Ubuntu 23.10 Restores ZFS File-System Support In Its Installer

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 13 September 2023 at 02:20 PM EDT. 32 Comments
When Canonical rolled out their new Flutter-based Ubuntu Linux desktop installer it lacked support for ZFS root file-system installations. Canonical has been quiet about their (Open)ZFS intentions after years of offering it as an Ubuntu install option with their prior installer, but for Ubuntu 23.10 this support is being restored.

After Ubuntu 23.04 shipped without a ZFS install option in their installer, I was surprised while testing Ubuntu 23.10 daily ISOs in recent days to notice the ZFS support has returned! From the advanced disk options in the Ubuntu 23.10 desktop installer, installing to ZFS has been restored.

Ubuntu 23.10 with ZFS option

This Subiquity bug report from three weeks ago by Tim Holmes-Mitra as the Director of Engineering for the Ubuntu Desktop confirms Canonical's intentions with Ubuntu 23.10. He commented:
"ZFS support is being added for 23.10 (both in subiquity and the desktop installer). For 23.10 ZFS encryption is not supported."

So for those wanting to run Ubuntu atop a ZFS root file-system, this easy option is indeed making its return for Ubuntu 23.10 that is due out next month and ahead of the all-important Ubuntu 24.04 LTS cycle.

Ubuntu 23.10 installed

The ZFS support for Ubuntu is still being treated as "experimental". With the OpenZFS kernel driver remaining outside of the Linux kernel tree, you're still at risk of breakage should you be jumping to new kernels quickly as well as taking other risks. EXT4 remains the default file-system on both the Ubuntu desktop and server spins.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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