OpenZFS 2.2 is nearly here, and ZFSBootMenu 2.2 already is

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The adjacent insignificant type of OpenZFS is astir ready, and ZFSBootMenu makes it easy to footwear Linux from it, via a clever workaround.

The precocious OpenZFS filesystem is getting adjacent to its adjacent release, type 2.2, pinch release campaigner 3 (around this clip past year, OpenZFS 2.1 sewage to rc8, truthful it mightiness beryllium a small while yet). Version 2.2 will amended support for Linux containers, pinch support for overlay filesystems (sometimes besides called national filesystems), support for Linux 6.3 IDmapped mounts (which are explained successful this talk), and delegation of dataset namespaces to containers.

Block cloning should amended nan ratio of marking identical blocks arsenic shared by different files, aliases moreover parts of nan aforesaid file. The caller BLAKE3 algorithm tin beryllium used to make ZFS checksums, which is besides utilized successful nan caller CdC Veilid P2P tool we precocious covered, and guidance of nan disk cache has been improved.

This is each bully stuff, and it should activity pinch Linux kernels from 2013's type 3.10 correct up to 6.4, and 2020's FreeBSD 12.2 onward. ZFS remains much aliases little nan authorities of nan creation successful unfastened root filesystem design. Both SUSE and Oracle stay enthusiastic astir Btrfs, but Red Hat isn't. Meanwhile, nan caller bcachefs still mightiness not yet make it into kernel 6.5.

The large snag pinch ZFS, though, is that it isn't portion of nan Linux kernel, and it won't be immoderate clip soon. It's easy capable to adhd it on. There is nan userspace version, ZFS-FUSE, and Ubuntu, for instance, includes nan modules for kernel support arsenic standard. Canonical seems to beryllium backing distant from integrating ZFS support, though. Ubuntu's ZSys module to merge ZFS handling into nan operating strategy has seen small attraction successful nan past mates of years, and immoderate users now recommend avoiding it.

All is not lost. The teams down a fistful of Linux distros are actively moving connected full, autochthonal ZFS support. Notably, NixOS has first-class support, and nan Void Linux squad are moving connected it, though it still requires immoderate other manual work astatine this point. The Proxmox hypervisor and instrumentality big besides supports it. As pinch everything connected Arch Linux, pinch immoderate manual steps, it's besides possible connected Arch and its derivatives.

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A halfway rumor is that GRUB has only very constricted support for ZFS – Sun released conscionable capable ZFS codification nether GPL 2 to alteration GRUB to footwear OpenSolaris, arsenic LWN described backmost successful 2010.

Usefully, there's a wholly separate, cross-distro measurement to support nan guidelines filesystem of a Linux strategy connected ZFS, and footwear from it: ZFSBootMenu. This supports aggregate distros, including Alpine, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE (although presently only Leap 15.4). There are further scripts disposable to thief you instal nan distro of your prime onto a ZFS pool, specified arsenic for Ubuntu Server. For it to activity pinch astir distros, nan installation instructions require that your machine boots via UEFI, though installation connected MBR utilizing SYSLINUX to footwear is possible, and it's documented for Void Linux.

The measurement that ZFSBootMenu useful is clever. In effect, it's a mini Linux distro, which boots different distros. From its ain description:

This intends that, for illustration connected FreeBSD, ZFSBootMenu tin spot wrong ZFS snapshots, and coming a paper of different bootable environments. For instance, you could rotation backmost to an earlier type of your OS, if a bad update has stopped thing working.

It would beryllium awesome news if Canonical adopted ZFSBootMenu and moved guardant pinch ZFS support arsenic nan ineligible issues to look to beryllium surmountable – but successful nan meantime, if you're consenting to do a small spot of well-documented manual work, acknowledgment to this nifty small tool, it is imaginable to instal astir distros onto what Sun called [PDF] "the past connection successful filesystems." ®