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Gnome's Nautilus Gets ZFS Integration, In OpenSolaris

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-day-in-linux-would-be-nice dept.

Data Storage 38

13bpower writes "Sun developer Erwann Chenede posted a new plugin for Nautilus that will integrate ZFS's backup capabilities with Nautilus. This should be a pretty killer feature." As one of the comments puts it, this adds a "Time Machine-esque" function to Solaris, through which a user can specify backup frequency, and when needed browse from available snapshots to restore files.

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Icons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25386837)

I can has fewer icons? Icons breaking CSS.

Unnecessary, Punctuation (2, Interesting)

bperkins (12056) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387091)

Why not go all the way?

Gnome's Nautilus: Gets "ZFS" Integration! (In OpenSolaris)

Re:Unnecessary, commas (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387307)

Some of us mangle "proper" punctuation and grammar all of the time because we write how we speak, we're not writing an English composition paper or a scientific journal. I find the headline to be as natural- sounding as possible while emphasizing that the implementation is an OpenSolaris-only one.

There's nothing wrong with having style. If you think this article's headline's is bad, then try to read Hunter S. Thompson or William S. Burroughs!

Re:Unnecessary, commas (4, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387521)

Some of us mangle "proper" punctuation and grammar all of the time because we write how we speak

I, have, asthma, you, insensitive, clod.

Re:Unnecessary, commas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25389097)

let's be clear. poor grammar is irritating. snarking about poor grammar is also irritating.

with that in mind, mistaking sloppiness with or ignorance of standard grammar for "style" certainly reflects odd if a lack of taste.

Thompson, Burroughs, Joyce (take your pick) didn't stylistically torture grammar because they were sloppy or unaware of accepted practices.

The difference is similar to the difference between Faulkner's prose and the sometimes painful and sometimes hilarious parodies of his prose in that famous contest.

it's all good right? right? given that both style and taste are kind of snooty subjective affectations. i am snarking but goodheartedly. i think. ;)

Re:Unnecessary, Punctuation (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387941)

Why not use the interface and hook it to third party tools that provide similar functions outside of the filesystem?

Hurrah..zzz (4, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387217)

So what it gets integration with OpenSolaris.

You know what? Basic SMB mounting doesnt even work right in Ubuntu. Instead, it mounts crap via ~/.gvfs and fake handles for Gnome-only apps.

Instead, if Ubuntu used standard mounting techniques, it would mount as something sane like ~/mnt/$computer/$share_name/ so that all programs could use it easily.

Most likely, this ZFS setup uses the same non-standard techniques that make the features ONLY for gnome programs.


Re:Hurrah..zzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25387407)

Actually, the GVFS devs went out of their way to support non-gnome apps, through the use of FUSE. Any app can access .gvfs shares. Just because the directory is hidden doesn't mean you can't use it from non-gvfs apps. Just make a symlink if the hidden directory bothers you so much!

Re:Hurrah..zzz (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387667)

---Actually, the GVFS devs went out of their way to support non-gnome apps, through the use of FUSE. Any app can access .gvfs shares. Just because the directory is hidden doesn't mean you can't use it from non-gvfs apps. Just make a symlink if the hidden directory bothers you so much!

Well, obviously! After looking at mtab, I found out what they did. I can easily make a symlink. That's NOT my issue.

Gnome creates a link on the desktop. This link is some Gnome-only link that non-gnome apps CAN NOT USE. If instead, it created a link to ~/.gvfs/$share , then all applications could use that link.

As of now, I have to patch around Gnomish ways that Just Dont Work.

Re:Hurrah..zzz (2, Informative)

obi (118631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25388927)

Actually, you're a bit behind the times. Check what David Zeuthen has to say about it:

Today I committed a patch to GIO to ensure that GIO applications launching applications (such as the Nautilus file manager or the Evolution mailer) will always pass a FUSE path instead of the GIO URI. One implication of this is that if you launch a non-GIO application (such as mplayer or a KDE application) from Nautilus, that application will Just Work(tm) even if the file lives on a GVfs share. []

His blog post also touches on why a POSIX-only API for user space filesystems isn't good enough for modern desktops. That's one of the reasons why Gnome doesn't implement all these goodies as FUSE-only filesystems or even kernel-based filesystems. However with the FUSE bridge you can actually have POSIX-only applications access files on those GVFS filesystems - but GVFS isn't limited by it.

Re:Hurrah..zzz (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25389743)

Finally someone who understands.

I didnt understand why Gnome (currently on Ibex) used standard mounts via FUSE but made desktop links that didnt work with 90% of the apps out there (non-gnome). However, it seems that others grumbled about this very problem too, and it has been solved. ...reloads package update for todays Ibex update... Yep. more updates for Nautilus.

Re:Hurrah..zzz (1)

kazade84 (1078337) | more than 5 years ago | (#25388427)

Erm, you do realize that's because Gnome now mounts per-user, not system wide. If you REALLY REALLY want system wide mounts then use fstab to specify them or use the mount command manually.

I don't see the problem. Any app can use the mount in ~/.gvfs anyway.

Re:Hurrah..zzz (0, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25388785)

Did you NOT read what I typed???

My issue is with the link that Gnome creates on the desktop. Evidently, it points towards a "x-nautilus-desktop:///name_of_share on server.volume"

They could have made a symlink to ~/.gvfs/server/share/ instead. This would have kept compatibility with non-gnome programs.

Instead, they used some gnome handler.

Like I said...FAIL

Re:Hurrah..zzz (1)

kazade84 (1078337) | more than 5 years ago | (#25389229)

OK, firstly, I *DID* read your post and you didn't mention anything about the desktop icon if you mean "fake handles for Gnome-only apps." then that's not very specific.

Secondly, there is a REASON those links are different. Right click on them and look at the menu items; there are special ones there, like for example, "unmount". That's the reason they aren't just symlinks.

Re:Hurrah..zzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25389019)

If, by "these features", you mean access to ZFS snapshots, that's wrong. Any program can access ZFS snapshots through the filesystem.

Re:Hurrah..zzz (3, Informative)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25389067)

Gnome failure. Not Ubuntu failure.

Re:Hurrah..zzz (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393735)

Uh WOW, you realize that all the same zfs administration commands still work right?
However, browsing thousands of five-minute incremental snapshots for a file you deleted IS something that makes more sense in a GUI. Or, at least a nice interactive CLI program.

This is not quite the same as how GNOME speaks to samba shares that COULD just as easily be system mounted.

Jesus, if you want to mount up individual snapshots yourself to look for a missing file, more power to you. That's insane though.

Parent is incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25397453)

The statements of the parent poster are not correct.

If a user requests an unmounted drive through a GIO-aware application, all mounting and unmounting operations are done by GIO. If necessary, the user is presented with a login-dialog.

For convenience all active GIO drives are mapped onto the filesystem through FUSE. Even GIO unaware drives can access remote drives this way, though they are limited to POSIX file system calls.

Handles for GIO drives do all relate to the file system mapping, so when you request a file handle from GIO, it will give you a path reference that will work with all applications, not just GLib ones.

GIO will automatically bypass the FUSE mapping if a GIO handle is requested from a path reference. This has been implemented in the last few month.

Mounting the user mounts in /mnt does not make much sense in multi-user environments. You don't necessary want other users to allow to access remote mounts with your user credentials.

Mounting remove file systems permanently is a system administrator task, not a user task.

The only valid complaint could be formulated as:
"Ubuntu doesn't provide a convenient way to set up permanent remote mounts."

Instead the parent poster, failing to identify the problem - (there is no standard unix way to handle the kind of thing ZFS does), chooses to attack SUN's engineers for using GNOME technologies to implement a prototype.

I have no clue why this post got modded "+5, Interesting".

Re:Hurrah..zzz (1)

clockworm (1382531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25535623)

I think the point is that this is something quite like Apple's much-heralded Time Machine, but wastes a lot less space, and is made available in a free OS. Might want to try the Live CD (when it becomes 2008.11) that you can get at I also think that the underpinnings are part of the Solaris Management Facility, which means you can do all kinds of servery goodness in addition to Apple-y goodness with the described Gnome tool.

Queue jokes and insults ... (seriously, good job) (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387337)

I don't use OpenSolaris, so I won't be seeing the benefits of this any time soon. (I once tried to install it, and couldn't work out the partitioning scheme, I don't install operating systems for fun any more.)

This is a great example of free software. Someone wants a feature, and they code it up.

Anyway, I was looking at getting something like this for MS Windows or Ubuntu the other month (instead of a proper version control system for people who couldn't cope). I found some interesting projects.

For example:
ext3cow [] , which you can use with a Time Traveling File Manager [] .
Copyfs [] is another versioned file system, and runs on FUSE.

In the end I didn't end up using either project, instead the usual folder with old version, as compared to folder with newer version is being used. (Curse tech illiteracy.)

Anyway, good work to those folks!

That's great... (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387341)

That's great, except ZFS is currently stable only on Solaris 64 bit systems. The freebsd port is listed as alpha and is plain broken on 32 bit systems.

Re:That's great... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387377)

It works reasonably enough, you just have to be careful not to have it run through all available memory.

I've been using it for a while now and it does actually work pretty well. Not that it doesn't have a ways to go, but for non-production use it's pretty stable. Additionally in the times that it has crashed I've not lost any files or had any corruption.

Right now I've got a mirrored portion of my hard disk on which I store my home directory. The ability to self-heal those files is quite nice.

Re:That's great... (1)

d3vi1 (710592) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387925)

I am running ZFS successfully on 6 32bit systems for 2 years now. Actually, for file servers in our company we always use slower servers. In our case, we have dual CPU Xeon 2.8 GHz (Prestonia) systems with 2 or 3 GBytes of RAM running Solaris 10 with ZFS and Samba and NFS sharing.

Get your facts right. I don't know about FreeBSD 32bit vs 64bit, but on Solaris, it works regardless and it works brilliantly.

The only problem I am having is the reordering of the NFSv4 ACLs in ZFS and inheritance with Samba's ZFS vfs module. Samba still sucks at anything else than POSIX ACLs.

Re:That's great... (1)

clockworm (1382531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25535825)

I'm posting this from OpenSolaris with a ZFS boot disk, running on a 32-bit ThinkPad T43 :)

Will it work for BIG files? (1)

Unsung Bovine Herd (1323691) | more than 5 years ago | (#25387801)

The screen shot in the Sun blog shows Time Slider having 2.4 MB of snapshots available for possible recovery. I'm sure office workers writing memos and Slashdot posters whose posts regularly get eaten by the browser would love this feature. But what happens when the OS has to deal with the sort of big files churned out in a multimedia setting, say, a a multi-GB cache of digital video. Granted that someone dealing with such big files ought to make backups using other means, the question remains: does ZFS have the intelligence, for example, to preserve smaller files when one or two big files are threatening to exhaust filesystem's allotted snapshot space? Which file gets priority?

Re:Will it work for BIG files? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25388205)

ZFS uses copy-on-write at the block level, so a snapshot takes no space, so the question doesn't really apply.

Re:Will it work for BIG files? (1)

pammon (831694) | more than 5 years ago | (#25388639)

Snapshots can take a lot of space!

Imagine you have a 5 GB movie file that you snapshot. If you then try to delete the file, you will not recover the space, because the snapshot holds onto the file. Effectively, the snapshot is consuming 5 GB.

"Unsung" asks whether ZFS is smart about how it removes snapshots as space is needed. This is a reasonable question with a trivial answer: no, because ZFS never removes snapshots, even if space is needed. It is the user's responsibility to remove snapshots.

Re:Will it work for BIG files? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25391367)

If you had RTFA, you would have seen that the Time Slider service this plugin utilizes will automatically remove the oldest snapshots based on a configurable percentage of space.

Re:Will it work for BIG files? (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393555)

Snapshotting works for any sized file.
Yes, if you remove a large file, then the snapshot gets the blocks allocated to that large file, and yes the space isn't released to the filesystem.

If your filesystem is so short on space that you are removing 5GB files to try and free up space, then you probably shouldn't be snapshotting.

Oh - you should also be able to write a simple routine to make passes through the .snapshot directories to *clean up* any of those large files permanently by removing them from the snapshot (at least I think you can - I'll have to test it again to verify it.).

Re:Will it work for BIG files? (1)

welshie (796807) | more than 5 years ago | (#25409641)

Indeed, and ZFS makes it utterly trivial to add new disks to the pool, so if you're getting short on space, go down to your local computer retailer, and add a few of those cheap half a terabyte external disks to your system. If you are running a laptop, then get yourself a bigger disk.

Re:Will it work for BIG files? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25388865)

the question applies. you're regurgitating a marketing bullet about "free snapshots"...TANSTAAFL

snapshot size increases with block delta. for some types of data, this means that the size of the snapshot can remain very small if there is low delta for the filesystem snapped (ie, the files on that filesystem don't change much).

for other types of data (monolithic binary formats, compressed data & dumps, etc) where there is significant change at the block level when changes to the file are written, snapshots can be biggity.

We tried to do the same GUI... (1)

Jisakiel (589289) | more than 5 years ago | (#25389103)

... some time ago for a usable time-machine substitute [] for linux, but failed miserably on the gnome integration.

Unfortunately when we tried we were informed [] by the kind folk of the nautilus mailing list that it would be pretty difficult, as it's not feasible by using the python nautilus-extensions, and we would have to rewrite a lot of code. Gvfs was not ready yet (and mostly undocumented) so our code would be instantly deprecated, and many of the supposed options of a quick google were hopeleslly outdated / broken / unsupported / deprecated -such as the bonobo views, which I couldn't get to work at all.

Finally my personal struggles with autotools (devilish tool!) ended up burying the idea. Pity, but I'm glad that the opensolaris folk were able to do it. Their GUI rocks a lot IMHO (I tried to congratulate them on their blog but the post got lost somehow ;).

Perhaps if one of us gets enough free time in RL we'll port their patches (should be GPL I guess) to our linux implementation, in a cleaner nautilus C plugin.

BTW feel free to try the application, it should be functional (as in "won't break your hard drive down nor delete anything it should, though it might take some space in ~/.hdlorean"), though not as polished as we would have liked. We even managed to build a debian package ;), but it's python anyway. Right now the project is somewhat unmantained though, by the mentioned lack of time and some tiredness from the project.

Dear nautilus: please don't hog my RAM (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25390331)

I know it's not zfs-related, but nautilus is such a freaking *hog* that I can't avoid this opportunity to *beg* nautilus developers to lighten their memory footprint.

Adding a feature to nautilus is not adding to OS. (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25393509)

I've been able to do better than time-machine feature-wise since snapshotting was online with zfs.
I've had automated jobs taking snapshots every 5 minutes and keeping them for as long as I had space available for them (sitting at around 9 months worth atm).

The script rotates through the snapshots, and passes through the snapshots where no changes were made and marking them for my approval to remove, just to try and keep the listings tolerable...(12 * 24 * 275)....

From there I wrote a routine to allow me to easily (though not always speedily) look for the file that I use as a parameter and give me a listing of all the revisions available, which I can select to *restore* or copy back into place under the same name, a different name, etc...

I can do this with entire directory trees, and am working on routines to detect if trees were *moved* via SMB shares or other misadventure (or intentionally) and hopefully be able to then offer up the option to move either the current iteration of the moved directory back, or an old version.

It's been fun writing the utilities, and yes, they are all command line, and all using my old favorite scripting language, ksh.

Re:Adding a feature to nautilus is not adding to O (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25396981)

That does sound quite cool, but it doesn't really solve the problem for your average office worker who just wants to get that file they deleted back.

Providing a GUI for it frees up IT support to do something other then run a bunch of command line scripts to find the older version, and also makes it possible for users to find out that it's even possible to do this.

Re:Adding a feature to nautilus is not adding to O (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25405969)

Hmmm... Yes a gui would be nice, and someday there may be one... but for now, on my personal Solaris system at home, I don't need one - although I'd like to get the RAM up to 64GB on that thing for a better all around ZFS experience...

It's kind of nice booting up multiple xVM virtual PCs running various operating systems and barely using the disk at all...

Windows XP (after initial load, and running, can reboot and operate with almost zero disk I/O running off the ARC) - Linux is almost none as well...

It makes a very nice virtual workstation server...

Re:Adding a feature to nautilus is not adding to O (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25409979)

What sort of hardware are you running on? Having seen some of the features that Solaris provides (especially ZFS, and Zones), I'd love to set up a server to play with it on, but I have a feeling I'm going to need some sort of exotic hardware to get started.

Re:Adding a feature to nautilus is not adding to O (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448169)

Well, I happened to have fallen into an Intel test platform that sat around for a year or two..

Supermicro server chassis, two dual core Xeon 64-bit processors (2.x ghz), 12 GB DDR3 RAM (with enough slots left that I can take it to 16GB with 1GB sticks), dual adaptec ultra 320 controllers, 6 sata controllers (on the motherboard), currently configured with 8 x 75GB drives - with the intent to replace them with terabyte (900ish GiB) sata drives.

I need to get a 2nd 700watt hot-swap psu and another 1400VA ups to drive the 2nd supply.

I love the system, I do not love the electric bill... =)

At some point, I'll retire it in favor of an old gaming config with external sata drives or something like that...

I've also had success running Solaris (open and standard) on IBM/Lenovo thinkpad laptops, as well as AMD hardware of the homebuilt and HP/Compaq variety.

Still issues (last time I tried was with Solaris 10, U5) with IBM RaidServ (IBM hijacked Adaptec raid controllers) controllers.

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