New petition calls for OpenGL 4.3 and ZFS in OS X

Ars Technica reports that a new online petition has been created to request that Apple bring the ZFS file system to OS X, along with support for the more advanced OpenGL 4.3 libraries.

ZFS is a relatively new file system format, which Apple hinted at supporting in developer builds of OS X 10.5, and was expected to debut in Snow Leopard; however, the company ended up dropping support for the format following disagreements with Sun Microsystems. The support for ZFS has since fallen to several third-party efforts such as the open-source MacZFS project.

Though Apple's native HFS+ … Read more

Mac OS X gets ZFS after all--but not from Apple

Apple may have given up on the idea of building Sun Microsystems' ZFS file system into Mac OS X, but one of its engineers has picked up where Apple left off.

Don Brady, a former Apple engineer and current ZFS enthusiast, now is leading a small team at start-up Ten's Complement that's been commercializing the software since its 2010 founding. They have released their first product, the $19.95 Zevo Silver Edition, the first version of a product formerly called Z410.

ZFS was a spotlight feature of the Solaris operating system, which Sun released as open-source software and … Read more

What Oracle wants from storage

Last year, Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. At the time there was much speculation regarding the future of Sun's server and storage hardware business and I heard a number of well thought out opinions. But two seemed to stand out, both in opposition to one another:

1. Sun's hardware business doesn't return the same high net profit margin as Oracle's software business, therefore Oracle will wind it down, sell it off, or otherwise dispose of it over time because it will drag down overall profitability.

2. While the Sun hardware business doesn't offer the same profitability as software and applications, with work it could be brought in line with Oracle's other businesses. Therefore Oracle will keep it and find a way to make it profitable enough so as not to be a drag on overall profitability.

Last week, Oracle outlined its storage strategy and in doing so removed a lingering question mark that has been hanging over the acquisition since it was announced by making the following statement: "First and foremost, Oracle will deliver storage that helps Oracle platforms run faster. Oracle will continue to invest in storage hardware development, so long as that investment propels Oracle platform growth and market acceptance." Personally, it was not the statement I had expected, but I've learned to live with it.

Mark Hurd, former HP CEO and now Oracle's president, began the Oracle storage strategy session with the obligatory references to overwhelming data growth. I say "obligatory" because nearly every storage vendor pitch I see lately frames the discussion of why the market needs product x in terms of voluminous data growth and the opportunity that data growth presents to vendor x for managing it. … Read more

Update on the Sun/NetApp ZFS patent litigation

I received this update from Sun Microsystems on Tuesday on the ongoing ZFS patent litigation with NetApp. While colored by its source, the news seems positive for Sun (and, given the importance of ZFS, for the open-source development community). Sun has succeeded in getting the venue changed to California and it appears that its public request for examples of prior art have yielded fruit.

What follows was sent to me by Sun:

As of Friday, December 14, Sun has filed reexamination requests for three Network Appliance patents as part of its response to a lawsuit initially filed by Network Appliance against Sun on September 5, 2007. This follows the agreement last month with Network Appliance to transfer Network Appliance's lawsuit from Texas and litigate it along with the case Sun filed in California. The motion to transfer was filed on November 21 and the cases are now assigned to a mutually agreed upon judge. With each company being headquartered in northern California and the majority of inventors and innovation in dispute originating in California, it makes sense for this case to be litigated in this jurisdiction. We are pleased that Network Appliance agreed to Sun's request and retracted its imprudent choice of venue for this litigation.… Read more

Blog vs blog: the Sun/NetApp saga

Ashlee Vance of The Register has a great piece on the ongoing patent feud between Sun and NetApp over Sun's/NetApp's ZFS technology. In this war of words, Sun's Schwartz gets to take the moral high ground:

The simple reality that [NetApp founder Dave] Hitz needs to face here is that Schwartz, who is very talented in the art of rhetoric (sometimes to a fault), has more persuasive material to work with in the court of public opinion. No matter how hard it tries, NetApp comes off as a seller of high-priced storage gear doing everything it can to keep selling high-priced gear in the face of a disruptive technology....… Read more

Sun countersuit: NetApp violates 12 patents

A month ago, Network Appliance sued Sun Microsystems, alleging the server and software company's ZFS file system infringes seven NetApp patents. Sun on Thursday fired back with a suit that claims NetApp violates 12 of Sun's.

Sun's suit also argues that NetApp's patents are invalid and that it doesn't infringe them anyway. And it requests an injunction prohibiting the company from selling any products that infringe Sun's patents.

Patent suits are often expensive and acrimonious proceedings, and they're particularly unpleasant when fought among Silicon Valley rivals who often share mutual customers and sometimes … Read more

NetApp founder brushes off Sun threat

A day after Sun Microsystems Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz said his company will sue to have Network Appliances' file-server products removed from the market, NetApp's founder Dave Hitz brushed off the threat and took issue with Schwartz's open-source reasoning.

"This sounds like Sun's broad threats when they sued Azul, but in the end, Sun didn't put Azul out of business or even stop them from shipping products. I'm quite confident that two years from now--or however long it takes this suit to reach court--NetApp will be doing just fine," Hitz said in a blog postingRead more

Sun to countersue NetApp over ZFS, indemnify and protect Apple's Leopard

Stephen Shankland reports that Sun plans to countersue NetApp over ZFS, but that Apple's Leopard won't get caught in the crossfire:

"Apple is including ZFS in their upcoming Leopard OS X release. This is happening without any payment to Sun," [Sun CEO Jonathan] Schwartz said. "Under the license, we've waived all rights to sue them for any of the patents or copyright associated with ZFS. We've let Apple know we will use our patent portfolio to protect them and the Mac ZFS community from NetApp--with or without a commercial relationship to Sun." … Read more

Sun plans to countersue NetApp

Updated at 2:31 p.m. PDT: Sun Microsystems plans to countersue Network Appliance later this week, Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz said Wednesday, a suit that will include a request to remove the company's products from the market.

Schwartz said on his blog that he has "no interest whatever in suing them" and therefore "reached out" to Chief Executive Dan Warmenhoven. But, he said, NetApp's demands--that Sun "retract" its ZFS file system from open-source community and restrict its use to computing and not storage devices--can't be met.

Consequently, "Later this … Read more

Sun and a Solaris revival: Talking with Ian Murdock

I first met Ian Murdock, now head of Sun Microsystems' operating-system platform strategy, back in 2002 at a conference. I was a bit in awe at the founder of Debian, only to find out that he's a very genuine, very likable person. I've kept in touch with Ian through the years, and on Monday was fortunate to catch up with him to find out how his move to Sun has gone for him, and what he's brewing.

Give me a quick update on life at Sun.… Read more