For those not in the know, FreeNAS is an open source embedded NAS software distribution, based on the FreeBSD operating system. It supports many common protocols including Samba/CIFS, NFS, FTP, Rsync, UPnP and iSCSI. It has low hardware requirements, a small footprint, and a nice web-based management interface.

There's been a few changes with the project lately, centring around the 0.7 release in December 2009. One of the main additions was support for the fantastic [ame=]Sun ZFS filesystem[/ame].

Late last year, core developer Volker Theile announced he would instead concentrate his efforts on his own Debian Linux-based distribution called coreNAS. Reasons cited for this were:

  • The Debian installer is more customizable than the hand-written FreeNAS install scripts.
  • Wake-on-LAN for waking up the NAS automatically works in Linux.
  • Linux has a working sensor framework to check the temperature and fan speeds.
  • The system can be updated with the Debian package manager.
  • Linux has better driver support.

He also summised that a full re-write of FreeNAS was needed to allow the project to fulfil it's future roadmap and feature list.

A while after this announcement was made, the founder of FreeNAS, Oliver Cochard-Labbé agreed that a re-write was necessary.

This is how things will progress:

  • Volker will create a new project called "OpenMediaVault" (instead of the name coreNAS) based on a GNU/Linux. But he will still continue to work on FreeNAS.
  • iXsystems (a company specialized in professional FreeBSD) are to take FreeNAS under their wings as an open source community driven project. Their professional FreeBSD developers will be involved in the development of FreeNAS and its re-writing.