back to article 'Unbreakable' Oracle Linux 9 is a RHEL rebuild with built-in Btrfs support

Oracle Linux 9 is out and has some interesting differences from the other Red Hat relatives. The version was released at the end of June, marking an unusually long gap from Red Hat's announcement of RHEL 9 the month before. For comparison, the beta of AlmaLinux 9 came just three days after RHEL 9's official availability on May …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Stratis is little more than another management layer on top of XFS. It lacks many of the features that make BTRFS and ZFS interesting, such as checksumming at file level (which Stratis can't do).

    On the other hand, BTRFS has been the default file system for SUSE Linux Enterprise since I believe back in version 12 or so, fully supported.

    Not sure Stratis will ever become a big thing.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Stratis

      ZFS checksums at the block level. I don't know what btrfs does.

      1. Tomato42

        Re: Stratis

        Same, it also checksums at the block level.

  2. DJV Silver badge

    Yeah, but it's Oracle...

    I will therefore avoid it like the plague.

    1. seven of five

      Re: Yeah, but it's Oracle...

      Which makes it a good match to BTRFS

    2. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Yeah, but it's Oracle...

      Larry is really worried about that.

  3. karlkarl Silver badge

    I honestly would have thought that Oracle would be pushing ZFS more.

    "The only ZFS on Linux install with 100% guaranteed license compliance for when our auditors come knocking"

    A slogan with a nice happy feel to it.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      If the Linux kernel had a better licence this would be possible.

      1. Tomato42

        If ZFS didn't have a unique, one-of-a-kind licence this would be possible.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That really wouldn't work: Oracle does not control OpenZFS, it's not under a license they're themselves using, and everything added ever since it was forked is not code under their copyright.

      Pushing it would mean Oracle handling two different, incompatible versions of ZFS. Commercially supporting OpenZFS would need a wholly separate team than for Solaris ZFS, and continually ensure that proprietary code is not leaked under the CDDL by mistake.

  4. BPontius

    Big headed!

    The arrogance about Linux security is off the charts!

  5. iron Silver badge

    > The Reg FOSS desk wonders if support for Btrfs in Fedora 33 and now in CentOS Stream might have bad implications about how well Stratis is progressing. ®

    A storage management tool and a storage format are completely different things. That's like saying a secretary and a filing cabinet are the same thing, or the journalist who wrote this piece and the file they wrote it in are the same thing.

  6. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    [Author here]

    While this is true, it seems to me that you're missing the point.

    Btrfs is there, it's in the kernel, and together with LVM2 provides a fairly rich set of tools. It's not without its flaws but then this is a server distro for big servers with redundant disks and UPSes.

    ZFS poses serious licensing issues, as other commenters point out.

    Stratis may be comparable at some point but it seems not to be there yet.

    Oracle could grant itself a license to use ZFS and have made for a compelling offering, but it hasn't. It's taken a easier route, but a surprising one.

    But then again: remember that Btrfs was originally developed at Oracle...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but then this is a server distro for big servers with redundant disks and UPSes.

      But then this is RHEL9 which really doesn't appear to have been tested on a server. I know it is a Point Zero release but some testing would be nice. If you give 9.0 a multipathed disk at install time it gets all confused and claims to have all the individual link devices as well as the multipathed device as well. It then frequently pops its clogs part way through installing.

      Looks like IBM have asked Red Hat to emulate Microsoft in a race to see who can eliminate all software quality first.

    2. botfap

      BTRFS was NOT originally developed at Oracle. It was originally developed by Chris Mason, who was an Oracle employee at the time but it wasnt originally worked on inside Oracle, it was a completely independent project for Chris

      Also OpenZFS (as opposed to Oracles propriety ZFS) does NOT pose serious licensing issues (licensed under the CDDL), the issues are pretty minor and the practicalities were solved long ago, ask Canonical. This has the effect of blocking the distribution of binary modules within a prebuilt kernel but there are no restrictions on shipping an OpenZFS kernel module as a separate binary package or as source package for a DKMS module build.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        I did say "*at* Oracle* -- which is not the same thing as "*by* Oracle".

        The Linux kernel is GPL2; ZFS is CDDL. That is widely-held to be "a serious licensing issue". ← by the author of Linux

        "Don't use ZFS. It's that simple."

        Oracle cannot change the license of the kernel. It could change the license of ZFS, but it doesn't want to.

        Oracle could change neither and include ZFS, but if it did so, it would officially legitimise Canonical's view.

        We can only presume that Oracle does not want to do that.

        Me personally, I would like to see Oracle merge Solaris and Oracle Linux. There is very little R&D going into Solaris now; most of the dev team were let go.

        A current Solaris kernel, complete with ZFS, with a current Linux userland on top sounds great to me. Perhaps SMF could be ported as well, to eliminate the ever-controversial systemd.

        This seems to me to offer Oracle a way to compete, but I don't think it has any interest in that. As per Bryan Cantrill's excellent talk on Youtube, I think it's all about the money and nothing else.

    3. chasil

      loopback only

      I have not checked, but the installer for Oracle Linux 9 will likely only allow XFS filesystems to be created. Any btrfs filesystems will have to be created on separate storage, or on loopback files that live on XFS.

      The RHCK will not recognize any btrfs filesystems. These can only be mounted when the UEK is running.

      The UEK is definitely able to utilize btrfs, the the OS really was not built for it. Fedora or Suse is a better choice for well-integrated btrfs.

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