Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Jul 2009 19:16 UTC
Sun Solaris, OpenSolaris The Linux desktop has come a long way. It's a fully usable, stable, and secure operating system that can be used quite easily by the masses. Not too long ago, Sun figured they could do the same by starting Project Indiana, which is supposed to deliver a complete distribution of OpenSolaris in a manner similar to GNU/Linux. After using the latest version for a while, I'm wondering: why?
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RE[2]: Comment by OddFox
by OddFox on Mon 20th Jul 2009 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by OddFox"
OddFox
Member since:
2005-10-05

Your average desktop user would absolutely love something like ZFS with all the snapshot-y goodness, especially when it is integrated into something like TimeSlider in Nautilus. It's similar to how TimeMachine works on MacOS X, but with better technology (ZFS) behind the scenes. If Apple ever gets around to completing ZFS support in MacOS X, they'll have a truly killer feature once TimeMachine makes use of it.


When the average desktop user begins to understand even something like System Restore then I will concede that the average desktop user might appreciate something like automated snapshots. A small amount of people make a large amount of fuss over snapshots which I argue A) most average desktop users are not technical enough to understand or utilize properly and B) waste a lot of disk space when enabled by default and utilized by few. Maybe I'm just out in the dark here because nobody I talk to outside of tech enthusiasts or people creating an infrastructure that can utilize these features really care about this particular feature. It is wonderfully useful for certain environments, but I don't think the average desktop user needs this kind of functionality. I would turn it off because I frankly don't need the overhead and have never thought to myself "Gee, I really wish I could revert this file back to a previous version, or undelete something I still want after all". Most of my unintentional data-loss is because of things like a partition getting FUBAR'd, not because one way or another the files ended up deleted.

Absolute FUD. You can run ZFS on 32-bit systems with as little as 512 MB of RAM (total system RAM). You can also run in it on 64-bit systems with 64 GB of RAM. And everything in between. ZFS works better with more RAM, and can do more caching as RAM increases, but it can be tuned to run in very low memory setups.


What I said was not FUD, you explicitly confirmed what I had said which was "Half a gig to 1 gig of memory for the filesystem". 512MB = Half a gig? I realize that ZFS works better with more RAM, but my point is that I don't see its feature-set as an acceptable trade-off on your average desktop.

ZFS is a great filesystem for a lot of purposes, but I just don't see how right now anyone could seriously consider any of its features as something vital the average desktop user needs to be exposed to. Ugh, have said "average desktop user" way too many times already and just did again.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by OddFox
by renhoek on Mon 20th Jul 2009 21:41 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by OddFox"
renhoek Member since:
2007-04-29

ZFS is a great filesystem for a lot of purposes, but I just don't see how right now anyone could seriously consider any of its features as something vital the average desktop user needs to be exposed to. Ugh, have said "average desktop user" way too many times already and just did again.


Checksumming of your data is vital. Ever had data corruption? Is your data still ok? how do you know there is no silent corruption? In that case you really want to know which files are broken and which are not.

Compression, pooled storage, snapshots and encryption(?) are nice, but not a must have for the average poweruser.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by OddFox
by OddFox on Mon 20th Jul 2009 22:03 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OddFox"
OddFox Member since:
2005-10-05

Checksumming of your data is vital. Ever had data corruption? Is your data still ok? how do you know there is no silent corruption? In that case you really want to know which files are broken and which are not.

Compression, pooled storage, snapshots and encryption(?) are nice, but not a must have for the average poweruser.


All of these features are great things that I would love to toy around with, but you said it, not even your average power user is going to make much of a deal about them. Will be very nice once btrfs matures a little bit more and I can play with such features more easily in an environment that I am comfortable with.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by OddFox
by diegocg on Mon 20th Jul 2009 22:04 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OddFox"
diegocg Member since:
2005-07-08

Checksumming of your data is vital. Ever had data corruption? Is your data still ok? how do you know there is no silent corruption? In that case you really want to know which files are broken and which are not.

No, checksumming is not "vital", specially considering that self-healing, which is the big deal about checksumming and detecting corruption, requires to downgrade the size of your hard drive to the half, and desktop users won't accept that. The fact is, most of desktop people (which these days upload big portions of their personal data to the "cloud") don't suffer data corruption. The few desktop users that have data corruption many times can afford losing the data (in my experience), and for rest of the people that loses important data there's always a lesson to learn: backups. (remember: checksumming and self-healing are just a great way to avoid the need of a backup restore, but not a backup)

The fact is that hard drives are not the unreliable thing that you seem to want to think. Most of people needs to buy a new computer before they hit data corruption. If drives aren't safe people won't buy them, and the market will choose the drives from the best company. So most of the people just doesn't have problems with that. Obviously, it's a great and much needed addon, but a requirement?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by OddFox
by phoenix on Mon 20th Jul 2009 22:05 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by OddFox"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

When the average desktop user begins to understand even something like System Restore then I will concede that the average desktop user might appreciate something like automated snapshots.


System Restore on Windows is *nothing* like TimeMachine or TimeSlider or even plain ZFS snapshots. And the UI for System Restore makes it even less similar (is it just me or does MS go out of its way to make simple things/concept hard to use?).

A small amount of people make a large amount of fuss over snapshots which I argue A) most average desktop users are not technical enough to understand or utilize properly and B) waste a lot of disk space when enabled by default and utilized by few.


ZFS snapshots use 0 diskspace until something changes. So if none of your files change between snapshot A and snapshot B, then 0 disk space will be used. If only 1 file changed, then only the space for that one file will be used. And so on.

I use ZFS on my home media server, taking automatic snapshots every evening, and I keep 60 days worth of snapshots. Total snapshot disk usage is ~5 GB, for 250 GB of total disk space in the server. Several times now I've used the snapshots to recover files accidentally deleted by myself or the wife. And to recover older versions of files (like resumes and business letters).

(Un)fortunately, my system runs FreeBSD, so the nice TimeSlider GUI isn't available (not that I'd use it, since I can't stand Nautilus). But even using the shell, it's simple to "recover" files from snapshots (cd /path/to/filesystem/.zfs/snapshot/snap-name/; cp /path/to/wherever).

Maybe I'm just out in the dark here because nobody I talk to outside of tech enthusiasts or people creating an infrastructure that can utilize these features really care about this particular feature.


Talk to MacOS X users who use TimeMachine. You'll hear a different side of things ("OMG, how'd I ever live without this?" is the common response I get).

What I said was not FUD, you explicitly confirmed what I had said which was "Half a gig to 1 gig of memory for the filesystem". 512MB = Half a gig? I realize that ZFS works better with more RAM, but my point is that I don't see its feature-set as an acceptable trade-off on your average desktop.


No, you're failing to see the difference between "512 MB of RAM for the filesystem" and "512 MB of RAM for the whole OS, including the filesystem".

You don't need 512 MB of RAM *just* for ZFS. You can use ZFS on a system with only 512 MB of RAM. Very big difference.

IOW, if you have a lowly laptop or desktop with only 512 MB of RAM, total, you can still run a system using ZFS as the main filesystem.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Comment by OddFox
by OddFox on Mon 20th Jul 2009 22:24 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OddFox"
OddFox Member since:
2005-10-05

System Restore on Windows is *nothing* like TimeMachine or TimeSlider or even plain ZFS snapshots. And the UI for System Restore makes it even less similar (is it just me or does MS go out of its way to make simple things/concept hard to use?).


They can serve the same purpose (though ZFS and the others can serve far more purposes than simple system recovery) regardless of how they go about doing that, though there is no doubt that System Restore is junk in comparison to Time Machine and similar technologies.

Regarding how many GBs your snapshots take up with your own usage patterns, like you said this kind of stuff all depends on what you do with the system. I can't imagine that a whole lot changes on a daily basis with your home media server, which is why the ~5GB snapshot disk space usage sounds about right. Just because you only use up ~5GB with snapshots doesn't mean that's what another user should expect. Besides, it was never really my intention to talk about the possible scenario of running low on disk space and having multiple GBs of snapshots to get rid of, but rather to address the issue that as far as I'm aware it's a disk space trade-off for a feature that doesn't have an incredible amount of practical value for your average user.

Talk to MacOS X users who use TimeMachine. You'll hear a different side of things ("OMG, how'd I ever live without this?" is the common response I get).


If that's their response then they don't sound like they're very responsible users, but considering a lot of audio and video production occurs on Macs it's not very hard to imagine that a lot of these people appreciate the ability to easily revert to previous versions of things they have been working on. This has little to no practical value to your average desktop user who does not create content, but merely views it. If these people are not professionals or enthusiasts, then I have to ask what they're doing that makes Time Machine such a deal-killing feature, something they could never go without anymore. Of course system/network admins would probably like these features for slightly different reasons.

No, you're failing to see the difference between "512 MB of RAM for the filesystem" and "512 MB of RAM for the whole OS, including the filesystem".

You don't need 512 MB of RAM *just* for ZFS. You can use ZFS on a system with only 512 MB of RAM. Very big difference.

IOW, if you have a lowly laptop or desktop with only 512 MB of RAM, total, you can still run a system using ZFS as the main filesystem.


These are pure semantics, I thought it was understood that saying a 512 MB of RAM for the filesystem was the same as saying 512 MB of RAM for the whole OS, including the filesystem.

Furthermore, just because you can run OpenSolaris with ZFS on a lowly laptop or desktop with 512 MB of RAM doesn't make it the best idea. Did you hear the story about Windows 7 being hacked down enough to run on a system with a paltry 96 MB of RAM? Sure you could do it, but it's a pain in the butt to use when you could really just use something better suited.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[4]: Comment by OddFox
by kragil on Mon 20th Jul 2009 22:59 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by OddFox"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

IOW, if you have a lowly laptop or desktop with only 512 MB of RAM, total, you can still run a system using ZFS as the main filesystem.


Utter bullshit.

You cannot run OpenSolaris with ZFS on a 512mb machine and start apps. It just does not work. It nearly does not work with 1GB in my experience. Programms take ages to start it is ridiculous. It is just crap. You just have to have 2GB.

Reply Parent Score: 3