A Tale of Two Filesystems

Stumped

I can't help reflecting on the difference between WinFS and ZFS as I read the news that WinFS has been canned (as Robert McLaws puts it - "it's not dead... it lives on in productized form in Katmai!" Yeah, and Bob lived on to become Clippy). It contrasts two approaches to the marketplace - the one from the passing age of The Firm and the one from the coming age of Social Production (assuming you are a student of Benkler).

The first approach uses market power (Monopoly power, even) at best to generate unduly optimistic comment and at worst to FUD competitors into touch. Charles Miller reminds us that WinFS (and the things it's been called before) has been a vehicle for FUD to try to stifle the innovations of competitors like Apple for maybe a decade. The dread work is carried out in the voice of the PR department - Charles also points out what many commentators have noticed, that the official death announcement sounds horribly contrived and tries to hide the truth (even Scoble agrees, as he tries some different spins and is called on it!).

Meanwhile, the radical new file system that's in OpenSolaris (and now in Solaris 10 if you dig a bit in the rather contrived release that ironically hides the good news) has been relatively unsung by comparison. Yet ZFS is revolutionising the way enterprise servers are used, energising the base of new storage products and all available today, complete with source, for porting to other operating systems.

Time will tell which approach will succeed in the emerging market, but you can guess where my money would be if I were a betting man.

Comments:

The main problem with WinFS is that nobody ever knew what exactly WinFS is and nobody would explain why would a user prefer to store her Word files or C++ code in a SQL database. As opposed to that, it's not hard to explain the essence of ZFS in 3 phrases.

Posted by guest on June 26, 2006 at 08:30 AM PDT #

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