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Apple dumps Sun's ZFS

Wanted: file system engineer

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Apple is dumping ZFS.

A notice appeared on Mac OS Forge on Friday: "The ZFS project has been discontinued. The mailing list and repository will also be removed shortly."

ZFS is Sun's 128-bit file system, created for its Solaris operating system and distributed as an open source package. It is highly scalable, contains intrinsic data integrity and protection features, and supports hybrid pools of storage created from different types of storage media.

In June 2007, Sun's then CEO Jonathan Schwartz said Apple had decided ZFS would become the filesystem in Mac OS X 10. It proved to be an inflated claim. After an initial denial, Apple said ZFS would be present only as an option in the Leopard version of Mac OS X, alongside its existing HFS+ file system.

However, earlier this year ZFS was not included in the Snow Leopard update of Mac OS X. At the time Apple stayed silent about the status of ZFS in its operating system development plans.

Now ZFS appears to have been given the heave-ho. Licensing and technology status issues may have been part of the Apple decision. As part of the background, NetApp is suing Sun for patent infringement by ZFS, with Sun counter-suing, and Oracle is buying Sun. The Oracle acquisition has raised doubt over the future status of ZFS, and it's possible that it may just disappear, becoming a foot note in IT history.

Apple is looking for a file system engineer, by the way. The successful applicant will "work on state-of-the-art file system technologies for Mac OS X."

Apple's Mac OS Forge provides resources for selected open source projects. The website is "dedicated to supporting the developer community surrounding open source components specific to Mac OS X. Here you will find resources for working with the source code to popular Apple-original projects, as well as third party projects that are closely related to the Macintosh operating system."

It currently includes projects such as BridgeSupport, the Darwin Calendar Server and Streaming Server, Launchd, libdispatch, which is a user space implementation of Apple's Grand Central Dispatch technology, MacPorts, MacRuby, WebKit, XQuartz and, until recently, ZFS. ®

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