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Ubuntu Is Planning To Make The ZFS File-System A "Standard" Offering

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  • #31
    Originally posted by mjg59 View Post
    I have spoken to actual lawyers who have launched actual lawsuits in this field and who disagree with your position.
    Is that you making a potentially false equivalence between this and another case where you had their opinion or you having their actual opinion on ZoL itself? Can you provide names, bar numbers and actual written statements?

    A quick Google search suggests that the only attorney with an actual published opinion is this guy:

    http://www.rtt-law.com/public/files/...te%20paper.pdf

    His thinking is somewhat different than private opinions that I have had in that it relies on fair use, but he still concludes ZoL is fine. The ones with whom I have spoken directly took the stronger argument that a Linux port of ZFS is a derived work of OpenSolaris, not Linux.

    Joerg Schilling in a comment on the CentOS FAQ names "the lawyers of Harald Welte" as stating that a ZFS port to Linux is fine too:

    In contrary, well-known lawyers (e.g. the lawyers of Harald Welte) explained why a combination of a filesystem with the Linux kernel is not problem.
    http://centosfaq.org/centos/native-zfs-on-linux/

    I have heard that the ZFS Linux port is fine first hand from both an attorney at the US DoJ and an attorney at the FSFE, although the one at the FSFE thought that certain forms of advertising that are not used might be able to trigger the derived works clause. I can contact the one at the DoJ while I do not have contact information at the FSFE, but you can contact them for their opinion.

    I have heard second hand from members of various organizations that the ZFS port passed their legal review. I know firsthand that it passed the Gentoo licensing team's review, although that was not subject to scrutiny from an actual attorney until the attorney who works at the US DoJ checked it for us on his own time. I will withhold names since some of this was said in private discussions, but I could ask various organizations to publish their legal analysis if I consider that necessary. Whether they do is another matter, but I would be surprised if none honor that request if I were to make it.

    So far, I have found zero statements from actual attorneys to the contrary of what I have said, but I have had multiple attorneys confirm that my statements are correct either firsthand or through an intermediary.
    Last edited by ryao; 07 October 2015, 08:42 AM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by ryao View Post

      Is that you making a potentially false equivalence between this and another case where you had their opinion or you having their actual opinion on ZoL itself?
      On ZoL itself.

      Can you provide names, bar numbers and actual written statements?
      No. But you may note that Debian chose not to ship ZFS as part of main.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by mjg59 View Post
        On ZoL itself.
        Would they be willing to talk to me? The last guy (someone studying to be an attorney) with whom I spoke who thought there might be a violation thought that the SPL was being used to circumvent GPL symbol export restrictions, which is not true. That might be the case with what you heard. It is hard to tell without dialogue.

        Originally posted by mjg59 View Post
        No. But you may note that Debian chose not to ship ZFS as part of main.
        Debian is free to omit things from main for any number of reasons, so that does not seem relevant.
        Last edited by ryao; 07 October 2015, 08:51 AM.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post

          UEFI requires a FAT32 file system to boot from.
          You can still have a separate /boot partition. The only thing the FAT32 EFI partition has on it is the boot loader bits. The kernel and everything else is still in /boot on a native Linux file system.

          I see no reason why you can't have a separate /boot partition and have / formatted as ZFS.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by ryao View Post
            Would they be willing to talk to me? The last guy (someone studying to be an attorney) with whom I spoke who thought there might be a violation thought that the SPL was being used to circumvent GPL symbol export restrictions, which is not true. That might be the case with what you heard. It is hard to tell without dialogue.
            Probably not unless you're paying them, but I can assure you that there was no misunderstanding of the technical details involved. But the reality is that we don't know whether ZoL is a derivative work or not. No court has ruled on a sufficiently close matter to have confidence in the judgement. We can both have beliefs about the likely outcome, but to assert outright that it's not a derivative work is unjustifiable. There is risk associated with shipping ZoL, just as there is in shipping any other GPL-incompatible module. Based on the legal advice you've received, you may feel that the risk is sufficiently small that you can ignore it. Others may reach different conclusions.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by mjg59 View Post
              Probably not unless you're paying them, but I can assure you that there was no misunderstanding of the technical details involved. But the reality is that we don't know whether ZoL is a derivative work or not. No court has ruled on a sufficiently close matter to have confidence in the judgement. We can both have beliefs about the likely outcome, but to assert outright that it's not a derivative work is unjustifiable. There is risk associated with shipping ZoL, just as there is in shipping any other GPL-incompatible module. Based on the legal advice you've received, you may feel that the risk is sufficiently small that you can ignore it. Others may reach different conclusions.
              Being unsure is very different than being certain it is not okay. I have heard unequivocal statements from attorneys that ZoL is not a derived work of Linux. I have heard statements along the lines of "unsure" from non-attorneys. It does not surprise me to hear that there are actual attorneys who are of the opinion "unsure" as it is very rare that there is no dissent among attorneys.

              However, if we restricted our activities to those that every attorney on the planet says is definitely okay, nothing would ever be done. Linux itself falls under this category for the somewhat different reason of being potentially covered by software patents held by Microsoft, which is why smart phone manufacturers shipping Android are settling with Microsoft. If people stopped doing things whenever not all attorneys agree that something is okay, SCO would have killed Linux, AT&T would have killed BSD and more generally, F/OSS would likely not exist.
              Last edited by ryao; 07 October 2015, 09:17 AM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by FuturePilot View Post
                You can still have a separate /boot partition. The only thing the FAT32 EFI partition has on it is the boot loader bits. The kernel and everything else is still in /boot on a native Linux file system.
                Yes, hence why I said "to boot from" and not "as a /boot partition". It's usually mounted as /boot/efi.

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                • #38
                  Richard,

                  Is there any hope for an Ubuntu installer that supports a ZFS as root installation? I think this would be huge for increasing ZFS adoption in the community. It could even lead to ZFS being the default filesystem for Linux.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by monraaf View Post
                    Richard,

                    Is there any hope for an Ubuntu installer that supports a ZFS as root installation? I think this would be huge for increasing ZFS adoption in the community. It could even lead to ZFS being the default filesystem for Linux.
                    I think it is unlikely that Canonical will do that in the first release with ZFS support, but if users request it after initial support lands, it is possible that they would implement it in the following release.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by unixfan2001 View Post
                      That toxic license is, once again, making things more complicated for everyone involved.
                      Here's hoping someone will eventually beat the FSF/RMS in court, turning their overly complicated (it has more in common with corporate EULAs/TOS' than most liberal open source licenses), lawyer-speak of a license agreement into finely grained dust.
                      What utter BS! The CDDL license was intentionally crafted to be incompatible with GPL to prevent Solaris code from ending up in the Linux kernel and you are blaming the GPL/FSF!

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