ZFS returns to Apple’s Mac

“In 2006, the next-gen file system developed by Sun was ported to Mac OS X. It was offered through an open source project. Many Mac storage and server managers expected expanded ZFS support to continue in Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server, however in the summer of 2009 Apple dropped the project altogether,” David Morgenstern reports for ZDNet. “There were technical concerns. However, a number of sources said that Apple pulled the plug because of Sun licensing demands.”

Now, Morgenstern reports, “Startup Ten’s Complement LLC will bring ZFS to Mac OS X, its principal software engineer announced late last week. Offered as Z-410 Storage, the file system (and now an actual product) is in the process of beta testing… Ten’s Complement Software Architect is Don Brady, a former senior Apple engineer.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. “However, a number of sources said that Apple pulled the plug because of Sun licensing demands.”

    Sun, of course, is no more, as Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems was completed in January of 2010. One would think Jobs and his friend Ellison could work out a deal.

      1. That’s precisely what Raymond in DC is implying. Now that Sun is out of the picture, ZFS suddenly re-appears on Apple’s radar. The only natural conclusion is that the two guys in fact DID work out a deal.

  2. The importance of ZFS cannot be overestimated. It is like instant SAN. All drives are treated as one large partition. Add a drive and it is magically assimilated into your mass storage file structure. Can’t wait to download it.

  3. I was excited when I saw the title, but the details have me concerned. I’m reluctant to switch to a third party file system for my Mac, regardless of how great it is. If this 3rd party is able to develop it, and presumably license it, I wonder if Apple can then buy the company and now get decent licensing. I hope so.

    1. AFAIK, ZFS is still under CDDL.
      So anybody can do this.
      In a way, it’s not too bad that a 3rd-party develops it.
      Though they can go bankrupt, smaller companies usually don’t pull the plug on a product like Apple did (rm -rf fashion).

      1. I don’t think the mouse is headed for the museum just yet. It is still better than finger, stylus, or trackball for certain tasks. For example, I’m a graphic designer. While I love to use a stylus for paint-type work, for precision work I always use the mouse. With a stylus I cannot hold the cursor on a single pixel for more than a second or so, but with a mouse it is easy.

  4. From memory, wasn’t the last implementation of ZFS on OS X limited in some ways? I vaguely recall trying it out and not being able to use the drive that was formatted with it as a boot disk. Maybe it’s my imagination but the last implementation had some restrictions like that for some strange reason.

  5. Don’t hold your breath folks. ZFS had a very long and drawn out history in its first incarnation for Mac OS X. It never did entirely work. Part of the problem was that:

    1) Sun never fully participated in the project.
    2) ZFS wasn’t exactly finished even on Sun’s operating systems. It was as much theory as fact, aka semi-vaporware.

    Hopefully the spec for ZFS is now actually complete. We can only hope that the version for Mac OS X eventually becomes complete as well. We shall see…

    1. What are you talking about? ZFS has been “complete” for some time. Solaris 10/OpenSolaris has great support for it, and Solaris 11 uses ZFS as the default now.

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