About ZFS in Squeeze (2)

Sometimes it’s nice being wrong. Contrary to what I predicted, ZFS will be supported in Debian Squeeze using the official installer.

This means that Debian Squeeze will be one of the first GNU distributions to support ZFS.

In fact, even though ZFS support didn’t make it to Debian-Installer beta1 by the time it was released, it is now available in the netboot images (this happens because netboot images fetch newer installer components from the internet).

As a consequence of this my unofficial installer can now be considered obsolete.

So why did I say something that turned out to be grossly inaccurate? It’s not due to anyone’s fault really. At that time, the version of Parted that included ZFS detection hadn’t migrated to Squeeze. The unblock policy didn’t appear to allow this migration. However, the Release Team kindly decided to make an exception that allowed this, and after Parted had migrated the changes in Debian-Installer itself went in quite smoothly.

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39 Responses to “About ZFS in Squeeze (2)”

  1. Debian Squeeze soportará ZFS | Web Site de Prueba Says:

    [...] explica Robert millan en su blog, en el que destaca que por ejemplo ZFS ya está disponible en las imágenes con arranque en red [...]

  2. akindo Says:

    Hi guys. Just wanted to say that I could install GRUB on ZFS root filesystem with the kFreeBSD releases 6.0 and 6.0.3, but not with the release.

    Also with the 6.0 release (didn’t check with 6.0.3) I was only able to install GRUB after physically disconnecting my other three HDs before starting the installer.

  3. Diego Lendoiro Says:

    It’s so interesting, in fact I’m trying to install debian/kfreebsd but stuck with some problems with grub. I tried with a ZFS / and a ext2 /boot partitions but it fails (among lots of different configurations).

    Only configuration worked for me was a UFS / partition and /usr, /var, /tmp and /home with ZFS.

    any hint?

    I’m also wondering if debian/kfreebsd would be a reliable alternative to install on a production server.

    • robertmh Says:

      ZFS / partition should work. But it’s hard to give advice just by knowing that “it fails”. I recommend you contact debian-bsd and/or debian-boot with a description of your problem.

      As for a production server, it should be fine as long as you don’t depend on NFS.

      • Diego Lendoiro Says:

        I asked on #debian-kbsd explaining my problem and they said that many users joined channel with the same problem.

        The only way to install system was creating a UFS / partition and /var, /home, /usr and /tmp over ZFS.

        Booting with this config didn’t mount ZFS partitions (they don’t appear on /etc/fstab)

        That configuration didn’t make grub fail. With fail I mean I can’t install it neither mbr nor harddisk.

        I’m a little bit lost.

      • robertmh Says:

        What prevented GRUB from installing? (you can see errors in the syslog, or just switch to tty 4)

  4. [Debian] Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" released Says:

    [...] [...]

  5. witek Says:

    Hmm. I tested todays debian installer for kfreebsd-i386, and I cannot find any zfs support there :( Is this a problem with i386 (I know it is not adviced, but i REALLY want zfs on my 32-bit box, as it nows works on by FreeBSD without problems), or there are still some integration needed.

  6. Supporto ZFS in Debian GNU/kFreeBSD (codename “Squeeze”) « Michele Vecchiato’s Blog Says:

    [...] ZFS già dall’installer “netboot” con il kernel 8 di FreeBSD. Da quanto dice Robert Millan in un post, il supporto al ZFS ci sarà SOLO sulla “netboot image” e non sul Debian-Installer [...]

  7. Med Berdai Says:

    Great work! I’m using it right now :)

    I’ve a question about how you’re going to support the coming FreeBSD (kernel) releases hence ZFS releases. Are we going to see new FreeBSD 8.2,..8.x kernels landing on Debian kFreeBSD or only back-porting fixes to 8.1?

    Thanks in advance and I can’t wait to celebrate the release of Debian 6 :)

    • robertmh Says:

      I don’t think anyone will be into backporting ZFS to older kFreeBSD versions. So if you use kFreeBSD 8.1, you get ZFS 14. If you want newer ZFS you’ll need to upgrade to kFreeBSD 8.2, or to kFreeBSD 9.

      However, when it comes to the distribution, it’s likely that backports of the kernel packages are provided.

  8. Daniel Says:


    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there the main problem why any linux distribution haven’t implemented ZFS into it with the licence, which wasn’t compatible with the one of GNU’s ?
    It’s only what I remember from some other articles, so perhaps I might be wrong in some details, but this was the first thing which came to my mind when I noticed this ZFS & Squeeze info.

    Anyway I like that idea to finally have some distro with ZFS.


    • robertmh Says:

      Debian is more than a “linux distribution” :-)

      It’s an operating system based on GNU, and it supports many kernels, including Linux, the Hurd, or the kernel of FreeBSD (kFreeBSD for short).

      kFreeBSD in particular has had ZFS support since 2007. Debian added the missing bits (utilities, installer support) a few months ago. So when you use Debian with the kernel of FreeBSD, you get ZFS support now.

  9. » DPN n.17 Debianizzati.Org Says:

    [...] http://robertmh.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/about-zfs-in-squeeze-2/ 15. http://robertmh.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/about-zfs-in-squeeze/ 16. [...]

  10. ZFS Support in Debian Squeeze Says:

    [...] Robert Millen in seinem Blog mitteilt, ist es wohl auch mal schön, wenn man falsch liegt. Gegenteilig von dem [...]

  11. finid Says:


    Does ZFS on Debian come with all the security features of ZFS available on Solaris, like encryption, file system quota, etc

    • robertmh Says:

      kFreeBSD implements encryption independently from ZFS, but the userspace utilities to support this aren’t yet available in Debian.

      Support for quotas is in ZFS v15. Squeeze will ship with kFreeBSD 8.1 which includes ZFS v14. For v15 you’ll need kFreeBSD 8.2 (which will be available shortly after the release).

      As for other features, I don’t know. Certainly not *all* features are supported, a summary is available at http://wiki.freebsd.org/ZFS

  12. aWeSoMe Says:

    Thank You Man.

  13. Tiago Says:


    I’ve did some tests with the “mini.iso” and I found out that you can’t rename the root pool created during installation. That’s quite annoying, cause the installer use something like “hostname-device” as pool name and would be much more simplier if you can use something like “rpool” or “tank”.

    Do you have any ideias on how to pick up another nome for the root pool? I tried to create it with zpool during install using another terminal (CTRL+ALT+F2) but when I got back to the menu, it says that there’s only free space on the disk.

  14. Planeta jakilinux.org » Instalator Debiana 6.0 jednak z obsługą ZFS Says:

    [...] Źródło: http://robertmh.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/about-zfs-in-squeeze-2/ [...]

  15. Paul Johnston Says:

    With it being uncertain what will come out of Oracle how do you think ZFS will progress. I’m thinking of the difference beween the OpenIndiana version of ZFS and the one which comes with Solaris Express. Do you expect Oracle to release the source which will allow it to be ported to Linux?

    • robertmh Says:

      In the same announcement that killed the bazaar-style development model, Oracle committed to continue releasing updates to the published source code of OpenSolaris. You can read more about this here:


      They will continue to develop ZFS, they just won’t release nightly updates (which is a pity, but is not as bad as usually portrayed).

      • Paul Johnston Says:

        As you say “releasing updates to the published source code of OpenSolaris” but isn’t OpenSolaris dead as regards Oracle? I have OpenIndiana and Solaris Express

        Oracle Corporation SunOS 5.11 snv_151a November 2010
        paulj@solaris:~$ pfexec zpool get version rpool
        rpool version 31 default


        OpenIndiana SunOS 5.11 oi_147 September 2010
        paulj@openindiana:~$ pfexec zpool get version rpool
        rpool version 28 default

        The question is will Oracle actually release the source for version 31?
        Do you know if they have?

        Regards Paul
        PS Like the blog and I don’t even sell shoes :-)

      • robertmh Says:

        I just know what their announcement said. According to their words (see link above), they will continue to release source code, just not real time (i.e. no public VCS, no public BTS, etc).

  16. В инсталляторе Debian GNU/kFreeBSD будет обеспечена поддержка ZFS | AllUNIX.ru – Всероссийский портал о UNIX-системах Says:

    [...] на базе glibc и GNU-утилит. Разработчики данного проекта сообщили, что в официальном инсталляторе kFreeBSD в релизе Debian 6.0 [...]

  17. DBDev Says:

    Will Dedup be supported?

  18. Debian Squeeze sarà la prima con ZFS « GNUpress! Says:

    [...] e innovative per la distribuzione altre del tutto normali per le distribuzioni di massa!L’ultima è proprio inaspettata,è riguarda l’inclusione di  ZFS che sarà supportato in Debian [...]

  19. Mat Says:

    Well, Nexenta isn’t as much GNU as GNU/kFreeBSD is – especially what they target with 4.x branch is:
    - illumos kernel (former OpenSolaris)
    - Mostly illumos native tools + Debian where not present in illumos foundation
    - Apt as packaging system
    - Using SUN libc insterad of GNU libc.
    Anyway, great to see kFreeBSD is really alive and kicking :-)

  20. Debian Squeeze soportará ZFS por defecto | MuyLinux Says:

    [...] explica Robert millan en su blog, en el que destaca que por ejemplo ZFS ya está disponible en las imágenes con arranque en red [...]

  21. NOTanonymous Says:

    Sometimes unexpected things happen. What is ZFS?

  22. Andreas Olsson Says:

    Not considering http://www.nexenta.org/ to be a GNU/* distribution then?

  23. James Says:

    Err, wasn’t Nexenta GNU/Opensolaris the first? Still, great work getting ZFS support in.

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