The future of ZFS in FreeBSD

Shawn Webb shawn.webb at
Wed Dec 19 16:31:39 UTC 2018

On Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 10:49:48PM -0800, Matthew Macy wrote:
> The sources for FreeBSD's ZFS support are currently taken directly
> from Illumos with local ifdefs to support the peculiarities of FreeBSD
> where the Solaris Portability Layer (SPL) shims fall short. FreeBSD
> has regularly pulled changes from Illumos and tried to push back any
> bug fixes and new features done in the context of FreeBSD. In the past
> few years the vast majority of new development in ZFS has taken place
> in DelphixOS and zfsonlinux (ZoL). Earlier this year Delphix announced
> that they will be moving to ZoL
> This shift means
> that there will be little to no net new development of Illumos. While
> working through the git history of ZoL I have also discovered that
> many races and locking bugs have been fixed in ZoL and never made it
> back to Illumos and thus FreeBSD. This state of affairs has led to a
> general agreement among the stakeholders that I have spoken to that it
> makes sense to rebase FreeBSD's ZFS on ZoL. Brian Behlendorf
> has graciously encouraged me to add FreeBSD support directly to ZoL
> so that we might all have a single
> shared code base.
> A port for ZoF can be found at
> Before it can be committed some additional functionality needs to be
> added to the FreeBSD opencrypto framework. These can be found at
> This port will provide FreeBSD users with multi modifier protection,
> project quotas, encrypted datasets, allocation classes, vectorized
> raidz, vectorized checksums, and various command line improvements.
> Before ZoF can be merged back in to ZoL several steps need to be taken:
> - Integrate FreeBSD support into ZoL CI
> - Have most of the ZFS test suite passing
> - Complete additional QA testing at iX
> We at iX Systems need to port ZoL's EC2 CI scripts to work with
> FreeBSD and make sure that most of the ZFS Test Suite (ZTS) passes.
> Being integrated in to their CI will mean that, among other things,
> most integration issues will be caught before a PR is merged upstream
> rather than many months later when it is MFVed into FreeBSD. I???m
> hoping to submit the PR to ZoL some time in January.
> This port will make it easy for end users on a range of releases to
> run the latest version of ZFS. Nonetheless, transitioning away from an
> Illumos based ZFS is not likely to be entirely seamless. The
> stakeholders I???ve spoken to all agree that this is the best path
> forward but some degree of effort needs to be made to accommodate
> downstream consumers. The current plan is to import ZoF and unhook the
> older Illumos based sources from the build on April 15th or two months
> after iX systems QA deems ZoF stable - which ever comes later. The
> Illumos based sources will be removed some time later - but well
> before 13. This will give users a 3 month period during which both the
> port and legacy Illumos based ZFS will be available to users. Pools
> should interoperate between ZoF and legacy provided the user does not
> enable any features available only in ZoF. We will try to accommodate
> any downstream consumers in the event that they need that date pushed
> back. We ask that any downstream consumers who are particularly
> sensitive to changes start testing the port when it is formally
> announced and report back any issues they have. I will do my best to
> ensure that this message is communicated to all those who it may
> concern. However, I can???t ensure that everyone reads these lists. That
> is the responsibility of -CURRENT users.

Hey Matt,

Thank you for your detailed and informative post. It really helps
downstream consumers of FreeBSD.

I'm curious what this means for OpenZFS. I was under the impression
that OpenZFS was the upstream for all the ZFS implementations (sans


Shawn Webb
Cofounder and Security Engineer

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