I'm moving from a FreeBSD desktop that boots a zfs poot to a Ubuntu system that I'd like to do the same. I've got a couple of questions about setting it up that I can't seem to find an answer for. I've added Ubuntu (using btrfs) to my laptop for testing as well.

1) Is there a boot environment tool? No, not dual booting (that's what the term turns up here), but booting different versions of the same OS on different ZFS file systems in the root pool. Looking for this for btrfs as well.

2) I can't seem to find any documentation on root pools, just some howto's. They all say "don't use this howto for dual boot", but don't say why. Is it just because the howto doesn't cover it or it hasn't been tested, or is there some fundamental reason I shouldn't do that?

  • I'm an old SunOS/Solaris guy. There is an opensource OpenZFS project. How well it works and integrates into Ubuntu I don't know. If you have a clean "crash dummy" machine around it could be fun to try it out. zfsonlinux.org Since ZFS was proprietary and closed source I'm guessing FreeBSB included OpenZFS in it's distro. As you know, the old ZFS system didn't play well in a VM environment due to file protections.
    – jones0610
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 23:48

3 Answers 3


You can check https://moinakg.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/boot-environments-on-linux/ to have a boot environment in Btrfs.


I was looking for beadm for Linux, too, and stumbled on something in a mailing list that looks like the closest thing to what we're both looking for.

Here's the message:

Hi there,

A while back in order to manage my boot environments I ported beadm to Linux from a FreeBSD beadm script ( from here: https://github.com/vermaden/beadm ), have been using it for about 6 months and seems to be operating correctly (at least in my environment).

I'm sure there are other options about in this department, but have published to github in case useful to anyone.

I have done a fair amount of checking (concentrating on the rm -f's and zfs destroys), but I stress: limited testing, use at own risk, I recommend that if you use this script you have backups of your system and a good grasp of: ZFS (snapshots, clones, promote, the bootfs property etc), beadm and whatever boot tools you use.

It can be found here:



I looked into this a little and apparently the Ubuntu Team has included OpenZFS in recent releases. Yay!

The installation and configuration procedure can be found here:


  • Yeah, I found the zfs package and installed it on a test system before asking this question. Which is why the first question is "is there a boot environment tool for Linux", not "is there a zfs for Linux". FWIW, zfs was not always closed source. It was released as part of OpenSolaris under the CDDL, and the OpenZFS project still uses that licence because they use that code. Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 21:23

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