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Leopard gets dose of Solaris ZFS

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Apple has apparently admitted its next operating system will utilize Sun Microsystems’ ZFS encrypted file system, contradicting earlier denials.

In a display of corporate left-hand/right-hand syndrome, Apple has reportedly confirmed comments made by Sun’s chief executive Jonathan Schwartz last week that Sun’s 128-bit ZFS for Solaris will appear in the Leopard Edition of OS X, due in October.

The only question is how far, and whether ZFS will be offered on a limited basis compared to Apple’s weaker HFS+.

Apple was expected to unveil the news at the company’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week in San Francisco, California, until senior director of product marketing for Mac OS Brian Croll reportedly said “ZFS is not happening” in Leopard.

For a moment it looked like Sun’s chief executive had succumbed to one of his trademark unscripted, and factually dubious, news announcements.

The kind of announcement that last year saw Oracle deny Schwartz’s claims that the database giant was adopting Sun’s open source NetBeans development framework.

Apple has now, though, reportedly (see comments) backed up Schwartz by admitting ZFS would be available in Leopard, only in a limited form and not as Leopard’s default file system. The confession came after astute InformationWeek readers pointed out pre-release editions of Leopard are using ZFS.

Unfortunately, despite multiple requests for confirmation and clarification for Reg readers, Apple had not - at the time of writing - budged from its communications policy of not engaging with The Register. [Will someone in China please include a carrier pigeon with the next crate of iPods heading stateside? - Ed]

The only question remaining is why Apple chose not to pull the lever on the ZFS news. Early indications are developers will welcome ZFS over Apple's file system, as this would have provide the ability to securely handle large volumes of data using a system built for the robust, and increasingly popular, Solaris 10 Unix operating system. ®

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