Last year, Ubuntu developers pushed to remove Zsys from Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer. This is an integral tool Ubuntu created to make it easier to manage and maintain ZFS-based installations. In a bug report they bluntly noted that ‘priority changes’ in the desktop team meant Zsys was no longer something they want to “advertise using”.[…]
As of writing, Zsys remains available in the Ubuntu archives but development of it isn’t looking healthy. Canonical’s contributions effectively fall off a cliff circa April 2021 based on GitHub commits, with only a trivial tweak made in April of last year.
Daily builds for the upcoming Ubuntu 23.04 release come with a brand-new installer that has been built using Flutter to Canonical’s exact needs. But guess what this new Ubuntu installer does not include? An option to install Ubuntu on the ZFS file system.
I thought the Linux world had settled on Btrfs as the “ZFS-like” file system for the platform, and had no idea Canonical had even been working on giving users the option to install to ZFS. With Btrfs already being the default on e.g. Fedora for a while now, it seems that is a better route to go for Ubuntu and other distributions than trying to make ZFS work.
At some point in the past, there was a data loss bug (I think). And that event seems to have forever tarnished the reputation of the filesystem. (Personally, that did not stop me from using it as the primary for a decade).
It actually has more features than ZFS. For instance, it can remove disks and shrink an array (which is common for home setups, as a replacement drive is not usually readily available). It can also “raid” using uneven sizes. For example, having three disks of 5TB, 5TB, and 10TB will give you a redundant 10TB in raid 1. Thinking back, growing at random intervals and random disks is another feature over ZFS. And of course it comes standard with Linux with no licensing issues. Overall btrfs is basically a SOHO version of ZFS, which is still actively maintained.
(The raid5/6 “write hole” is still there: https://btrfs.readthedocs.io/en/latest/btrfs-man5.html#raid56-status-and-recommended-practices . But that is a limitation of the raid scheme, especially on software, not the implementation).