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Reiser leads police to wife's body, gets 15 years

Hans Reiser was sentenced to 15 years to life in jail for strangling his wife to death in 2006. As part of a deal reached with the Alameda County DA, Reiser received a reduced prison sentence and conviction on a lesser charge -- second degree murder -- in exchange for leading police to the body of Nina Reiser in Oakland hills, Calif.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor on

Hans Reiser was sentenced to 15 years to life in jail for strangling his wife to death in 2006. 

As part of a deal reached with the Alameda County DA, Reiser received a reduced prison sentence and conviction on a lesser charge -- second degree murder -- in exchange for leading police to the body of Nina Reiser in Oakland hills, Calif.

A jury found Reiser -- creator of the Reiser file system for Linux -- guilty of first degree murder in April. 

It's a sad ending to a sad story,  but few in the open source world mourned Reiser's fate.  For all of his technical prowess, Reiser reportedly displayed the same kind of arrogance working in the open source community as he showed the judge in court and made few friends in the Linux world.

It's part of the reason why Ext3 -- and not ReiserFS -- became the de facto file system standard for Linux.  And that was a very good thing.

It's not clear what will happen with Reiser's crew of remaining programmers and the Reiser4 project.  Edward Shishkin, who is maintaining the Reiser4 project, still has the project up and running but in a recent posting indicated that the future was uncertain. 

In response to a question on the project's site about whether there is a "vacancy" that needs to be filled, Shishkin said he is the current maintainer but hinted that no one should wait around for bug fixes. Here's how the conversation went:

"So who is the maintainer at this point?

I am.

Is there a vacancy?

"There [are]a number of problems to resolve," Shishkin wrote. "Most likely that nobody will touch the listed [problem] in the near future."

In April, the Linux kernel.org gave Shishkin and Reiser4 shelter from the storm. With enough backing from the community, Reiser4 can survive. But without a name change, I'd be surprised if the project doesn't fade into obscurity.  

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