ReiserFS programmer arrested as murder suspect

Hans Reiser, the 42-year-old founder of the ReiserFS file system software used in some versions of Linux, has been arrested as a suspect in the supposed murder of his estranged wife, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Reiser's wife, Nina, 31, who filed for divorce in 2004, has been missing since Sept. 3, and police have evidence suggesting she's dead, the Chronicle reported. "All avenues led us to Mr. Reiser being responsible for the death and disappearance of Ms. Nina Reiser," Oakland police Lt. Ersie Joyner was quoted as saying. "We feel very strongly that the D.A. (district attorney) will file charges against him and that we will prosecute him with or without a body."

Police evidence in the case includes undercover surveillance in recent weeks and information from a search warrant, including a DNA sample of the suspect, the Chronicle said.

Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise products use ReiserFS as the default software to manage how data is stored on hard drives.

However, the software's future is uncertain at Novell. Two weeks ago, a Suse engineer posed the question of whether Suse should switch to the ext3 file system as default, the practice of rival Red Hat.

"There are a number of problems with (ReiserFS), some purely technical, some more related to maintenance," said Jeff Mahoney of Suse Labs. "ReiserFS has a small and shrinking development community," he said, and pointed to problems running on large servers and Reiser's preference for version 4, which still isn't stable, he said. Ext3, in contrast, is stable and likely will match ReiserFS's performance advantages "soon."

Things haven't been smooth at Reiser's company, Namesys, which sells ReiserFS support. One Slashdot posting on Wednesday linked to a 2004 mailing list posting in which Reiser detailed his company's financial troubles and lamented that the software had languished because of the divorce.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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