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.
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
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 (http://lkml.org/lkml/2006/6/9/389)
(Jeff Bonwick replies: http://blogs.sun.com/bonwick/entry/rampant_layering_violation).
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.