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Linux guru's life, and life's work, hang in balance

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Reiser created a Linux file system called ReiserFS, which in the mid-1990s was important for Linux. The first version of it, known as Reiser3, is part of the core Linux kernel. But since his arrest, work on the file system has been all but abandoned, and the successor to ReiserFS, Reiser4, has only a slim chance of survival in the community, said Jonathan Corbet, a well-known Linux expert and founder of, a Linux Web news site that has been covering the OS and open-source software community for nearly 10 years.

In an e-mail, Corbet said that despite "years of effort," Reiser4 has still not made it into the Linux kernel and the future of the technology does not look good.

"There are still a couple of people putting some volunteer effort into Reiser4, so it could, just maybe, still make it into the mainline [kernel] someday," he said. "But progress is very slow and there's not a whole lot of people who are interested anymore."

To be fair, Reiser and the Linux community were split over Reiser4 before he was arrested, so support for the technology had already been waning, Corbet said.

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