Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Reiser FS: The open source file system fallout

Filed under
Reiser

Yesterday, the Open Source community took an emotional hit when veteran Linux programmer Hans Reiser was convicted of first degree murder in the suspicious disappearing of his wife, Nina. While I won’t go into the details of the case, as this has been covered extensively in the press, I would like to talk a little bit about how this verdict will impact the technology in play for file system dominance in our favorite Open Source operating system, Linux.

While Namesys’ ReiserFS, of which Hans Reiser (right) was the primary programmer and lead designer was not the pre-dominant journaled file system used on Linux systems, it was praised for its stability and performance, and was and still is the default file system on the second most popular enterprise Linux distribution, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). ReiserFS was also included in the “upstream” Linux kernel maintained by Linus Torvalds because it shares the same license, GPL version 2. ReiserFS is also popular on Debian-based systems as well.

SuSE and Debian use ReiserFS version 3, a stable and proven version of the code that has been sitting mostly fallow for some time, and is maintained with bug and security fixes on a best effort basis. Prior to the whirlwind and highly publicized trial, Hans Reiser and his small team were working on Reiser4, but much of this development ground to a halt due to his legal woes, and the project is more than likely to die an unfortunate death by virtue of its lead programmer having to serve a minimum 25 year life sentence in prison.

From the SuSE and Debian perspective, this is an obviously unacceptable state of affairs.

More Here




Also:

  • For now, the future of ReiserFS, and its parent company Namesys, remain in jeopardy. Reiser put the company up for sale in December 2006, and as of yet the company is unsold. Namesys employee Alexander Lyamin, writing in the Linux Kernel Mailing List in December 2006, said his company will continue its work absent of Reiser’s leadership, and attempt to appoint a “proxy” to run operations until a better solution could be found. At this time, Namesys’ website is current inaccessible.

    "Misunderstood" programmer receives 25-to-life

  • The few prominent Linux distributions that were still shipping the stable version of ReiserFS by default have shifted to the more common Ext3 for various technical reasons. Reiser4, his next-generation filesystem, has been under active development for some time, but has not been streamlined into the Linux kernel because Linux developers claim that it fails to adhere to coding conventions and has several technical problems.

    Hans Reiser is fscked: jury delivers guilty verdict

  • I don’t know if Hans Reiser, creator of the well-regarded, open-source ReiserFS (Reiser File System), is actually guilty of the murder of his estranged wife, Nina Reiser. We can’t actually even be sure that Nina Reiser was murdered. Her body was never found and Reiser’s attorney argued that she may have returned to her native Russia.

    Never-the-less, as Wired reported, “with no body, no crime scene, no reliable eyewitness and virtually no physical evidence” Hans Reiser was found guilty of first-degree murder. In California, first-degree murder must be “willful, deliberate, and premeditated.”

    I don’t see it.

    Was Reiser really found Guilty of being a Hacker?

  • Computer programmer Hans Reiser was arrogant while testifying in his murder trial and never showed any compassion for his estranged wife, one of many factors that led to his conviction on first-degree murder, a member of the jury said today.

    Reiser juror: "Never showed sympathy" for Nina

ReiserFS

Isn't one of the PRIMARY arguments for OPEN SOURCE suposed to be that it's "Open"?

Since ALL of the source is available, why does the fact that one programmer will no longer be working on it, doom the project?

So much for the great benefit of having ALL the source to prevent being burned by orphaned/abandoned/obsolete projects.

Re: ReiserFS

If you look up the history of ReiserFS, you'll indirectly notice the politics goes a lot into those things.
Even if Hans never got convicted or if reiserfs development continues, Reiser4 will never get integrated into the mainline kernel.

Re: Understanding ReiserFS is easy ? Sql, logs compressed files

atang1 wrote:
So, Hans will have 25 years perhaps in prison with nothing to do but to perfect Reiser4 or v5. However, the problem is that Reiser file system is reaching a dead end. Only defragmentation technology can be picked up to be added in ReiserFS v5.

I doubt they will give him a Linux desktop in jail lol.

A ReiserFS Without Hans Reiser

When an open source project loses one of its core people, it can be tough to pick up the pieces -- not just in terms of replacing that person's programming expertise or insight, but also to restore lost morale. On the plus side, the nature of an open source project does balance things out, if only in an opportunistic fashion.

Patches for the file system are still being submitted, as evinced by the traffic on the reiserfs-devel mailing list, and the folks at kernel.org have offered space to host the ReiserFS sources, giving it that much more of a lease on life. But without Reiser, I suspect ReiserFS itself is doomed -- or is at least due for a name change.

More Here

And: Reiser to be sentenced in July

ReiserFS project death

Does the survival and development of the Reiser FS really matter? With the stability of ext3, XFS, and JFS, and the promised scalability of the developing ext4 and Btrfs, neither Reiser3 or Reiser4 seem needed.

I'm certainly no expert on file systems, but I found a filesystem partitioning combo years ago that has been extremely reliable for me, which does not include a Reiser FS partition.

Reiser4 might have become a great Linux filesystem, but so might others.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Linux Foundation on Value of GNU/Linux Skills

  • Jobs Report: Rapid Growth in Demand for Open-Source Tech Talent
    The need for open-source technology skills are on the rise and companies and organizations continue to increase their recruitment of open-source technology talent, while offering additional training and certification opportunities for existing staff in order to fill skills gaps, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report, released today by The Linux Foundation and Dice. 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open-source talent, and nearly half (48%) report their organizations have begun to support open-source projects with code or other resources for the explicit reason of recruiting individuals with those software skills. After a hiatus, Linux skills are back on top as the most sought after skill with 80% of hiring managers looking for tech professionals with Linux expertise. 55% of employers are now also offering to pay for employee certifications, up from 47% in 2017 and only 34% in 2016.
  • Market value of open source skills on the up
    The demand for open source technology skills is soaring, however, 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open source talent, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report which was released this week.
  • SD Times news digest: Linux Foundation releases open-source jobs report, Android Studio 3.2 beta and Rust 1.27
    The Linux Foundation in collaboration with Dice.com has revealed the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report. The report is designed to examine trends in open-source careers as well as find out which skills are the most in demand. Key findings included 83 percent of hiring managers believes hiring open source talent is a priority and Linux is the most in-demand open-source skill. In addition, 57 percent of hiring managers are looking for people with container skills and many organizations are starting to get more involved in open-source in order to attract developers.

GNU/Linux Servers as Buzzwords: "Cloud" and "IaaS"

  • Linux: The new frontier of enterprise in the cloud
    Well obviously, like you mentioned, we've been a Linux company for a long time. We've really seen Linux expand along the lines of a lot of the things that are happening in the enterprise. We're seeing more and more enterprise infrastructure become software centric or software defined. Red Hat's expanded their portfolio in storage, in automation with the Ansible platform. And then the really big trend lately with Linux has been Linux containers and technologies like [Google] Cooper Netties. So, we're seeing enterprises want to build new applications. We're seeing the infrastructure be more software defined. Linux ends up becoming the foundation for a lot of the things going on in enterprise IT these days.
  • Why next-generation IaaS is likely to be open source
    This is partly down to Kubernetes, which has done much to popularise container technology, helped by its association with Docker and others, which has ushered in a period of explosive innovation in the ‘container platform’ space. This is where Kubernetes stands out, and today it could hold the key to the future of IaaS.

Ubuntu: Snapcraft, Intel, AMD Patches, and Telemetry

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Snapcraft
    Canonical, the company behind operating system and Linux distribution Ubuntu, is looking to help developers package, distribute and update apps for Linux and IoT with its open-source project Snapcraft. According to Evan Dandrea, engineering manager at Canonical, Snapcraft “is a platform for publishing applications to an audience of millions of Linux users.” The project was initially created in 2014, but recently underwent rebranding efforts.
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Now Certified on Select Intel NUC Mini PCs and Boards for IoT Development, LibreOffice 6.0.5 Now Available, Git 2.8 Released and More
    Canonical yesterday announced that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is certified on select Intel NUC Mini PCs and boards for IoT development. According to the Ubuntu blog post, this pairing "provides benefits to device manufacturers at every stage of their development journey and accelerates time to market." You can download the certified image from here. In other Canonical news, yesterday the company released a microcode firmware update for Ubuntu users with AMD processors to address the Spectre vulnerability, Softpedia reports. The updated amd64-microcode packages for AMD CPUs are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), "all AMD users are urged to update their systems."
  • Canonical issues Spectre v2 fix for all Ubuntu systems with AMD chips
    JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU'D HEARD THE END of Spectre, Canonical has released a microcode update for all Ubuntu users that have AMD processors in a bid to rid of the vulnerability. The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were made public at the beginning of this year, affecting literally billions of devices that had been made in the past two decades.
  • A first look at desktop metrics
    We first announced our intention to ask users to provide basic, not-personally-identifiable system data back in February. Since then we have built the Ubuntu Report tool and integrated it in to the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS initial setup tool. You can see an example of the data being collected on the Ubuntu Report Github page.

Most secure Linux distros in 2018

Think of a Linux distribution as a bundle of software delivered together, based on the Linux kernel - a kernel being the core of a system that connects software to hardware and vice versa – with a GNU operating system and a desktop environment, giving the user a visual way to operate the system via a graphical user interface. Linux has a reputation as being more secure than Windows and Mac OS due to a combination of factors – not all of them about the software. Firstly, although desktop Linux users are on the up, Linux environments are far less common in the grand scheme of things than Windows devices on personal computers. The Linux community also tends to be more technical. There are technical reasons too, including fundamental differences in the way the distribution architecture tends to be structured. Nevertheless over the last decade security-focused distributions started to appear, which will appeal to the privacy-conscious user who wants to avoid the worldwide state-sanctioned internet spying that the west has pioneered and where it continues to innovate. Of course, none of these will guarantee your privacy, but they're a good start. Here we list some of them. It is worth noting that security best practices are often about process rather than the technology, avoiding careless mistakes like missing patches and updates, and using your common sense about which websites you visit, what you download, and what you plug into your computer. Read more