Damn…Jonathan Schwartz (CEO of Sun) has severely thrown down vs. Network Appliance in his blog. Recap: Sun’s ZFS file system is…ummm…impacting Network Appliance’s business. ZFS is under a free software license…woot! It’s apparently starting to make a real impact (unsurprising…the feature set is amazing); and now it’s supported in OS X (Leopard) too. Network Appliance is not happy.

So last month, Net App sues Sun, trying to either remove ZFS from the market, or limit it’s usability via license restriction. Jonathan’s response? Not gonna happen. We can’t un-release free software in the first place, and besides…we don’t like this sorta thing. So we’re indemnifying our customers, and countersuing with many, many defensive patents. This was probably not what NA had in mind. Should be interesting to watch.

Aside: there are licensing issues with linking ZFS (CDDL license) into the Linux kernel (GPL) and distributing the result, so ZFS hasn’t been ported to Linux distros. But a) it’s been ported to FreeBSD, and b) there’s a badass ZFS on FUSE solution that’s just crazy enough to work (with the filesystem in userspace, linking isn’t a issue). So there’s at least two ways to run it on a Free Software system. I’d heard some about ZFS about a year back, but I hadn’t kept up. This thing is badASS…my next NAS device will be running this for sure.

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