This is What Snow Leopard Needs

Before the release of Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard,” the computing world was abuzz with the possible inclusion of ZFS—Zettabyte File System—into the new operating system. That rumor was largely fueled by the rumors swirling around about what would officially become known as Time Machine. It turns out that ZFS did make its way into Leopard, albeit on a read-only basis, and it isn’t the technology behind Time Machine.

Now, the next version of Mac OS X, version 10.6 code-named “Snow Leopard,” is said to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. Personally, I’d love to see Apple fully embrace ZFS as its file system of choice, and then throw away the goofy “flying through space” UI in Time Machine to embrace something like this. Of course, Apple can seriously turn up the UI polish, but this kind of approach makes sense and seems relatively easy to incorporate into the Finder interface.

So what do you think? Am I way out in left field here, or does anyone else think this seems like a good idea?

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  1. Michael Janke’s avatar

    Time machine-like functionality at the file system layer rather than file-by-file? That would be interesting, but I’m not sure what value it would add.

    I’d rather have Time machine functionality to network shares as targets, so my backups could be off system/off site.

  2. slowe’s avatar

    Well, there is Time Capsule–not exactly off-site, but certainly off-system.

    The other key distinction is that by using ZFS, we can get Time Machine functionality without having to use an external drive–a huge plus in my book. I can’t really use Time Machine because I’d have to give up my external FireWire 300GB drive just for backups. With ZFS, it would be all incorporated into the file system on the internal drive.

  3. Nathan’s avatar

    As long as you could _also_ backup externally sure, that’s great. Also, that gnome interface is simple and functional but doesn’t give Jobs much room for flair. I’ve never actually played with the time machine stuff on my laptop but I’ve seen demo’s and its a bit flashy. Meh.

  4. slowe’s avatar

    Nathan, you do have a point about leaving room for Steve to add some “flair”, but the whole “flying through space” thing in Time Machine right now is just too much. They need some sort of alternate UI, and this one–to me, at least–makes sense.

    And as far as I can tell, there’s nothing stopping you from also backing up externally, or using ZFS functionality to replicate those snapshots to an external drive in some seamless fashion, much like how Time Machine works today with an external drive.