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

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the so-happy-together dept.

OS X 384

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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384 comments

oblig... (0, Offtopic)

doyoulikeworms (1094003) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424333)

One file system to rule them all.

Re:oblig... (3, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424707)

We had a guy come in a few months ago to give a class on upgrading to Solaris 10, highlighting the differences between Solaris 9 and 10. When he got to the ZFS portion, he really did talk about it like that. He basically described ZFS as the filesystem to end all filesystems, the killer app that would revolutionize computing, end file corruption, and bring about world peace.

I'm not sure if that's the way they talk about it internally at Sun, but that's how their instructors portray it out in the field.

Re:oblig... (5, Informative)

kildurin (938538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424821)

Its worth noting that most Sun instructors do not work for Sun. As someone who has implemented and is using ZFS, it really is as good as they say. I use it at home for storing video files and have not suffered any data loss.

Re:oblig... (-1, Troll)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425117)

Well, I've used FAT32 for storing video files at home without suffering data loss, so your example isn't really worth shit. "Not suffering data loss" is standard for all modern file systems, even the poor and antiquated like FAT.

Re:oblig... (3, Funny)

evil_Tak (964978) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425265)

Apparently you've never used ReiserFS.

Re:oblig... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425383)

He wrote 'data loss', not 'wife loss'.

Re:oblig... (0, Offtopic)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425511)

My /home partition on my main computer is ReiserFS, and has been since at least 2003. Never had problems with it. I've stored video files on that one as well. In fact, the only FS I've lost files with recently is HFS+ on my old Powerbook. I'm just saying that not having problems is what's expected. FAT32 is the poorest FS still in use, and normally you won't lose data even with that.

Re:oblig... (3, Interesting)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424919)

We had a guy come in a few months ago to give a class on upgrading to Solaris 10, highlighting the differences between Solaris 9 and 10. When he got to the ZFS portion, he really did talk about it like that. He basically described ZFS as the filesystem to end all filesystems, the killer app that would revolutionize computing, end file corruption, and bring about world peace.
That's quite a change from about a year ago, when I took the "new features in Solaris10" class; at that time the instructor I had was in no uncertain terms saying it's "not ready for production, wait until later". Apparently we have reached "later"? Or it could be that people have opinions and express them, and aren't all speaking for Sun; I suppose that's possible...

Re:oblig... (3, Informative)

kildurin (938538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424985)

ZFS came out in Solaris 10 Update 2. (Sun is days away from releasing update 4.) It is currently bootable in OpenSolaris.

Re:oblig... (3, Informative)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425057)

It still has memory hogging issues as well as performance issues in certain areas. More kernel tuning will be needed to tame the beast that is ZFS. It is good for many things but it does not replace EVERYTHING just yet.

Re:oblig... (5, Interesting)

BosstonesOwn (794949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425105)

as a worker at sun and having used ZFS and playing with it constantly , it is a good File system , I appreciate the little things it has and it has brought data stability to a whole new level. I think personally that this will be a defining moment for ZFS , it will be linux ready soon ( at the same level of stability that the mac will enjoy ) and it will take off and become more of a standard for unix and linux boxes.

To bad no windows port is available. It would be nice to see my unix drives from windows.

Re:oblig... (4, Funny)

mapinguari (110030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425337)

You misunderstood him. He said that it would bring about "War and Peace", not world peace.
Every ZFS volume has a copy of the Tolstoy classic embedded for internal benchmark purposes.

Re:oblig... (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425245)

One file system to rule them all.
I thought that was Plan-9. If they really want to look ahead why not look to plan-9

The were going to use Reiser (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424335)

But they killed that project.

Re:The were going to use Reiser (2, Interesting)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424495)

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:The were going to use Reiser (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424693)

"As a linux user" you probably masturbate a LOT, too. Do we need to know about it? Nope... Finish your bag of Cheetos.

Re:The were going to use Reiser (2, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425209)

If you don't like geeks discussing their experiences with technology, you could always, y'know, stop reading slashdot!

Re:The were going to use Reiser (3, Interesting)

soleblaze (628864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424761)

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.

Re:The were going to use Reiser (4, Informative)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#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] )

Re:The were going to use Reiser (3, Insightful)

Hes Nikke (237581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424827)

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:The were going to use Reiser (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424891)

(Correct me if I'm wrong, but some sort of ZFS driver is in the Linux kernel, and Sun is open sourcing Solaris.)


ZFS Driver is being written to use Fuse - GPL and CDDL code can't be mixed due to GPL's restrictive nature. Sun opensourced Solaris almost two years ago. Everything is at opensolaris.org.

Re:The were going to use Reiser (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425367)

I don't think ZFS would be the right choice for an iPod. It seems more like it's designed for servers with CPU time to burn on validating all the checksums. Maybe they should've used UDF.

Re:The were going to use Reiser (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425393)

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

I'm not sure it's so easy to include ZFS support in Windows-- at least, I don't see why it would be harder than including HFS+ support. There's already support for reading HFS+ in Linux, but Linux doesn't support ZFS.

Re:The were going to use Reiser (1, Funny)

aled (228417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424567)

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".

Re:The were going to use Reiser (-1, Troll)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424993)

This is Slashdot. We do not say "they killed the project". We say "but BSD/OpenSolaris/ZFS/etc is dead".

You left off "Windows sucks", "There's no good reason to run Microsoft Office anymore", "Bush should be impeached", "the RIAA, MPAA, DRM and software patents are evil", "information wants to be free", "Diebold rigs their electronic voting machines to favor Republicans", and "Steve Jobs has a reality distortion field" / "Steve Jobs is god".

Am I missing any other notorious Slashdot cliche?

Re:The were going to use Reiser (5, Funny)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425353)

Am I missing any other notorious Slashdot cliche?

I don't use Slashdot cliches, you insensitive clod!

Re:The were going to use Reiser (2)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425541)

In soviet russia, slashdot cliches use you!

Re:The were going to use Reiser (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Harsh reply! (2, Funny)

grandmofftarkin (49366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424887)

There is no need to 'stick the knife' in! ;-)

As Homer would say... (2, Funny)

dsginter (104154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424347)

Mmmm... Boiled Oceans!

I'm giving odds... (5, Informative)

Telephone Sanitizer (989116) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:I'm giving odds... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424643)


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.

Re:I'm giving odds... (5, Informative)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:I'm giving odds... (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425481)


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 eventually become the default, and anything it breaks that's important will have been fixed.

Re:I'm giving odds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424687)

But if im not mistaken, Leopard isn't available until october anyway so that wouldn't be a problem.

Re:I'm giving odds... (4, Interesting)

FuturePastNow (836765) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:I'm giving odds... (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424991)

5:1 that it is. You can bet your butt that Apple's working like hell to make it bootable. Now, take a look at Time Machine and tell me that doesn't sound a lot like ZFS.

Re:I'm giving odds... (1)

John Allsup (987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425535)

Alternatively, Apple may choose to use a small HFS+ boot partition to get the system into a state where it can finish booting from ZFS.

Re:I'm giving odds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425515)

Opensolaris version of ZFS is Bootable.

Booting from ZFS? (4, Interesting)

rollthelosindice (635783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424387)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424685)

Yes, OpenSolaris has been able to boot from ZFS via GRUB for a while now.

Re:Booting from ZFS? (4, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424979)

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?

He's already backpeddled (5, Informative)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 7 years ago | (#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."

Re:He's already backpeddled (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425195)

This seems to be a fairly large downfall in open source marketing. There really is no way to come out with a new software package and say "Surprise!! This is the best thing sense sliced bread!"

If linux had similar plans for ZFS then it would be supported, improved upon, discussed the pros and cons of using it in open forum and eventual it'd just show up. No press release. No Touting of new features. It'd just work.

In this way even a major update in opensource software is usually passed as, "Ohh, that's been working since the 0.09alpha3 patch 6 months ago. I thought this was news for nerd."

Re:He's already backpeddled (1)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425251)

Makes sense...

I mean if time machine relied on ZFS, that would mean current users using HFS+ couldn't use it... or they'd have to somehow convert HFS+ filesystems into ZFS...

Is that even possible without erasing everything on the disk?

It WAS... (5, Funny)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424405)

Not anymore, it ain't... Now, Apple will go with NTFS just to spite them...

Re:It WAS... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424631)

Do Windows users even use NTFS? My Win32 boxes are all FAT32.

Re:It WAS... (3, Informative)

CthulhuDreamer (844223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424841)

Microsoft crippled FAT32 in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Both of these can only format a 32GB FAT32 drive, anything bigger requires NTFS (or a third-party formatter). FAT32 also has a 4GB file size limit which is an issue when dealing with large avi files and DVD rips.

Re:It WAS... (2, Informative)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425189)

In Windows 2000 and XP you can format Fat32 up to 160gigs assuming you have the correct driver. With SP2 for XP you can format it up to 250gigs I believe. Most removable drives from Maxtor for instance were and are formatted Fat32.

Technically you're right though, since most Linux distros can format fat32 up to 2tb. NTFS is vastly superior though so the issue has never really affected me personally. Of course on a Windows machines you don't have to use Microsoft's formatting or partitioning tools, you can always format fat32 up to 2tb on your linux box then put the disk into a Windows box and it will read it just fine. I can't imagine why you would want to do that but the option exists.

Re:It WAS... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424847)

Do Windows users even use NTFS? My Win32 boxes are all FAT32.

Thanks to the ntfs-3g project, both Linux and OSX can use FUSE to get full read/write support of NTFS volumes.

Thus, yes, even my removable drives use NTFS at the moment.

That will all change soon, and I will format them HFS+, because I am now running Windows only in virtual machines and on a system which exists solely to run video signage software, and Linux has HFS+ support as well - without journaling, but I use the disks in question for backup and temp storage only. This is all at work; at home, we still have NT machines, so I still use NTFS.

Re:It WAS... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425149)

Naw, Apple's really going to spite MS by implementing and using WinFS.

Re:It WAS... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425449)

Maybe they should use WinFS, so that MS has somewhere to steal it from

No no no (5, Informative)

Guanine (883175) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.


SPONGE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424501)

are a few ggod morning. Now I haVe minutes now while Revel in our gay

Time to go back to bed. (0)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424505)

On my first read, I was wondered why Mark Hamil was making announcements about OS X file systems...

What Makes Me Nervous (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424513)

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.

Re:What Makes Me Nervous (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425041)

I believe you have the option to make snapshots of your system differential if you can, so you'll only be storing the changed data after the initial backup. That should save you a little space.

Sounds good but.. (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424517)

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.

Re:Sounds good but.. (1)

lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425483)

In the past, there has been a button in the installer that lets you specify somewhat more precisely how to do the installation. This includes a drop box that allows the user to choose among the (supported) filesystems included in that release. This isn't nearly as complex or feature-rich as is included in various Linux distribution installers, but is at least good enough for most power users. Anyone who needs more advanced features than this has probably noticed that before beginning the installer there is a menu which includes various utilities, one of which is the Disk Utility for all of your partitioning and RAIDing needs.

I doubt it (4, Insightful)

ceswiedler (165311) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:I doubt it (2, Interesting)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424647)

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:I doubt it (1)

dabraun (626287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425093)

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 ;-)


Care to back that up? I don't know the pros and cons of HFS, but it sounds like if they needed to change filesystems to support what is basically the same idea as Windows's system restore feature (time machine) then HFS wasn't "significantly better than NTFS. As to ZFS, can you elaborate on what makes it any better than NTFS (I'm not saying it isn't...)

Re:I doubt it (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425249)

"Z" is a way better letter than even both "N" and "T" put together.

Re:I doubt it (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425295)

Actually, I believe that what they're talking about is closer to NTFS's Volume Copy Shadow Service [wikipedia.org] .

NTFS isn't a bad file system, by any means; however, it does things differently than UNIX, and therefore, to some, is inherently flawed. Of course, these same people then turn around and talk about how bad a monoculture is...

Re:I doubt it (1)

dabraun (626287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425415)

Actually, I believe that what they're talking about is closer to NTFS's Volume Copy Shadow Service.


We are both right. System Restore is built on top of the Volume Shadow Copy Service. System restore is a user-visible feature (pervious versions tab on files in Vista, and the actual system restore checkpoint UI in both Vista and XP), Volume Shadow Copy is a technology used for this and other things (live backups of large server systems for example).

Oh, great: another DiskWarrior lag (2)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424547)

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.

case-insensitive: performance, i18n, safety (1, Insightful)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424869)

Performance:

Suppose I want to access a file.

First, the filesystem looks it up. This operation takes time proportional to the log of the directory size. Maybe you do better with hashes.

On a case-sensitive (POSIX-compliant) filesystem, you're done. You have the file, or you can return an error code.

On a case-insensitive filesystem, your done if you're lucky. If not lucky, you need to do a linear scan of the whole damn directory. Many places have a directory with some insane amount of files. Intentionally or not, it's common to go into the tens of thousands. A few places (running XFS mainly, sometimes Reiserfs) get into the millions.

Because of the way directory listings are done (read then look up stats) you can generally square the above numbers. Ouch.

I18N:

Then there is the issue of internationalization. For example, consider "I" and "i". Some places have an uppercase with the dot, and other places have a lowercase without the dot. The rules for uppercasing and lowercasing differ from what most people are used to. Oh crap! This issue doesn't exist on a case-sensitive filesystem.

Safety:

App needs to make a file. App sees that file does not seem to exist. App writes file. Complex international case rules mean that no, the file DOES exist, and it gets clobbered.

Re:case-insensitive: performance, i18n, safety (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425259)

"On a case-insensitive filesystem, your done if you're lucky. If not lucky, you need to do a linear scan of the whole damn directory."

Er, why? If you're case-insensitive, you use a casefolded index for lookups, surely?

Re:case-insensitive: performance, i18n, safety (5, Informative)

kithrup (778358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425491)

Sorry, but your description of the lookup process isn't right. First: lookup depends on the way directory entries are store. On UFS, it's a non-sorted array; in order to do a lookup, you need to (worst case) scan the entire directory. On VxFS, they use a hash, so first you hash the input, and then do run through the entries that have a matching hash. On HFS+, the catalog is stored as a B-tree, so you do compares to get to the right node, and then look through the node until you either find it or reach the end of the node. Second: None of those is affected by case-insensitivity. You simply do a case-insensitive compare each time. This is the difference between HFS+ and HFSX on Mac OS X: in the former, the key-compare function is a Unicode case-insensitive comparator; on the latter, it's just a memcmp. Third: your comment about "i" is a glyphing issue, not a character issue. Apple has a pretty good technote up on their HFS+ impelementation, and it describes the way the case insensitivity works. I recommend reading it.

Re:Oh, great: another DiskWarrior lag (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424893)

(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:Oh, great: another DiskWarrior lag (2, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425355)

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:Oh, great: another DiskWarrior lag (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425207)

then you probably believed Microsoft when they said NTFS volumes never needed defragmentation

I don't have a Windows computer so I cannot back up the claims, but from what I've heard there is no real performance benefits from defragmenting NTFS as opposed to FAT where there is a significant improvement.

Is that all? (2, Interesting)

o-hayo (700478) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424571)

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:Is that all? (3, Informative)

kildurin (938538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425159)

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

Is it too much to ask that the summary writer... (1)

objekt (232270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424595)

...mentions that ZFS is from Sun?

Re:Is it too much to ask that the summary writer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424905)

I'd never heard of ZFS before, but the summary made it pretty obvious to me that it was from Sun (an announcement from the Sun CEO, and a prior request that Sun port it for them).

Switch all filesystems to ZFS... (5, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424603)

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:Switch all filesystems to ZFS... (3, Informative)

target562 (623649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424665)

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:Switch all filesystems to ZFS... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424817)

Hmmm... I've been running a linux laptop with SGI's XFS as my root filesystem for the last 5 years, that's a 1990's-era filesystem. Never had a problem with it, including surviving many kernel panics and random emergency power-offs. Seems to be a great filesystem for real engineering-type workloads (lots of files, big files, etc).

From what I've heard, ZFS is being promoted over a much better (i.e. backwards-compatible) in-house filesystem by a bunch of ex-Sun zealots who now work at Apple...

Let's hope it's the truth (3, Insightful)

Otterley (29945) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Let's hope it's the truth (3, Informative)

larkost (79011) | more than 7 years ago | (#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+.

Leopard secret features (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424717)

I think this is true. ZFS is maybe the biggest of Leopard secret features that will be revealed next week at the WWDC. I believe this is the real reason Leopard was delayed.
If it's really the default file system on OS X 10.5 it really is big news.
We will see.

OT Grammer/Spelling Nazi Alert (4, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424753)

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.

You misspelt "grammar" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19424793)

Back, nazi, back!

Re:You misspelt "grammar" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425219)

Maybe I need Firehosers to vet my comments while they're at it ;)

Re:OT Grammer/Spelling Nazi Alert (1)

doombringerltx (1109389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425119)

I agree. The other day on the firehose I saw a summary refer to "Huxley's 1984" and my soul cried a little bit.

Video Demo of ZFS (3, Interesting)

kildurin (938538) | more than 7 years ago | (#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]

This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (3, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424785)

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.

Re:This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (0)

kildurin (938538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424875)

No, ZFS does not require reformatting. It really is about a two second command to create even on the largest Jbod's I have (over a terabyte in 250G drives). I also do not believe that Apple will force it on you.

Re:This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424949)

Thanks, I was under the impression going from HFS to ZFS was not so trivial. I thought it was more like going from fat32 to ntfs and not like going from ext2 to ext3.

Re:This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (1)

dabraun (626287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425221)

Thanks, I was under the impression going from HFS to ZFS was not so trivial. I thought it was more like going from fat32 to ntfs and not like going from ext2 to ext3.


Windows has long included tools to convert fat/fat32 volumes to ntfs in-place (both during upgrade and after the fact). I'm sure Apple can pull this off if they want to.

Re:This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (2, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425551)

And the windows tool has *always* been crap which results in less stable and predictable systems.

Re:This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19425001)

Apple doesn't force things on people, they move on. I don't remember backward compatibility ever being a concern for Apple (hardware or software).
What about the meta-data and permissions from their current file system? Will it transfer cleanly to ZFS? I bet not.

Re:This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (1)

maubp (303462) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425205)

A few seconds? Surely all that can be doing is setting up an empty ZFS file system on a new drive (overwritting any existing partition). I guess that's still much faster than other file systems.

However, wasn't the OP asking about converting an existing HFS+ partition into a ZFS partition while preserving the data - that would surely take a significant amount of time.

I expect it would be optional for upgraders, who might just stay on HFS+

Re:This can, potentially, make upgrades a pain.. (2, Interesting)

larkost (79011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425485)

No, you are wrong. Going from HFS+ to ZFS would require some tricky maneuvers to get the data moved over. On the Intel Macs (actually... on Mac's formated with EFI's disk format, but these are only Intel Macs) can volumes be dynamically resized, which would be needed in this case. Even then there would be some real gymnastics involved on a disk over 50% full.

You are right that ZFS can handle volume size changes live (and HFS+ can sort-of do it), but this does not mean it is a slam-dunk. I would not want to be a product manager in charge of providing the transition code.

Two things... (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424855)


How will ZFS work with Bootcamp?

When is Leopard coming out? I know it's been delayed, maybe they're testing it with ZFS?

How does it compare ... (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19424943)

to the new MS filesystem? You know, the one that was in Vista until it got dropped. That was supposed to be bleeding edge a couple of years ago. Not trolling, just curious.

Whither Macintosh HD?? (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425397)

This is just total utter complete speculation on my part, but one of the features of ZFS I like is the pool concept where you just add disks to the total storage space and then carve it up any way you see fit. I tested this with Solaris 10 on VMware and it really is just that easy...add the disk to the machine, then register it with the pool. Done. No muss, no fuss. I was shocked at how fast and easy it was.

Anyway, where I'm going with this is: Why should we still have disks on the desktop? If all the physical disks are just part of one big pool, you do away with needing to see the various disk icons and instead have something maybe similar to "This computer" with a different organizational structure; you see Applications as a group (a la the original Windows Program Manager) while your home directory stays the same in the nested-folder style.

What I'm really wondering is if ZFS could be an integral part of a totally redesigned Finder interface that allows for Apple to get away from the traditional Disk/Directory paradigm. I know Unix in general really doesn't support a disk paradigm at all (which is why I've always preferred Unix over Windows...none of the C: or D: business) and it'd be great to have the same thing on the Mac with Apple's capability for superior interfaces.

By saying "THE" filesystem... (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425549)

...The Schwartz meant "THE" as in "it's THE filesystem all the COOL KIDS will be using." He didn't necessarily mean the ONLY filesystem.

Oh, and can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these things?

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