Canonical Developers Preparing For More ZFS Improvements In Ubuntu 20.10

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 6 May 2020 at 12:08 AM EDT. 42 Comments
While Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was released less than two weeks ago, attention by Canonical and the Ubuntu development community has already turned to Ubuntu 20.10 as the Groovy Gorilla. With it being the first release past an LTS debut, they tend to be a more liberal in the changes in allowing plenty of time to stabilize before the next Long Term Support cycle. On the ZFS front it looks like we could be in for some more exciting changes.

Ubuntu 19.10 added the experimental root file-system on ZFS (OpenZFS/ZFSOnLinux) to their desktop Ubiquity installer as an experimental option. For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, using ZFS as the root file-system remains an experimental option but they made some refinements to the installer's user-interface, updated the ZoL snapshot, and also more improvements around their Zsys daemon including automated ZFS snapshots on APT transactions. That paired with the GRUB boot-loader support allows easily rolling back to earlier versions of the system should there be any severe package troubles.

This week's desktop team notes make it sound like ZFS will remain a big focus for Ubuntu 20.10. Canonical's Didier Roche noted he's been engaged in meetings on ZFS for the next cycle. Jean Baptiste Lallement, also of Canonical, noted this week he began analyzing ZFS encryption and various meetings regarding "ZFS and enterprise desktop."

It will be interesting to see what comes of Ubuntu's ZFS support over the next few months. Nicely exposing OpenZFS encryption capabilities seems like that could happen for supporting encrypted Ubuntu ZFS installations similar to their full-disk encryption currently with LVM. It will be interesting to see what more comes and if in the coming releases they end up further promoting Ubuntu running off ZFS.
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