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

Opera Data Breach, Security of Personal Data

  • Opera User? Your Stored Passwords May Have Been Stolen
    Barely a week passes without another well-known web company suffering a data breach or hack of some kind. This week it is Opera’s turn. Opera Software, the company behind the web-browser and recently sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million, reported a ‘server breach incident’ on its blog this weekend.
  • When it comes to protecting personal data, security gurus make their own rules
    Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of a company devoted to protecting people from hackers, has safeguarded his Twitter account with a 14-character password and by turning on two-factor authentication, an extra precaution in case that password is cracked. But Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and chief technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, doesn’t bother running an anti-virus program on his computer. And Bruce Schneier? The prominent cryptography expert and chief technology officer of IBM-owned security company Resilient Systems, won’t even risk talking about what he does to secure his devices and data.

Android Leftovers

FOSS and Linux Events

  • On speaking at community conferences
    Many people reading this have already suffered me talking to them about Prometheus. In personal conversation, or in the talks I gave at DebConf15 in Heidelberg, the Debian SunCamp in Lloret de Mar, BRMlab in Prague, and even at a talk on a different topic at the RABS in Cluj-Napoca.
  • TPM Microconference Accepted into LPC 2016
    Although trusted platform modules (TPMs) have been the subject of some controversy over the years, it is quite likely that they have important roles to play in preventing firmware-based attacks, protecting user keys, and so on. However, some work is required to enable TPMs to successfully play these roles, including getting TPM support into bootloaders, securely distributing known-good hashes, and providing robust and repeatable handling of upgrades. In short, given the ever-more-hostile environments that our systems must operate in, it seems quite likely that much help will be needed, including from TPMs. For more details, see the TPM Microconference wiki page.
  • More translations added to the SFD countdown
    Software Freedom Day is celebrated all around the world and as usual our community helps us to provide marketing materials in their specific languages. While the wiki is rather simple to translate, the Countdown remains a bit more complicated and time consuming to localize. One needs to edit the SVG file and generate roughly a 100 pictures, then upload them to the wiki. Still this doesn’t scare the SFD teams around the world and we are happy to announce three more languages are ready to be used: French, Chinese and German!

Second FreeBSD 11.0 Release Candidate Restores Support for 'nat global' in IPFW

Glen Barber from the FreeBSD project announced the availability of the second RC (Release Candidate) development build of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 operating system. Read more