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Red Hat banishes Btrfs from RHEL

ZFS On Linux adds the proper crypto Google wants before considering Btfrs for Android

Red Hat has banished the Btrfs, the Oracle-created file system intended to help harden Linux's storage capabilities.

The Deprecated Functionality List for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 explains the decision as follows:

The Btrfs file system has been in Technology Preview state since the initial release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat will not be moving Btrfs to a fully supported feature and it will be removed in a future major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The Btrfs file system did receive numerous updates from the upstream in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 and will remain available in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 series. However, this is the last planned update to this feature.

Red Hat banishing Btrfs isn't a death knell for the filesystem, because the Linux kernel still supports it and SUSE still expects it for its root partition and has people working on the code.

But Red Hat's decision does make Btrfs' future less clear, even though Google recently said it is “evaluating Btrfs for its potential use in Android”.

Googler Filip Bystricky wrote that the filesystem's “lack of native file-based encryption unfortunately makes it a nonstarter." Losing Red Hat's interest won't help Btrfs to add those features.

As it happens, ZFS on Linux this week announced the completion of three new encryption features, among them the creation and management of natively encrypted datasets.

That's a welcome addition, but FreeNAS-flinger iXsystems' analyst Michael Dexter feels that even with a vigorous ZFS community hard at work, we may be approaching the point at which open-source file systems are reduced to a monoculture. Dexter also reminds us all of ongoing licence issues with ZFS on Linux. ®

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