Ubuntu Developers Seem To Be Really Pursuing ZFS Root Partition Support On The Desktop

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 12 February 2019 at 12:16 PM EST. 53 Comments
Earlier this month I reported on how Ubuntu developers indicated they were looking at ZFS support on the desktop as part of their work developing the new Ubuntu desktop installer GUI. It's quite clear now that they are indeed pursuing the work to allow Ubuntu desktop installs via their work-in-progress installer to support ZFS root installations.

As outlined in the aforelinked article, the developers indicated they were looking at "zfs on the desktop" after they had already been supporting ZFS as a standard offering for Ubuntu servers for a while and making the ZFS On Linux packages readily available. But their current Ubuntu desktop "Ubiquity" installer doesn't allow easily setting up a ZFS root partition with this out-of-tree file-system support.

As part of last week's desktop update notes with Ubuntu 19.04 "Disco Dingo" work in full swing, there were yet more indications of ZFS on the desktop happening.

Didier Roche commented on "Experimented with zfs on root partition on Desktop and via curtin." As well as having read more documentation on the ZFS file-system.

Jean Baptiste Lallement, also of the Canonical Desktop Team, commented as well that he "experimented with zfs on root partition on Desktop" as part of work on their new installer.

While not confirmed, presumably they are aiming to have this installer as an experimental option for April's Ubuntu 19.04 release. If that goes well, they could potentially have it be the default installer for the Ubuntu 19.10 cycle to vet it ahead of use for the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS desktop release. Seeing Ubuntu easily install to a ZFS root partition from their GUI installer would be rather unique among desktop Linux distributions. Though it does place them in a rather peculiar position with upstream Linux maintainers still not being interested in catering to ZFS due to its license / out-of-tree state.
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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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