Apple says no ZFS for Mac OS X Leopard [UPDATED]

“An Apple official on Monday said Sun Microsystems’ open-source file system would not be in the next version of the Mac operating system, contradicting statements made last week by Sun’s chief executive,” Antone Gonsalves reports for InformationWeek.

“During an interview with InformationWeek, Brian Croll, senior director of product marketing for the Mac OS, said, ‘ZFS is not happening,’ when asked whether Sun’s Zettabyte File System would be in Leopard. Instead, Leopard would use Apple’s current hierarchical file system, called HFS+. The Apple file system was first introduced in 1998 in Mac OS 8.0,” Gonsalves reports.

“Croll declined to comment on statements made last week by Sun Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz, who said the use of ZFS would be announced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Upon further questioning, Croll would only confirm that Apple had never said ZFS would be a part of Leopard,” Gonsalves reports. “A representative with Sun did not have any immediate comment.”

Full article here.

[UPDATE: 11:39pm EDT: Apple: Mac OS X Leopard will use ZFS – June 12, 2007]


  1. We are moving all of our site designs to an informational flow rather than the staid hierarchical approach. I was really hoping that Apple would do the same since an informational navigation-flow is a much easier to comprehend user interface.

  2. According to what I read, ZFS is pretty awesome and it should be a future part of Mac OS X.

    Of course there is problems licensing something like this later on after it’s implemented. Apple is quite qualified to make their own.

    What I feel has happened was that Apple was there to take a closer peak, toying with them about using it, but in the meanwhile deciding how to make their own better version in house.

    Now Schwartz could have been trying to force Apple’s hand, call their bluff or putting Apple on patent lawsuit notice.

    Perhaps Apple really is going to use it, but not right away. Later versions of Leopard perhaps?

    Perhaps Schwartz was just trying to get some free publicity for the format?

  3. people were silly to get their hopes up, this file system is not ready for the mainstream, sun don’t even use it as boot drive, it needs to mature, but it is nice to know apple are aware of its potential

  4. Some people have commented that there are too many difficult issues with ZFS for Apple to jump on it so quickly. Apple is definitely working on ZFS and may well include it in the next version of OS X — or is it OS XI. On a server, it would be awesome.

    Still, I am disappointed. But then Apple never claimed they would suppot ZFS.

  5. There’s already screen shots out there that show ZFS as a formatting option in the leopard builds. So it’s clearly supported.

    Bob is seriously mistaken about ZFS not being ready for mainstream… There are a LOT of companies using it for production systems. Being a boot partition or not doesn’t really enter into it. The benefit of ZFS isn’t really related to booting a system it has to do with binding together large numbers of cheap disks with little effort.

    Perhaps apple wont feature it, but they’d be foolish to pull it out.

  6. Apple simply isn’t going to implement ZFS until they solve the boot problem. That’s just the way they operate. Once they have a complete solution to take advantage of the technology, then they’ll put it to use. Apple just isn’t in the habit of half-assed features.

  7. When you’re dealing with people who are making public statements, they sometimes choose their words very carefully.

    Statement #1 “Leopard would use Apple’s current hierarchical file system, called HFS+”

    Statement #2 “Apple had never said ZFS would be a part of Leopard”

    On the face of it, you could be forgiven for thinking that ZFS is dead in the water for now as far as Apple is concerned and that only HFS+ is to be used in the near future.

    But these two statements are not mutually exclusive. Leopard will clearly use HFS+, Apple has never said that ZFS is going to be a part of Leopard. But there’s nothing to say that Leopard couldn’t use both HFS+ ~and~ ZFS and there’s nothing to say that ~only~ HFS+ will be used in Leopard.

    For instance, there are known difficulties with ZFS and booting from it, but it might be desirable to use HFS+ on an internal drive within a Mac, but to use a system like ZFS on a networked drive, such as one plugged into an AirPort Base Station. This certainly could fit well with some of the plans that Apple have recently announced.

    I’ve no idea whether this is at all likely, technically possible, or even desirable, but doing so would still reconcile those two apparently conflicting statements.

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