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Thread: OpenZFS Committed To Improving Open-Source ZFS

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergio View Post
    Ok, so I restate:

    1. If ORACLE didn't want to hand out the technical merits of ZFS (which it obviously has) to competition, why did they create BTRFS? Can we imply from this that BTRFS is deliberately inferior? If not, why not just give away ZFS?
    Btrfs was created by Oracle before they acquired Sun. So it was a competing technology. The question now is, what motivation do they have to push Btrfs? Maybe for their Oracle Linux solutions. But right now their primary focus seems to be Oracle Solaris.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnc View Post
    So it was a competing technology. The question now is, what motivation do they have to push Btrfs? Maybe for their Oracle Linux solutions.
    Well obviously for their Linux offerings, these days however it's not just them developing BTRFS, we have Red Hat, Intel, Fujitsu, SUSE and many other companies actively developing BTRFS.

    Also it's doesn't have any copyright attribution and is licenced under GPL so it will remain a fully open project.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnc View Post
    But right now their primary focus seems to be Oracle Solaris.
    What do you base this on? From what I've read from Solaris fans they are pissed on Oracle for not focusing on Solaris and instead pushing their Linux efforts like their repackaged RHEL distribution called Unbreakable Linux.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnc View Post
    Btrfs was created by Oracle before they acquired Sun. So it was a competing technology. The question now is, what motivation do they have to push Btrfs? Maybe for their Oracle Linux solutions. But right now their primary focus seems to be Oracle Solaris.
    I see.
    I still fail to see why both BTRFS and ZFS are being pushed by Oracle. If both technologies are really "the same" (that is, in this case, BTRFS is not inferior to ZFS), why not just relicense ZFS and stop wasting resources on BTRFS? Unless Oracle provides BTRFS as an inferior file system for their non-Solaris solutions, and leave their best technology for Solaris solutions.
    But, as XorEaxEax says, not only Oracle is behind BTRFS, so I doubt it is indeed an inferior solution, in which case, again, I don't see what Oracle is trying to do...

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergio View Post
    I see.
    I still fail to see why both BTRFS and ZFS are being pushed by Oracle.
    I don't see how Oracle is 'pushing' ZFS at all. They no longer open source any enhancements and from what I recall reading there's not much development going on from Oracle's side.

    As I recall this came from a developer working on the open ZFS implementation so there might have been some bias in that reporting.

    Overall I don't think Solaris or ZFS were any key parts in Oracle's Sun aquisition, the 'prized' Sun IP as I gather were Java (which has a strong enterprise market and Oracle also hoped for a patent shakedown on Google which failed) together with MySQL, the latter mainly as a means to kill off competition to their own Oracle database offerings, which also seems to be failing we're seeing an exodus of MySQL users towards MariaDB.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sergio View Post
    Unless Oracle provides BTRFS as an inferior file system for their non-Solaris solutions, and leave their best technology for Solaris solutions.
    Again I don't see any indication that Oracle is pushing Solaris at all, but then again I must admit that I haven't been that interested in following Solaris commercial offerings.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergio View Post
    I see.
    I still fail to see why both BTRFS and ZFS are being pushed by Oracle. If both technologies are really "the same" (that is, in this case, BTRFS is not inferior to ZFS), why not just relicense ZFS and stop wasting resources on BTRFS? Unless Oracle provides BTRFS as an inferior file system for their non-Solaris solutions, and leave their best technology for Solaris solutions.
    But, as XorEaxEax says, not only Oracle is behind BTRFS, so I doubt it is indeed an inferior solution, in which case, again, I don't see what Oracle is trying to do...
    1. As I said countless times, licensing is not the problem people think it is; the majority of use cases are not affected at all. The real problem is that Linus is paranoid because of the Android lawsuit; he is so paranoid that I doubt he would accept ZFS even if it were under the GPL. The entire situation where people think that the GPL will magically solve things is unfortunate because the CDDL provides patent protection, which makes it a better license for fending off patent trolls than the GPL.

    2. Oracle wants nothing to do with ZFS on Linux. My guess is that this is for product segmentation. Oracle Linux is free for business use while Oracle Solaris requires a license to use it in a business. If you want to use their best stuff, you need to pay for it. They will still happily take your money for Linux support though. This lets them be everything to everyone and make as much money in the process as possible.

  6. #16
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    Just browsing the Oracle website it's clear that Solaris has a pride of prominence. They're looking to sell complete solutions (hardware + software) so you're basically looking at the old Sun stuff with Oracle atop.

    I do understand, however, that Oracle hasn't put a lot of resources into pushing Solaris forward (in terms of development). I was just referring to the marketing aspect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryao View Post
    The entire situation where people think that the GPL will magically solve things is unfortunate because the CDDL provides patent protection, which makes it a better license for fending off patent trolls than the GPL.
    Whether or not GPL magically solves anything is of no concern here as CDDL is GPL incompatible, again obviously intentionally by Sun (and I don't blame them, it would be insane to hand off your best tech to the competitor which is crushing you).

    As for better patent protection through the licence, if that was of key importance to Linus and the rest of the devs they could just aswell go with GPLv3 or modify their current GPLv2 licence to add patent protection clauses.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by XorEaxEax View Post
    Whether or not GPL magically solves anything is of no concern here as CDDL is GPL incompatible, again obviously intentionally by Sun (and I don't blame them, it would be insane to hand off your best tech to the competitor which is crushing you).

    As for better patent protection through the licence, if that was of key importance to Linus and the rest of the devs they could just aswell go with GPLv3 or modify their current GPLv2 licence to add patent protection clauses.
    The GPL had two major flaws:

    1. It had no patent protection.
    2. It did not allow derivative works to contain proprietary modules.

    Those problems would have prevented adoption of their code. 1 would have opened the door for Oracle to sue people for using it after they acquired Sun; the GPLv3 would address this, but it did not exist at the time. 2 would have made Open Solaris based distributions impossible for people to legally create because Open Solaris had some proprietary bits that Sun did not own.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryao View Post
    The GPL had two major flaws:

    1. It had no patent protection.
    2. It did not allow derivative works to contain proprietary modules.
    The second is certainly no flaw in my book, and certainly not according to Linus either, which he has often stated.

    Quote Originally Posted by ryao View Post
    2 would have made Open Solaris based distributions impossible for people to legally create because Open Solaris had some proprietary bits that Sun did not own.
    What does this have to do with Linux?

  10. #20
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    Default A Few Things

    Let me share how I understand some of this stuff. My "knowledge", if you want to call it that, comes from reading stuff like online news articles, Simon Phipps's forum posts on Groklaw, stuff like that, so keep in mind that I really don't know any more than anyone else who reads publicly available information.

    The Fucking License
    From what I've read in the past and from how I understand the licenses from reading them directly, the CDDL is considered to be incompatible with the GPL because the CDDL mandates several restrictions that are not in the GPL and the GPL explicitly prohibits most types of extra restrictions that are not part of the GPL to begin with. Because the GPL does not permit such additional restrictions, combining CDDL code with GPL code would violate the terms of the license of the GPL, but it would not violate the terms of the license of the CDDL code. On the other hand, removing the additional restrictions from the combined work's license would be a violation of the CDDL part, since the CDDL requires those restrictions. In other words, the CDDL requires something that the GPL prohibits.

    So, since combining GPL and CDDL would result in the license on the GPL part being violated, then the aggrieved party would be the copyright holder(s) of the GPL part, not the copyright holders of the CDDL part. In this case, that would mean that if CDDL-licensed ZOL was brought into the GPL-licensed Linux, it's the Linux license that would be violated, not the ZOL / ZFS license. In many (most?) jurisdictions, only the agrieved parties with title can bring suit, so in such jurisdictions, it would mean that Linux kernel developers could sue anyone trying to distribute this combined work, but Oracle wouldn't be able to sue, since only the kernel copyright holders' rights would be violated, not Oracle's rights.

    However, since title to the kernel is very distributed, that means that there are a lot of potential litigants out there. One or a couple such litigants are not a realistic threat. Alone, their contributions might be considered trivial, or in a worst case scenario, those contributions can simply be rewritten. However, imagine if a company who wants to destroy Linux went out and bought up the copyright to kernel code from as many past and current kernel contributors as were willing to sell theirs. This company could conceivably gain title to a very large portion of the Linux kernel. A lawsuit from such a hypothetical company would be dangerous.

    Also, and I never really understood how this works, but in some jurisdictions - I believe Germany is one - anyone can sue for a violation like this, not just an agrieved title holder. In other words, the license bullshit is not mere ideology. The Linux kernel, due to its decentralized title ownership, cannot afford to violate its own licenses.


    Why Oracle Bought Sun
    As I understood it at the time, the three primary reasons, ranked in order of priority, were as follows:
    1 - Protect Java from being heavily influenced by Oracle's competitors. Oracle had made very significant investments in Java (Sun was only the third-largest acquisition in Oracle's history; #1 and #2 were both Java vendors), and they were afraid that even with an open source license, Java falling into the hands of a company hostile to Oracle could result in architectural or political changes to Java that would make it harder for Oracle to profit from their Java businesses. Remember, IBM looked all set to buy Sun first and backed off due to concerns from anti-trust regulators. If Oracle didn't buy Sun, IBM could have come back and reworked their offer in such a way as to appease the regulators.
    2 - Oracle wanted to get into hardware, and acquiring Sun's existing hardware business was better than building from scratch.
    3 - Sun's treasure trove of IP.

    Everything else - MySQL, OpenOffice, etc. etc. - all of that was just icing. Oracle would never have spent anywhere near the kind of money it spent on Sun if things like MySQL were the main motivators. So while we sit here scratching our heads trying to figure out why the hell Oracle spent so much money on a bunch of technologies they then went on and fucked up, let's keep in mind that from Oracle's perspective, the Sun purchase got them exactly what they were after and in retrospect they probably consider it to be a very smart investment on their part.


    What Does Oracle Gain From Both ZFS And Btrfs
    I have no fucking clue. I do not know why they are investing in two advanced filesystems that have so much feature overlap and are positioned as direct competitors to each other. Maybe it's as Sergio and ryao suggest: artificial market segmentation. That's the only explanation that makes sense.

    On the other hand, I too have read that Oracle does not appear to be putting a lot of effort into furthering ZFS, so perhaps they are not that heavily invested in two directly competing technologies after all.


    Quote Originally Posted by ryao View Post
    The GPL had two major flaws:

    1. It had no patent protection.
    2. It did not allow derivative works to contain proprietary modules.

    Those problems would have prevented adoption of their code. 1 would have opened the door for Oracle to sue people for using it after they acquired Sun; the GPLv3 would address this, but it did not exist at the time. 2 would have made Open Solaris based distributions impossible for people to legally create because Open Solaris had some proprietary bits that Sun did not own.
    According to Danese Cooper (CDDL's primary author), the CDDL was designed to be GPL-incompatible intentionally because GPLv3 was in draft at the time and Sun's engineers, who did not like the license, asked Cooper to make sure the CDDL would be incompatible with the GPL. So to say that "the GPLv3 would address this, but it did not exist at the time" is not exactly true. The CDDL was written as a deliberate act of hostility against the GPL.

    As for proprietary modules in Open Solaris, my understanding at the time is that the situation was actually the other way around - that Solaris had proprietary bits, and these bits were removed during the introduction process of Open Solaris. But yes, I have read that a weaker copyleft than what was in GPL was one of the fundamental goals of the CDDL.

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