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Apple ceases efforts to bring ZFS support to Mac OS X

updated 04:25 pm EDT, Fri October 23, 2009

Company may be working on its own alternative

Despite previous efforts to bring support for the ZFS file-system to Mac OS X, Apple has dropped the project. Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz several years ago publicly claimed Leopard would utilize ZFS instead of HFS+, although Apple only provided limited support for the new technology. Even the read-only functionality was dropped with the transition to Snow Leopard.

Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber speculates the decision may have been based on legal hurdles rather than development difficulties. Sun was recently acquired by Oracle, although Apple has not yet provided a detailed explanation regarding why the project was stopped.

Gruber also suggests Apple is currently developing a its own alternative to be used in future revisions of OS X. The company has yet to formally announce a project, although a file system engineer is sought in the job listings.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bdmarsh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    a million voices cried out


    ZFS would have been nice for so many things... really a filesystem to make life easier for average people, especially as drive sizes and amount of data to manage gets so high.

    hopefully what apple is working on will be as good or better.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    of course...

    Why work on a standard that's already in place when you can start from scratch and take another 5 years.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bummer, maaaaan

    From all I'd read about ZFS it was like Shangri-La, Nirvana and NeverLand rolled into one!

    There did seem to be some twists in the way that ZFS worked and the way Mac users work.

    ZFS, if I understand all I'd read, was designed more for a server/fixed machine kind of environment, whereas many of us use portable machines and connect/disconnect external hard drives regularly to augment storage or for TimeMachine, etc. So, I think there were some real concerns about how ZFS would work in that kind of environment.

    Maybe Apple just wasn't able to pull it off and be able to guarantee a bomb-proof environment. Think of the Snow Leopard data destroyer glitch multiplied... not a good scenario!

  1. GopherAlex

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ZFS makes all other filesystems look primitive

    If Apple intends to beat ZFS, they have their work cut out for them. ZFS is probably the biggest advance in filesystem technology since hierarchical directories in the 1970s. It makes all other filesystems look like dinosaurs. Time Machine on HFS+ is a kludge in comparison to how it would work on ZFS. If Time Machine used ZFS snapshots, a full backup would take 2 seconds for a drive of any size, you would be able to mirror the snapshots across any number of internal or external HDs, and fit hundreds of backups of your data from different points in time on the same drive. All with guaranteed end-to-end data integrity, optional transparent compression and (soon) encryption. There is no need for journaling, or filesystem checks, and virtually zero chance of corruption because all writes are atomic and data is rebuildable. You can already do this on Solaris, FreeBSD, or Linux w/ FUSE. It's true that it was developed by Sun, which is a server vendor, but it would work great on desktops or portables as well.;jsessionid=372C15A48A2DC7DB95AEA86460498573

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