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OpenZFS 2.1.3 released • Registry

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The OpenZFS project has released version 2.1.3 of what the project calls its “open-source storage platform” for Linux and FreeBSD.

The terminology reflects that ZFS is not just a file system; it also encompasses features for partitioning and managing logical volumes. This makes creating and managing what ZFS calls “pools” of storage easier than most of its competitors, such as Btrfs or XFS, which work with existing partitioning and LVM tools.

This leads to some overlap. For example, Btrfs includes its own RAID tools, but so does the Linux kernel and LVM2. Red Hat is also working on a new storage manager called stratiswhich aims to compete with the features of ZFS.

the last version fixes several issues as of July 2021 2.1.0 Release. This included significant new features, the most notable of which is Parity Declustered RAID or dRAID, which allow [PDF] Much faster resilvering of large RAIDZ arrays.

The version number is a bit confusing. OpenZFS 2 succeeded version 0.86, and there was never a “version 1”, as we described it at the time. The current Ubuntu long-term support release, 20.04, uses OpenZFS 0.8.3.

As the OpenZFS module must work closely with the Linux kernel, each version is only compatible with certain kernel versions: for example, 2.1.0 supported from kernel 3.10 to 5.13. The new version exceeds the upper limit of the 5.16 kernel.

The main Linux distribution that uses ZFS is Ubuntu, and its next LTS release, 22.04, is due out on April 27. As such, OpenZFS 2.1.3 is too late to be included. “Jammy Jellyfish” will use the current long-term core, version 5.15. As such, it will almost certainly use OpenZFS 2.1.2released in December 2021.

However, Ubuntu is not the only distribution to use ZFS. It is also supported in Proxmox, a Linux-based hypervisor, as well as NixOS, Void Linux, Arch Linux, and other distributions. OpenMediaVault, a Linux-based NAS distribution, includes an option to use the Proxmox kernel, which in turn also allows it to support ZFS.

The licensing conflict that is hampering Linux’s adoption of OpenZFS does not affect FreeBSD, which uses ZFS as its native file system. This also applies to FreeBSD-based products such as TrueNAS and XigmaNAS operating systems for NAS servers.

It is also supported in OpenSolaris derivatives such as Illumos, DilOS, OmniOS, OpenIndiana, SmartOS and the Nexenta NAS operating system. The original pre-OpenZFS release is still part of Oracle’s own Solaris.

Debian includes it in its contribs repository as source code, which means the dynamic kernel module system (or DKMS) should compile it every time the kernel is updated. The other major enterprise distributions, SUSE and Red Hat, both exclude ZFS for licensing reasons. Sun released it under its CDDL license, which is incompatible with the Linux kernel GPL2. Canonical believes that it is an acceptable use; others, like the Software Freedom Conservancy, feel it is not.

Besides Linux and FreeBSD, there is also OpenZFS on OS X or O3X for Apple’s macOS up to 10.15 – and a Windows Harbor too. ®