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ZFS/Linux Summit Meeting

Photos of Jeff Bonwick of ZFS fame and Linus Torvalds of Linux fame. Turns out that they’re neighbors and Jeff was just helping Linus hook up a new gas grill. (j/k)

ZFS is the ‘one filesystem to rule them all’ but it can’t be brought into the Linux kernel because of patents and licenses. ZFS is licensed under the CDDL, which gets it into FreeBSD and OSX, which are BSD and thus compatible with the CDDL, but not into the Linux kernel, which is GPLv2. If Linux were GPLv3, it would be possible for Sun to also license ZFS as GPLv3 and the twain could meet. However, Sun doesn’t really need to bother if Linux isn’t going to do it.

Note that a cleanroom implementation of ZFS could be GPLv2-compatible, but since it’s not CDDL-based the code wouldn’t have patents grants. “Sun Sues Linux Kernel Developers, News at 11” helps nobody.

I wrote on the ZFS list that having ZFS as a de-facto standard would lift all boats, and help Sun sell Thumpers. Assuming Jonathan dispatched Jeff to broker a “I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours” with Linus, we can look forward to the day when digital cameras come with ZFS flash cards instead of FAT32. And that the current owner of the FAT32 patents would be further isolated is really a key point.