R.G. Keen's Blog

forums.freenas.org – what’s up?

Posted in Uncategorized by rgkeen on January 4, 2015

If you’re considering FreeNAS and look up forums.freenas.org, don’t be put off by the tone of the forum. I don’t know why the forum is so … well, snotty to people asking questions. There seems to me to be a “just do it my way and the Right Way, and pay for the high end hardware or don’t bother me” fog hanging over the whole thing. I have trouble biting my tongue for that.

It’s taken me some time and thought to reason this out.

1. ZFS is NOT a normal file system. It protects the entirety of your set of files very well indeed…
2. … but you pay for that. ZFS has some hidden pitfalls that can lose you all of your data at once, irretrievably. Step into one of the traps, and ALL of your data is gone, and probably not recoverable. Period.
3. The pitfalls are not the same pitfalls you’d find in normal file systems, so even experienced admins can hit them. And pitfalls by definition are not easy to see ahead of time.

It’s this sudden-loss-of-everything that seems to be driving the attitudes at forums.freenas.org, at least from what I can tell now.

There is good, solid technical advice there, but it’s often couched in a manner and style that is either unpleasant, patronizing, or downright offensive, to me at least.

I wish that the forum lent itself to some calmer “It’s better to do it this way than to [whatever is being advised against] because it exposes you to sudden and mysterious loss of ALL of your data in this way…”. It sometimes takes me some time to calm down and reason out why the advice came out the way it did.

But there is good technical content there, and good techie stuff is always worth working for, right?


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