Oracle Could Still Make ZFS A First-Class Upstream Linux File-System

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 24 October 2017 at 03:00 PM EDT. 81 Comments
For many years Linux storage enthusiasts have dreamed of having the ZFS file-system part of the mainline Linux kernel. But since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems that outlook has looked much more bleak that they would re-license the ZFS kernel code under a license compatible with the upstream GPLv2 Linux kernel. But an Oracle engineer presented today that the ZFS Linux dream might still come true.

The OpenZFS Developer Summit 2017 kicked off today in San Francisco. Mark Maybee of Oracle was today's keynote address on ZFS now and in the future. His talk got more juicy as time went on...

And, yes, acknowledged Oracle has "reduced investment in Solaris" while they focus more on the cloud.

Mark brought up ZFS and Linux more times during his talk than Solaris mentions. Mark is a senior software architect at Oracle and was a Sun Microsystems turned Oracle employee since 1998.

Next he talked about "not what will happen... what could happen [within Oracle]."

Mark wants to see ZFS become a core part of Linux. He wants it to become "the file-system of Linux" and "that could happen" for "core Linux." He later said, "it's a possibility... but I can't say how strong of a possibility," that includes talking with Oracle lawyers about the code license of both ZFS and Solaris.

Mark would like to see Oracle port Oracle ZFS to Oracle Linux and upstream that. He commented, "Hard to say if it will happen...Oracle is very protective of their IP. We've had conversations about it."

Seeing ZFS become a first-class Linux file-system with upstream support is clearly something Maybee is passionate about, but at this stage isn't clear if that will actually happen. At least it's being talked about internally and perhaps stands better chances now with their reduced investment in Solaris. He does acknowledge though things are changing at Oracle while culturally still have challenges with the open-source way and a tough time with the "giving part" of open-source collaboration but not the "taking" part.

Other ZFS improvements he would like to see besides great Linux support is supporting the file-system properly for persistent memory / Intel 3D XPoint memory as well as improved cloud support.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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