Apple drops ZFS project

Apple has cancelled its plans to port Sun's high-volume storage file system to the Snow Leopard release of Mac OS X
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Apple has ended its two-year-old effort to port Sun's ZFS file system to Mac OS X.

On Friday, Apple published a short statement on its Mac OS Forge developer website announcing the shutdown. "The ZFS project has been discontinued. The mailing list and repository will also be removed shortly," the statement said.

Sun began developing the 128-bit ZFS file system for the Solaris operating system in 2004. The file system integrated features aimed at large storage capacities, and provided continuous integrity checking and automatic repair.

In 2007, Sun chief executive Jonathan Schwartz announced that ZFS would be introduced into Mac OS X, though Apple quickly qualified this assertion, saying it was evaluating ZFS only for high-end storage systems.

In August the same year, Apple created the ZFS project on Mac OS Forge. The project provided developers with the source code and binaries of the ZFS port.

Version 10.5 of Mac OS X (Leopard), released in October 2007, contained a read-only version of ZFS that lacked some features. Apple also initially advertised ZFS support as a feature of Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard), the current version, although references to ZFS were later removed from the software's feature list.

There are some questions around the future of ZFS, due to a NetApp patent lawsuit centring on the software and Oracle's planned takeover of Sun.

In September 2007, NetApp filed a lawsuit against Sun alleging that ZFS violates seven of its patents. Oracle, which is in the process of acquiring Sun, is developing its own open-source file system tuned for large storage configurations, called Btrfs.

Sun has continued developing the ZFS filesystem and integrated support for solid-state disks in a June release.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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