April 20, 2007
Linux: ZFS, Licenses and Patents
A recent discussion on the lkml examined the possibility of a Linux implementation of Sun's ZFS. It was pointed out that the file system is released under the GPL-incompatible CDDL, and that Sun has filed numerous patents to prevent ZFS from being reverse engineered. Max Yudin pointed out, "according to Jeff Bonwick's blog Sun issued 56 patents on ZFS, but I have no idea what they patented. Sorry, binary compatible ZFS reimplementation with GPL license might not be legal." David Litwin noted that he had been told by a ZFS developer to talk to Linux developers to see about getting non-GPL'd code included with the kernel. Theodore T'so replied, "that was totally useless answer from the ZFS developers. What he should have told you is to contact Sun management, since they are the only ones who can decide whether or not to release ZFS under a GPL license, and more importantly, to give a patent license for any patents they may have filed in the course of developing ZFS."