, etc. You can easily and efficiently grow file systems (unless you're using an expensive piece of software like veritas volume manager. With zfs, all I need to do to expand disk space in current WORKING filesytems is:

            zpool add oraclefs mirror c1t1d0 c2t1d0

            No luns to deal with. No other filesystem bullshit. You have no idea how excited this makes me for services that require large amounts of growing storage.

            Read up on zfs here: zfs [slashdot.org]http://www.opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/> It is the best thing to come out of Sun in a long time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zeromemory (742402)

          IIRC within a zfs pool (collection of drives) you can make different 'filesystems' mirrored or striped, so you can have a /video that is striped and ultra-fast whereas /home is mirrored and fault-tolerant.

          No, you can't mix and match. When you create a zpool, you get to choose between the equivalents of RAID-0 (striped), RAID-1 (mirrored), and RAID-5/6 (striped with parity). You can nest the various RAID levels, but whatever you choose will apply to all the file systems in your storage pool. If you want to have /video and /home under different RAID levels, you'll need to create two different zpools. Now, this wouldn't be a big issue, as you could normally just partition up your drives to make the separate z

    • by FuturePastNow (836765) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:12PM (#19424843)
      The first bootable release of ZFS (not "BUILD," but "RELEASE") isn't even due until the Fall.

      OSX 10.5 ain't due 'til Fall, either.
  • Booting from ZFS? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rollthelosindice (635783) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:47AM (#19424387) Homepage
    When ZFS was first mentioned in the same breath as OS X it was pointed out that at the time you couldn't boot off ZFS file systems, so people were thinking it would power external (or secondary) timemachine devices. If it's replacing everything, I'm assuming you can now boot from a ZFS drive? When was this functionality added?
    • Re:Booting from ZFS? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:11PM (#19424797) Homepage Journal

      When was this functionality added?

      March 28th, 2007 at 19 hundred and 50 hours Zulu time [opensolaris.org]

    • Re:Booting from ZFS? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:20PM (#19424979) Homepage Journal
      What would prevent you from being able to boot off a ZFS drive? Surely all that needs to be done is for Apple to add ZFS support to their EFI implementation?
      • Re:Booting from ZFS? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Skapare (16644) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @01:35PM (#19426073) Homepage

        I don't know any of the technology of ZFS, so I can only guess.

        For a boot loader like LILO, it will need to create a list of exact hardware datablocks to read the kernel in from. ZFS might move those blocks around after the "lilo" command built the block map. Then it can't load the kernel.

        For a boot loader like GRUB, it will need to have a read-only subset of the filesystem inside so it can find the kernel image file. That might be doable, but it hasn't been done, yet.

        So create a small boot partition on the first few megabytes of the drive, and make another partition for the rest and let it be a part of the ZFS pool (if ZFS can accept a partition, and not just a whole disk).

        A better option would be to get a computer that has legacy IDE support with bootability, in addition to the main SATA or SCSI support for major hard drives. Then add a Compact Flash adapter to the IDE [addonics.com] port and use a small Compact Flash module to load the kernel from using your favorite boot loader. Or just use an all-SATA mainboard with a different Compact Flash adapter for SATA [addonics.com]. A tiny CF memory module with 16MB or so would be enough to load a nice sized kernel. Or go with a 16GB one and have a copy of /opt and /usr on there as well (structured to work when mounted read-only).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DECS (891519)
          Remember that Apple's Macs are EFI Intel PCs now. You don't need LILO and GRUB to start up an operating system, as EFI provides a minimal but sophisticated environment for handling multiple boot devices and system launching. It's like the Sun/Apple OpenFirmware that Macs have always had.

          You'd only need those things to get Mac OS X running on a DOS PC, or when using ZFS with Linux, right?

          ---
          Microsoft Surface: the Fine Clothes of a Naked Empire [roughlydrafted.com]
          What happens when the core values of an empire are exposed as a fr
  • by dancingmad (128588) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:48AM (#19424393)
    He's already taken it back [sun.com], more or less:

    "I don't know Apple's product plans for Leopard so it certainly wouldn't be appropriate for me to confirm anything. [...] There certainly have been plenty of published reports from various sources that ZFS is in Leopard, I guess we will all have to wait until it is released to see if ZFS made it as the default, or if they simply announce that it will become the default in a future release."
  • It WAS... (Score:5, Funny)

    by WiseWeasel (92224) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:48AM (#19424405)
    Not anymore, it ain't... Now, Apple will go with NTFS just to spite them...
  • No no no (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guanine (883175) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:50AM (#19424449)
    Then he retracted his statement, saying he didn't know if it was the _default_ or not. Here's his quote, from a link on Daring Fireball [daringfireball.net]:

    I don't know Apple's product plans for Leopard so it certainly wouldn't be appropriate for me to confirm anything. [...] There certainly have been plenty of published reports from various sources that ZFS is in Leopard, I guess we will all have to wait until it is released to see if ZFS made it as the default, or if they simply announce that it will become the default in a future release.


  • I have a particular gift for breaking things that are supposed to be reliable. (Admittedly, mostly through ignorance, but I digress)

    Besides the worrisome concepts of delayed writing and an always consistent file system, I can imagine never being able to bring a zfs back pretty easily. Which, the snapshots are supposed to solve, but pretty soon, my hardware storage budget just went through the roof because I'm storing terabytes of snapshots pretty quickly.

  • does the user get a choice? Having access to more filesystems is a plus, but I wouldnt want to replace HFS+ for ZFS personally. So hopefully you can choice which one you want. Similiar to how Windows lets you choice FAT32 and NTFS, or OS X you can do HFS or HFS+, or Linux with ext2, ext3, reiser, etc.
  • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:55AM (#19424521)
    Jobs is probably not happy about his thunder being stolen right before for the June 11th keynote

    I strongly doubt he didn't know about it. This is Jonathan Schwartz, not a OS X rumors blogger. At any rate, ZFS in OS X is Sun's thunder; Time Machine is Apple's thunder, and that's already announced. How many OS X users (other than slashdot readers) will care in the slightest about the underlying filesystem? What they care about are the features, like Time Machine, that it enables.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WhiteWolf666 (145211)
      Although Apple hates preemptive disclosure, this goes right along with their "OS X is industrial grade" strategy.

      All over the place Apple advertises that OS X is "Industrial UNIX at the core".

      Now, with ZFS, Apple can advertise having a next-generation omega filesystem to replace the long-in-the-tooth Journaled HFS+, which was significantly better than NTFS.

      NTFS versus ZFS is a joke ;-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BosstonesOwn (794949)
        Also to add to your point.

        Their new 10.5 servers will probably be closely related to some products in the Sun stable at the moment. With a successful launch this could help start reversing the trend of server dominance.

        If mac starts adding more aspects of unix to the OS and gives it a pretty interface , windows small business server markets could be in trouble. I would personally like to see more of these boxes around.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:56AM (#19424547) Homepage
    Yes I'm sure it will be worth it in the long run but I'm not looking forward to yet another hiatus in which: no industrial-strength disk-recovery tools are available, in which accidentally running the wrong disk-repair tool on the wrong partition hoses it instead of fixing it, and in which yet more legacy software suffers breakage due to subtle incompatibilities in implementation.

    (Yesyesyes, I know, ZFS is reliable that disk-recovery tools are not needed. And if you believe that, then you probably believed Microsoft when they said NTFS volumes never needed defragmentation).

    Dear Apple:

    Please let HFS+ still be an option.

    Please let Classic still run on Power Mac processors.

    Please let reasonably well-behaved software that uses resource forks still work.

    Please let it be case-insensitive and case-preserving.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      (Yesyesyes, I know, ZFS is reliable that disk-recovery tools are not needed. And if you believe that, then you probably believed Microsoft when they said NTFS volumes never needed defragmentation).

      Well, it's true! NTFS volumes never need defragmentation! On the other hand, Microsoft provides you with a defragmenter service (at least in 2k and later) and allows you to defragment files on NTFS volumes... :D

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vancorps (746090)
        You also don't "need" to defragment the files. The FS is perfectly happy filling in the gaps with additional files. Performance will suffer but it will indeed work reliably.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Guy Harris (3803)

      Please let reasonably well-behaved software that uses resource forks still work.

      You are aware that ZFS - and, for that matter, Solaris's UFS - supports an arbitrary number of named forks in files? (Sun calls them "extended attributes", probably because that's what NFSv4 calls them, but they're really named forks/named streams/whatever you want to call them.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wesley Felter (138342)
      Yesyesyes, I know, ZFS is reliable that disk-recovery tools are not needed.

      A common misconception. The "zfs scrub" command will scan the filesystem and try to correct any errors that are found (or panic the kernel); the difference is that ZFS can do this while the filesystem is mounted.
  • Is that all? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by o-hayo (700478)
    Maybe some in the know (not me) could fill us (people like me) in... Are there other benefits that will come from moving to ZFS? I'd guess that for the average consumer any performance gain, or loss, won't really make a difference, but what about those running servers or doing heavy video/audio work? Or are there other aspects of this filesystem that will make it that much better than HFS+?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kildurin (938538)
      A couple. 1) ZFS does not require a format. It takes me around 2 seconds to create a pool on a raid disk. Also true on a 500G hard drive. 2) ZFS pools (or directories/partitions if you will) can span multiple drives. 3) ZFS pools can have volumes (or drives) added to them at will. This means that if I run out of space in my music folder, I can add storage to it by adding another drive and adding it to the pool where my music folder is. Hope that helps
  • ...mentions that ZFS is from Sun?

  • by athloi (1075845) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:00PM (#19424603) Homepage Journal
    Once we're sure it's stable, because it looks like a massive improvement over the 1970s-style file systems we're using now. ZFS is now part of FreeBSD [freebsd.org], Solaris will have ZFS "soon" [itjungle.com] and many Linux distros are also considering it. Good. Let's get to a common standard that's excellent and forget the tedium of these past, less effective file systems.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by target562 (623649)
      Solaris having ZFS "soon"? Looks like an old link, as it's been part of Solaris 10 since last summer... My servers running it in production would be sad to hear if it wasn't...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tsunayoshi (789351)
      You linked to an article from 2005...ZFS has been in Solaris 10 since update 2 (06/06). New features, enhancements, and optimizations appeared in update 3 (11/06). It just will not be available as a booting FS until sometime in 2007.

      The OpenSolaris project is currently working on getting bootable ZFS support (available in the current release as experimental).
  • by Otterley (29945) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:00PM (#19424615)
    If ZFS is the default file system, it will mean that Time Machine (i.e. the snapshot feature) of 10.5 will be able to take snapshots without requiring a secondary file system to keep the copied (recoverable) blocks, as it does now with HFS+. To me, the secondary filesystem requirement makes Time Machine essentially useless on a laptop.
    • by larkost (79011) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:28PM (#19425113)
      TimeMachine is a backup tool, not really a live versioning tool. That makes having a second volume a requirement. If you don't understand that, then you don't understand what backups are for.

      I already know how TimeMachine is going to work (it was part of the filesystem presentation at last years WWDC... so I know it, but can't reveal it), and unless they have completely redone that entire system (which was quite elegant), then ZFS will not bring a single thing to it. I do know how ZFS could make that all really elegant, but Apple already has it covered on HFS+.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by beezly (197427)

        TimeMachine is a backup tool, not really a live versioning tool. That makes having a second volume a requirement. If you don't understand that, then you don't understand what backups are for.

        I can think a few good cases for "backing up" to the same physical device.

        Here are the reasons I back up data my employer's data:

        • Hardware failure. Disks die, tapes fail, etc. RAID helps guard against this, but it doesn't help you guard against disks that fail silently (ie, they corrupt data rather than return an
  • by multisync (218450) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:08PM (#19424753) Journal

    because ZFS has back-up and snapshots build right in to the filesystem


    I think Slashdot would benefit from adopting some of K5's approach to story submissions. The Firehose is a great start, but instead of simply saying yes or no, users should be able to give feedback to the submitter. The summary for this article is a great example. The submitter typed "build" instead of "built," resulting in an annoying distraction in an otherwise concise description of the story.

    Newspapers have Copy Editors (at least they used to; most seem not-too-bothered by spelling these days). It would be nice if interested Firehose users were given the opportunity to help make sure the summary was fit for publication before it hits the front page.

    I guess this should have been a journal entry, but it seemed like an opportune time to bring this up.
  • Video Demo of ZFS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kildurin (938538) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:08PM (#19424755)
    I know its not on Mac but this shows how easy and powerful ZFS is. I have heard directly from Sun that by Solaris 10 will soon have bootable ZFS either in update 4 or update 5. Remember that the big problem with Sun hardware is that they need firmware support for bootability and that it may be much easier on OS X to make ZFS bootable. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8100808442 979626078 [google.com]
  • by N3WBI3 (595976) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:10PM (#19424785) Homepage
    This will make going from earlier versions of OSX to the new one more of a pain because the whole disk will have to be reformatted.
  • The best of Unix? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <`ku.oc.nez' `ta' `senoj.selig'> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @01:45PM (#19426185)
    Seems like Apple take some of the best ideas from the Unix world. Really shows the potential of Unix systems if the people who wrote them thought a little more about usability.
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @02:21PM (#19426833)
    Apple is "well known" for massive backwards compatibility updates... except they aren't... They always handle transitions over a couple of versions, intelligently bringing people along. They swapped processor architectures twice and each time brought people along with emulators, in the Intel case it wasn't faster than the fasted G5 machines, but those of us upgrading 3+ year old machines (Powerbook G4 1Ghz -> Macbook Pro in my case) found our PPC apps running faster and Intel code flying.

    We all expected the Intel migration to happen with 10.5, they shocked us when they did it off the 10.4 base.

    While they did abandon Mac OS to move to OS X, they provided a migration strategy (Carbon) and a compatibility layer (Classic). Classic support shipped with 10.0/10.1, 10.2, and was supported in 10.3 if you already had it, as well as 10.4 I think, but they kept classic for around 5 years, which gave everyone time to migrate to Carbon. Its unfortunate that there is no long-term Classic via Rosetta just from a classic application point of view, but they didn't leave anyone in the lurch.

    I expect 10.5 to introduce this OS, which will be useful for new installs, or for external drive arrays, especially for the Video market, but I wouldn't expect it to be the default. OS X has supported a Unix filed system, but defaulted to HFS+, because HFS+ was compatible with Mac OS, so you could dual-boot OS 9 and OS X for a good 2 years on new hardware to maintain compatibility. If they hadn't done that, they would have lost the Pro-Audio and Pro-Video markets that took a few years to get native OS X applications.

    Getting it in the wild and for professionals would help that market, while not breaking ANYONE's compatibility. Sometime in 10.5's lifetime they may ship new computers with it, or they may wait for 10.6 in two years. But giving everyone two years is plenty of time to get utilities and applications compatible with the new file system.

    The flashy consumer features are touted for the OS, but the underlying architecture has always followed a 2-cycle release. If you've used OS X Server for 10.2/10.3/10.4, you'd notice that they introduced stuff in one version with limited exposed functionality (with the rest via the Unix layer), enhanced the functionality in the next rev, and polished thereafter.

    The Apple Mail Server -> Cyrus migration was someone poorly handled, but mostly because AMS was garbage. But the 10.4 Mail tools are night and day beyond the 10.3 ones.

    They are actually far more careful than people give them credit for.

    The different is, they don't keep backward compatibility as a long-term goal, they do a two-stage migration, giving people 2-4 years to transition.
    • short memories (Score:3, Interesting)

      by toby (759) *
      they shocked us when they did it off the 10.4 base.

      It did not shock those of us who know that NEXTSTEP was transparently portable to at least four architectures.
  • ZFS still has bugs (Score:5, Informative)

    by mlheur (212082) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @03:44PM (#19428213)
    For something that's only a year or so old (production wise), I don't trust it worth shit.
    We run Netbackup Enterprise on Solaris 10 - during our last round of upgrades we installed ZFS on our disk staging storage units. It replaced VxFS. The way disk staging storage units (DSSUs) work in Netbackup, the disk is always near 100% full form a unix perspective. Basically, any time more disk is needed, the oldest image that has been copied to tape is expired from disk, thus freeing up more room. However, ZFS's most prominent bug from our perspective is that during periods of high activity, if all blocks become allocated, it becomes impossible to unlink(2) a file. This causes the application to no longer be able to make space for new backup images.

    Going down the shell, try to rm a file and it comes back: rm failed, disk is full.

    Well, if the disk is full, and you can't rm because the disk is full, how do you free up space?

    Sun's response, truncate an unnecessary file using 'cat /dev/null > /path/to/file', then, once you have some blocks free, rm works (so does unlink).

    Ok - so how do you tell a compiled application to truncate an unnecessary file before unlinking it? You can't! How can you determine what an unnecessary file is? If you delete the image before expiring it from the catalog you get errors when you try to expire, so you end up with catalog corruption.

    All in all, this is a problem that should never have been introduced, let alone still exist after months of sending trace outputs and reproducing it in multiple environments. ZFS isn't ready for the real world.
  • by SirNAOF (142265) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @04:03PM (#19428577)
    ZFS is not ready for prime time - at least not on Solaris.

    I setup ZFS on some SAN storage in a new system. The internal boot disks were mirrored UFS. When one of the HBAs fried, the SAN storage disappeared - and the system panic'd.

    Every reboot thereafter stopped in a panic. The ZFS subsystem panic'd the system at every boot when it couldn't find all its volumes. After calling Sun support, I found out that they need to do a massive code redesign to catch that issue, and it wouldn't be out for at least 6 months.

    I'm sure ZFS will be great - once they clean up these type of showstopper bugs.
  • by abhi_beckert (785219) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @06:17PM (#19430509)
    Time Machine is already fully functional (apart from a few gui glitches) in the current leopard developer builds, but ZFS isn't even available in Disk Utility (yet?). This doesn't mean ZFS won't be added at the last minute, but it certainly isn't required for Time Machine.

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