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Reiser filesystem development to continue

By Bruce Byfield on October 12, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

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Hans Reiser, the developer of the ReiserFS and Reiser4 filesystems, has been arrested in Oakland, California as a suspect in the disappearance of his estranged wife Nina Reiser. As the news of his arrest spreads in the free and open software communities, a growing concern is the effect that the case might have on Namesys, Hans Reiser's company, as well as the future of his filesystem work.

Hans Reiser is best known as the lead developer of ReiserFS and Reiser4, two journalled filesystems whose merits are frequently praised and disparaged. Hans Reiser is also known for his struggle to have Reiser4 included in the kernel, and his outspokenness over the delays in reaching his goal. Both filesystems are developed by Namesys, a small company whose work has been sponsored by Linspire and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

A call to the number on the Namesys Web site brought an anonymous woman to the telephone who would only say, "No comment" before hanging up. However, several of those connected to Namesys were willing to speak publicly about the future of the company and the filesystems.

"I do not think that just being arrested will affect anything so long as Hans is not actually convicted," says Oleg Drokin, the former release manager at Namesys. "If he is convicted, that might cause problems for Namesys [because] it is operated solely by Hans."

The main concern, according to Drokin, is whether Namesys employees, many of whom live in Russia, will continue to receive their salaries. If the money stops flowing, "some people will stop working, of course."

However, Drokin thinks that situation is unlikely. "Hans suspected that he would be suspected from the very beginning," he adds. "I would think he took necessary steps for Namesys employees to continue to work even in his absence and even Namesys itself is safe for at least some time."

Ramon Reiser, Hans' father and a former marketer and technical writer at Namesys, confirms Drokin's comments. Ramon Reiser says that Namesys has always had two main priorities: "pushing the envelope to bring the filesystem up to the 21st Century from the 1970s" and "the well being of the Russian and Ukrainian programmers who have put so much of their lives into giving life to the modern filesystems that Hans envisioned as a young Berkeley University student back in 1983. As his father, I can attest that those two priorities are still uppermost."

In an email on the Linux kernel mailing list, Lex Lyamin, hostmaster and sysadmin for Namesys, writes that "We will try to appoint a proxy to run Namesys business," should Hans Reiser be detained or convicted.

Similarly, those willing to make public comments say that there should be little disruption to the Reiser filesystems, at least in the short term. Lyamin says that active development on ReiserFS is mainly devoted to bugfixes, although some new features have been added by Novell employees working on SUSE. ReiserFS is already part of the kernel, and is likely to remain so.

In the same vein, Drokin adds. "The effect on Reiser4 should not be all that bad. [Of] the people who are still working on it, many are very devoted to it and do not plan to drop their work until Reiser4 is actually merged into the vanilla kernel."

Lyamin agrees that Reiser4 should be unaffected for now. "Yes, we are rather shaken and stressed at the moment, although I cannot say we didn't see it coming." In the short term, Lyamin says, meaning the next six months, "We will just buzz along as usual, chunking out patches and going through reviews."

As for the long term, Lyamin says "that is where it becomes tricky," if Reiser is found guilty. However, Lyamin expresses the cautious hope that the case will go the "way we hope it will go."

Others expressed their hope that the Reiser4 community will continue their work. "Hans had a number of interesting ideas about the next generation file systems," says George Beshers, a former team leader at Namesys. "It would be in the Linux communities' best interest to keep Reiser4 viable so that those innovations can be carefully evaluated."

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Nina Reiser and the outcome of the case against Hans Reiser remain unknown. Caught in the middle of this confusion and heartbreak, Ramon Reiser promises, "I will do all I can to see that the fine Russian and Ukrainian programmers of Namesys can continue the development of Reiser4 -- with expectation that Reiser5 in several years and then Reiser6 about five years after that will at last bring a full-fledged, modern filesystem commensurate with Linux and the new operating systems coming on line. Godspeed."

Bruce Byfield is a course designer and instructor, and a computer journalist who writes regularly for NewsForge, Linux.com, and IT Manager's Journal.

Bruce Byfield is a computer journalist who writes regularly for Linux.com.

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on Reiser filesystem development to continue

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Calling Sheriff John Burnell

Posted by: Joe Klemmer on October 13, 2006 11:07 PM
Damn, sounds like a coming episode of Unsolved Mysteries or City Confidential.

#

Free Hans Reiser!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2006 09:20 PM
Maybe a stranger at the mall macked on her, then took her home, then choked her, then cooked her and then ate her.

Maybe she used adultfriendfriend, and met with some crazy stranger on the Internet who kidnapped her and took her to Kazakhstan where she work on the streets for him.

It doesn't mean Hans Reiser did it, and even if he did it, then it was the right thing todo, because then she must have deserved it. Hans Reiser is a brilliant man.

FREE HANS RAISER!

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Re:Free Hans Reiser!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2006 09:55 PM
This concerns a missing, possibly dead woman. How about showing some restraint?

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Re:Free Hans Reiser!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2006 10:11 PM
There's a thin line between genius and insanity....

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Re:Free Hans Reiser!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2006 11:48 PM
I feel for you, you obviously have some problems.

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Re:Free Hans Reiser!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 06:09 AM
Those are strange statements to make. At this point there is no use in speculation; although the police have not released any information they obviously believe there was a murder and believe that they have enough evidence against Reiser. Of course the police are not unknown for stupidity either. We just have to wait and see. I'm betting that OJ Simpson didn't do it. Anyone seen my other glove or did Michael Jackson take it again?

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Re:Free Hans Reiser!

Posted by: Administrator on October 13, 2006 10:44 PM
I'm not gonna speculate on wether or not he did it, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say professional cops and murder investigators probably know better than a teenage computer programmer.

But I do gotta say, if he did do it, than the fact that he coded a nice filesystem really doesn't make him any less deserving of 25 to life.

Whoever murdered this woman deserves a fate worse than death - he deserves to spend the rest of his life up until death living in a cage, eating shitty food, and getting raped by much bigger, meaner and gayer criminals.

Note that this doesn't mean that - assuming that Reiser actually did it - I don't appreciate his code. But there are more important things in life. Like not taking it from other people.

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Reiser filesystem development to continue

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2006 09:42 PM
He can probably still develop the reiser filesystem from his prison cell. However, he will not be allowed to profit from his work while in prison. Of course, he is innocent until found quilty. so, I'm just saying that if he is found quilty and goes to prison, he can still develop it.

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Re:Reiser filesystem development to continue

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2006 11:04 PM
Prisoners are allowed a computer?
They are allowed Internet connection so can talk on mailing lists with other people and interact on forums and chat?

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Re:Reiser filesystem development to continue

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 12:13 AM
Sure, he should be able to get some development done in between the an*l rape sessions.

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Best of luck to Hans Reiser!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 12, 2006 11:25 PM
That woman was a devil;
<a href="http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=4558883" title="go.com">http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id<nobr>=<wbr></nobr> 4558883</a go.com>

Reiser said Sturgeon "worked with my wife Nina Reiser and eventually drugged her with ecstasy and seduced her."

Reiser alleged, "He then engaged in Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism techniques and continued to redrug her repeatedly over time."

He said Sturgeon engaged in those techniques "in an effort to show that he was a better man than I and to convince my wife Nina to conspire with him to steal the Namesys Inc. company assets."

Godspeed Hans Reiser!

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Drugged her with ecstasy

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 12:10 AM
So, he made her fall in love? So nice if words can have a double meaning.

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doesn't matter

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 01:38 AM
Eventually ZFS will be everywhere anyway. ReiserFS at this point is a waste of time.

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Re:doesn't matter

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 03:23 AM
Doesn't ZFS have a license which is incompatible with the GPL and therefore the Linux kernel?

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Re:doesn't matter

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 04:13 PM
Yes, it does, the CDDL. So all BSD and Windows will use it. Except GPL kernels such as the Linux kernel. FreeBSD already has a port!

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Re:doesn't matter

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2006 08:36 AM
and so does linux have a port of ZFS, its called ZFS on FUSE, check the blog here <a href="http://zfs-on-fuse.blogspot.com/" title="blogspot.com">http://zfs-on-fuse.blogspot.com/</a blogspot.com>

#

insane people posting here

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 04:12 AM
What it is with Linux.com and Newsforge and the insane creeps who post comments? Do they have a special feed into prison psychiatric wards?

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PERFORMANCE (includes ReiserFS)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 10:25 AM
===========
PERFORMANCE
===========

Our highest priority is reliable functionality, performance comes only
next. However acceptable performance is part of the functionality so we
constantly keep an eye on it and consider any major performance issue to
be a real functionality problem as well.

Below are the averaged file creation, deletion and access performance
numbers got by running 'bonnie++ -s0' using several filesystems (the
benchmark used 16,000 files per directory in each sessions):

Version  1.03    ------Sequential Create------ --------Random Create--------
                -Create-- --Read--- -Delete-- -Create-- --Read--- -Delete--
          files <nobr> <wbr></nobr>/sec %CP <nobr> <wbr></nobr>/sec %CP <nobr> <wbr></nobr>/sec %CP <nobr> <wbr></nobr>/sec %CP <nobr> <wbr></nobr>/sec %CP <nobr> <wbr></nobr>/sec %CP
reiserfs-----16k 21459 99 +++++ +++ 17856  96 20172  98 +++++ +++ 16414  96
jfs----------16k  7015 13 +++++ +++  5868  10  3068  14 +++++ +++  1075  3
ntfs-3g------16k  3021 99 14291  99  5226  99  3548  99 16149  99  5223  99
xfs----------16k  2401 17 +++++ +++  2095  15  2301  20 +++++ +++  347  2
ext3---------16k  1862 96 +++++ +++ +++++ +++  1914  96 +++++ +++  9695  98
minix--------16k  1450 97 +++++ +++ 18148  94  1694  97 +++++ +++  4847  98
fat32--------16k   366 97 +++++ +++  1809  97  428  97 +++++ +++  1361  97
paragon ntfs-16k    58 98  1259  99  245  99    55  99 +++++ +++  832  99
captive ntfs-    Always crashes early on file creations and loses files-
                This was also confirmed and fix denied by its developer.

We estimate the ntfs-3g driver performance could be increased by several times.

Well ReiserFS seems HUGELY better than ext3,... so no wonder Novelle is swapping to ext3.

Jade @ <a href="http://linux.coconia.net/" title="coconia.net">http://linux.coconia.net/</a coconia.net>
Jade @ <a href="http://m.domaindlx.com/LinuxHelp/" title="domaindlx.com">http://m.domaindlx.com/LinuxHelp/</a domaindlx.com>

#

Above table hard to read.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 10:56 AM
The above table is a little hard to read, so here are the relevant figures:

Sequential Create
files/sec %CP
21459 99 (ReiserFS Create)
 1862 96 (ext3 Create)

Random Create
files/sec %CP
20172 98 (ReiserFS Create)
 1914 96 (ext3 Create)

Random Delete
16414 96 (ReiserFS Delete)
 9695 98 (ext3 Delete)

Jade @ <a href="http://linux.coconia.net/" title="coconia.net">http://linux.coconia.net/</a coconia.net>

#

You forgot this benchmark:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 13, 2006 04:43 PM
Oh, I forgot this one:

Sequential Delete
17,856 96 (ReiserFS Delete)
+++++ +++ 98 (ext3 Delete)

The +++++ +++ actually means that ext3 is so fast at sequential deletion that an accurate result cannot be given as rounding errors in measurements become the determining factor.

The only problem is, that significant sequential deletions never occur in real life computing.

Jade @ <a href="http://linux.coconia.net/" title="coconia.net">http://linux.coconia.net/</a coconia.net>
Jade @ <a href="http://m.domaindlx.com/LinuxHelp/" title="domaindlx.com">http://m.domaindlx.com/LinuxHelp/</a domaindlx.com>

#

Disagree

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2006 03:12 AM
Yes if he did it, then the fact that he coded a nice filesystem does make him less deserving. Because he have contributed something very nice to the society and then giving away for free, its a very good man.

Example:

Guy A donate all his money to charities, is nice to everybody, very honest guy, volunteer todo free work to aid others, member of many non-profit organisations that help people, travel to africa and aid little starving kids, all his life he done everything to help people, and once in a life time murder someone.

Then we have Guy B he is a crook, hes racist, mean, sexist, evil guy who beats up people for no reason, lie and steal from everybody, all his life he have done bad stuff and he murder someone, they deserve the same punishment?

Maybe his wife was a terrible person who was a racist and cheated on him, lied to him, stole his money, molested innocent little children, kicked puppies, ate babies, etc?

#

Re:Disagree

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2006 04:50 PM
There is no excuse for murder, and he deserves any punishment he receives if he is convicted.

There is *no* contribution to society that is great enough to make a person less deserving of punishment for murder if that person has committed one.

And whether or not his wife was a good person (and this is, of course, subject to opinion and would require actually *knowing* her) also has no bearing. Again, there is no excuse for murder.

A filesystem is not a great contribution to society, by the way. It's a good technical achievement, but it has no moral value whatsoever.

#

Re:Disagree

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2006 07:55 PM
So if Jesus would have killed Hitler, he should get the same punishment as if Hitler would have killed Jesus?

#

Re:Disagree

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 16, 2006 09:53 PM
Yes.

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Re:Disagree

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 16, 2006 10:22 PM
In today's law, murder = punishable!<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

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Call it the Ext4KILLER-filesystem

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2006 08:39 AM
Call it the Ext4KILLER-filesystem

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ReiserFS != Hans Reiser

Posted by: Administrator on October 12, 2006 09:42 PM
While he's obviously very tightly associated with the work, it's not a one-man project. Regardless of what he may or may not have done, it would be sad to see the collective work of many programmers sunk because of this.

My sympathies to the families of BOTH Nina and Hans in this time; may this be resolved as soon and as well as possible.

#

But what if he does get the needle?

Posted by: Administrator on October 14, 2006 05:05 AM
Will it become Reiser4MemorialFS?

KillerFS?

WifeBeaterFS?

Inquiring minds want to know...

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