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In a Feel Good Moment, Linux 6.10 Makes One Last Change to ReiserFS

In a move towards self-improvement, the creator of ReiserFS and a current resident at California’s Soledad prison, asked for a change to be made in the software’s README file before support for the software is removed from Linux next year. A Linux kernel programmer honored the request.

It’s been a while since Hans Reiser was in the news. That’s because it’s been 16 years since he was sentenced to spend 15 years to life as a guest of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for murdering his wife. Before that he was an important part of the Linux and open-source scene, as the creator of the ReiserFS filesystem, which back in the first decade of the 21st century was at the bleeding edge when it came to Linux (and which was considered by many to be destined to be an indispensable part of Linux’s future).

That last bit was likely true. Although these days Linux kernel support for the file system is scheduled to be removed in 2025 because it’s obsolete, it’s likely that if Reiser hadn’t landed in prison we’d all be running our Linux distros on top of ReiserFS (or Reiser4, its planned successor) by now. In fact, until about 15 years ago that reality seemed right around the corner. After all, it was the first journaling file system to be included in the Linux kernel, and from 2000 – 2006 it was the default file system for SUSE Enterprise Linux.

On Monday, Reiser and his file system became something of a brief blip in the news again when it was announced that kernel maintainers had made one last change to the file system, one that had been requested in a letter from Reiser to developer Fredrick Brennan in which — among other things — he apologized for his social mistakes.

In a way, his request was part of that apology — or at least an attempt to right a wrong.

“Assuming that the decision is to remove V3 from the kernel, I have just one request: that for one last release the README be edited to add Mikhail Gilula, Konstantin Shvachko, and Anatoly Pinchuk to the credits, and to delete anything in there I might have said about why they were not credited. It is time to let go.”

On Monday, Michael Larabel reported in Phoronix that SUSE’s Jan Kara had changed the ReiserFS README file to remove Reiser’s original negative language to acknowledge Gilula’s, Shvachko’s, and Pinchuk’s contributions according to Riser’s request.

Kudos to Reiser for the work he seems to be putting into working through his issues.

“In prison I have been working quite hard on developing my social skills, especially my conflict resolution and conflict avoidance skills. There is a lot of conflict in prison, as you can imagine, and it is quite a good place to learn those skills. Nothing like lots of practice, and the groups they let us take if we want to have a quite well developed curriculum, Repetition helps, at least for me. It has changed me.”

Also, kudos to Kara for doing the little thing of making the changes Reiser requested.

One Comment

  1. Ross Ashley Ross Ashley May 23, 2024

    reiser fs was the default fs in my first usable linux distro … Xandros.

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