Bert JW Regeer (畢傑龍)

Sun should release ZFS under a GPL compatible license! ... Uhm, no!

Albert at Docunext is asking why ZFS is not under an GPL compatible license.
ZFS continues to get so much attention, its really bewildering to me that Sun doesn't release it under a GPL compatible license.
- ZFS?!!?!?!?
I posted a comment over at his blog, but I also wanted to post the same comment here. I have never really appreciated the whole Linux mindset of take take take, and wanted to have my position be known on this here blog because I feel it is an important matter that people ask me each time I mention ZFS to them.


Why should Sun be required to release their file system under a GPL compatible license just so that the GNU tards can take it and make it their own? Look at what happened to the wireless drivers that OpenBSD created, they were re-licensed under GPL meaning any new changes could not be brought back into the OpenBSD versions. The people doing so thought it was perfectly fine and so did many of the other Linux users. Yet when an OpenBSD developer had pieces of Linux code in his code so that he could slowly write his own driver for a certain piece of hardware there were harsh cries being made. Take take take, what do you give back?

Linux is not the end all be all open source operating system, I'll be honest, I have not used Linux for any of my contract work in the last year. Everything is FreeBSD. Why? Because the OS is more stable, everything comes as a whole, not everything is yet a different package from a random source. The kernel is generally secure, and so are the userland applications. Major bugs are less frequent and in general the whole thing is more solid because of the way it is put together.

Also, why can't Linus and the Linux kernel adapt and allow other licenses to sit in the kernel along side the rest of the kernel? This seems to be working for Mac OS X, and for FreeBSD. Where you can even choose to include ext2 support, thereby "tainting" your kernel with GPL code. Why can't Linux adapt the same possibility? Seems unfair that Sun should release their file system under a license that would benefit no-one else but the Linux community! What do they end up getting back for it?

Same thing is happening with DTrace, the Linux guys are re-making it from scratch because they like the feature set but they don't like the license. Once again, Mac OS X and FreeBSD seem to have no issues.

All the mainline kernel developers have been doing is putting ZFS down, Andrew Morton for example called it a Rampant Layering Violation ( (Jeff Bonwick replies: Yet, now btrfs is supposed to make everything better, yet it has those exact same layering violations. What gives?

Sun should and probably will never release ZFS under a GPL or GPL compatible license. It just does not make sense. There is no business need for them to do so, nor is there any return for them when they do. The people that are serious about storage right now are able to use ZFS through Solaris 10, OpenSolaris, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X Server.

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