Should we simply disallow ZFS on FreeBSD/i386?

Joao Barros joao.barros at
Mon Jan 7 06:52:19 PST 2008

As someone who's been running ZFS happilly ever since pjd committed it
to CURRENT early 2007 on i386 with 1GB of RAM I would definitly say
Put up warnings, banners and whatever you want but disabling it just
because some users had some panics or just haven't given up time to
tune their system (I'm all in favor of auto tunning here) just doesn't
seem reason enough for me to limit other people's choices.

I've listed it before but again for the record:
i386 Xeon, 1GB RAM
4x320GB RAIDZ with root on zfs
zil enabled, prefetching disabled to improve video play
Shared via NFS and Samba

cat /boot/loader.conf

That's it on my loader.conf and for months now I haven't seen a panic.
Why should I or anyone else happilly running ZFS on i386 be denied of
doing so?

On Jan 6, 2008 9:56 PM, Maxim Sobolev <sobomax at> wrote:
> Gary Corcoran wrote:
> > Perhaps the 7.0 release notes should include a note to the effect that
> > ZFS is *strongly* NOT RECOMMENDED on 32-bit systems at this time, due
> By watching this and other threads on ZFS and reading Sun's own design
> papers I am getting strong impression that this should be even more
> strong than strong NOT RECOMMENDED. Perhaps ZFS should BE DISALLOWED to
> run on i386 at all (unless one does some manual source code tweaking or
> something like this, and hence can ask no official support from the
> project).
> I believe that 95% of hardware today that realistically is capable of
> running ZFS is also capable of running 64bit code, so that potential ZFS
> users are far better off switching to FreeBSD/amd64 and help
> testing/improving that architecture than fighting architectural
> limitations of already dying i386. And we are as a project are better
> off too, by spending out limited resources on something that has future.
>  From my own experience FreeBSD/amd64 is quite mature for running most
> if not all of the server tasks today and ZFS is first and foremost a
> server FS. The only place where FreeBSD/i386 beats FreeBSD/amd64 is
> desktop, due to binary drivers and such, but ZFS is almost useless
> there. So that by simply officially disallowing ZFS on FreeBSD/i386 we
> could win by a great margin.
> Just my CAD0.02.
> -Maxim
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Joao Barros

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