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Data Storage Linux

Reiser4 File System Still In Development 317

Posted by timothy
from the despite-it-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Reiser4 still hasn't been merged into the mainline Linux kernel, but it's still being worked on by a small group of developers following Hans Reiser being convicted for murdering his wife. Reiser4 was updated in September on SourceForge to work with the Linux 3.5 kernel and has been benchmarked against EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and ReiserFS. Reiser4 loses out in most of the Linux file-system performance tests, has much stigma due to Hans Reiser, and Btrfs is surpassing it feature-wise, so does it have any future in Linux ahead?"
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Reiser4 File System Still In Development

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  • Rename it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by concealment (2447304) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:03AM (#41667867) Homepage Journal

    If you can find any name that's not related to murdering your wife, go for it. Bonus points if it's catchy.

  • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:05AM (#41667881)
    One of the strneghts, and weaknesses, of the OSS community is trying bunches of things in parrell to see which ones pan out well. But after a point, it is probably better to just like a project die. Granted no one can tell the individual developers what is 'worth' their time since that is a personal matter, I am sure other projects could use their talents more then this one. ReiserFS is a solution looking for a problem where better solutions surpass it.
    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:20AM (#41668053) Homepage

      What's also key is that the better points of ReiserFS, such as journaling, have migrated into other file systems. The experiment wasn't a failure, it was a darn good idea that has led to an overall improvement in reliability and speed of other file systems.

      • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:24AM (#41668107) Homepage Journal

        I've been watching Btrfs and it feels like they're merging in most of the features Reiser had in mind without saying so explicitly. I've considered it a spiritual successor for a while now.

      • Protip: if you want your FOSS project to move forward and match the features of other technologies, and enrich the community AND yourself, DON'T MURDER YOUR WIFE.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @10:33AM (#41668779)

        Journaling is not the main attraction of ReiserFS. It's the validation of the million-small-file design. Why use a database? Why accumulate records in larger files? Just make every record a separate file (and Hans Reiser wanted to go even further down that path).

        Numerous software systems have employed the million-small-file approach. It is simple, natural, attractive. There are lots of handy shell utilities for ad-hoc scripts and other useful tricks.

        The ReiserFS was all about the namespace. We already have it in linux/unix. It's the file system namespace. It should be used to the fullest. Reading a small file should be as efficient as reading a line of a larger file.

        Screw SQL. All data should be amenable to grep, awk, perl, od, rm, mv, ln, sort, head, cut &co.

        • by clampolo (1159617)
          Very interesting. The stuff about large numbers of small files seemed silly to me until I read your post. Making the file system absorb the capabilities of a database is clever and would make a lot of things easier.
      • by Nelson (1275)

        You mean journaling and some other features migrated to ReiserFS...

        It pushed some issues, also went about things the wrong way with the community.

        Fundamentally, and this is an issue that caused community issues with Reiser pushed on it initially, a filesystem's integrity is paramount. People trust it to safely store data. Reliability tradeoffs for performance doesn't cut it; regardless of the benchmarks. The other thing, how committed is the community to taking care of it? Last thing you want is a c

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One of the strneghts, and weaknesses, of the OSS community is trying bunches of things in parrell to see which ones pan out well. But after a point, it is probably better to just like a project die. Granted no one can tell the individual developers what is 'worth' their time since that is a personal matter, I am sure other projects could use their talents more then this one. ReiserFS is a solution looking for a problem where better solutions surpass it.

      Yes, let the project die. And bury it. Out in the w

    • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:30AM (#41668167) Journal

      Reiser4 was supposed to give us a different way of working with file metadata by making files into directories, was supposed to allow us to set different file permissions on every line of /etc/passwd, or maybe every field. All those features were dropped though, so what's the point now when other filesystems are further ahead in other areas?

    • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:34AM (#41668219) Homepage

      One of the strneghts, and weaknesses, of the OSS community is trying bunches of things in parrell to see which ones pan out well. But after a point, it is probably better to just like a project die.

      ...And then take all the seats out of your car and tell the police that you haven't seen the project for months.

    • It looks to me like the whole thing is in maintenance mode now anyways. Updates so newer kernels can access the file system are just enough so that legacy systems can be updated.

    • But after a point, it is probably better to just like a project die.

      I see what you did there.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#41667957) Journal

    There's going to be a few off color jokes. May as well get started.

    * It's a killer filesystem.

    * My disk died. Was ReiserFS the murderer?

    * It's more cutting edge than Reiser's knife.

  • Sorry for being on topic. I remember discussing this on /. and I'm still kinda surprised Hans actually did it. I still think it was a bad conviction, even if it randomly happened to have turned out to be correct. Kind of like the salem witch trial convictions were wrong, even if we somehow figured out one of them was a real live magical genuine witch after the fact (however unlikely that would be).

    Anyway, enough dr phil and now on to IT stuff:

    1) Most benchmarks don't matter. Nobody makes money running b

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Sorry for being on topic. I remember discussing this on /. and I'm still kinda surprised Hans actually did it. I still think it was a bad conviction, even if it randomly happened to have turned out to be correct. Kind of like the salem witch trial convictions were wrong, even if we somehow figured out one of them was a real live magical genuine witch after the fact (however unlikely that would be).

      Yeah, it was so terrible that they had evidence rather than loony conspiracy theories like Hans and his defense attorneys were throwing out. He was not some person being prosecuted for being "weird" or other such nonsense that you defenders kept claiming. He was an emotional and physical abusive asshole who murdered his wife for having the 'audacity' to leave an abusive relationship. He deserves no sympathy.

    • by jjohnson (62583) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @10:53AM (#41668995) Homepage

      I'm still kinda surprised Hans actually did it

      Yeah, you shouldn't be. It was obvious to the police, and to those of us here not in love with the 'aspie geek as lovable, misunderstood misanthrope' stereotype that he did it. The minute the evidence came out, it screamed "he totally fucking killed her!" From Nina disappearing without her passport or money or cell phone, to Hans hosing out the interior of his car, to buying police procedure textbooks, all after Nina started to separate from him... Don't let Alex Belits' contortions confuse you. It was a good conviction based on straightforward evidence of first degree murder.

    • I'm still kinda surprised Hans actually did it

      I had thought that anyone with the genius to make a better file system would surely find an acceptable way to solve domestic problems. Why didn't he simply get a divorce? And that's why at first I thought he didn't do it. Instead, like Lisa Nowak, he served himself up as another example that even the brightest and presumably best among us can still lose it, and kick all sense of morality and civilized behavior to the curb. Temporary insanity doesn't explain it, nor does unstable teenage emotions. It's

    • by morgauxo (974071)
      Come on, if you are going to make a statement like that at least give some reasons.
  • On the bight side, Hans might have a 20 year all expenses paid development cycle ahead of him. Think of the contribution he could make if allowed to.
    Talk about making productive use of prisoners time.
    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      On the bight side, Hans might have a 20 year all expenses paid development cycle ahead of him. Think of the contribution he could make if allowed to.

        Talk about making productive use of prisoners time.

      You're right, the Core 2 Duo machine with a SATA-1 7200 rpm disk that he got when he went into the clink will run un-fucking-believably well 20 years from now. That only leaves one problem...

    • by jjohnson (62583)

      There's no way for Hans to make meaningful progress without relatively unfettered Internet access, and there's no way any prisoner for his crime would be allowed that.

      Not to mention that allowing someone to continue on his life's work undisturbed is not exactly the point of incarceration.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:21AM (#41668059)

    has much stigma due to Hans Reiser

    Really? You can't just judge it based on it's features and performance?

    So if Linus Torvalds ever commits a crime, you'll stop using Linux?

    • by Atzanteol (99067) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:30AM (#41668173) Homepage

      It's human nature. His name taints his work now. Most people don't want to look at shit while they're eating nor do they want to think of some asshole who killed his wife when formatting a file system.

    • I don't get this either. Being a genius doesn't preclude being a tyrant of some form. Being a murdered doesn't preclude being an incredible programmer.

      I only wish we could give the guy a keyboard to bang away at in prison ...

    • Torvalds is smarter than that; Rieser was so smart he thought he could make his issues and problems go away with the power of his mind. Its obvious he was full of himself, read about his story during the trial a few years ago. He defended himself at some point during the trial, that right there is a telling sign of how cuaght up in his own greatness he was.
    • by Jeremi (14640)

      Really? You can't just judge it based on it's features and performance?

      I can, but the rest of the world can't (or at least didn't). Not much point in using a filesystem that nobody else wants to support, even if their reasons aren't entirely rational.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:21AM (#41668065)

    The murder scandal got the project waylaid long enough that everyone else moved on.

    Even if the stigma that threw banana peels in the way is gone, reiser4 is still far behind.

    If it's open source, cannibalize it and take the features.

    • by Atzanteol (99067) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:29AM (#41668161) Homepage

      As far as I can tell btrfs has what features would be worth taking and then some - and is under more active development. I think reiserfs is dead long-term.

      I ran reiser3 for a long time. I was happy with it. But these days I'm on ext4 (and eyeing btrfs). Wonderful thing about btrfs and the ext* FS's is that they provided a migration plan. Reiser4 (at least last I checked) could not convert an existing FS (even reiser3). btrfs can even convert ext4 and allow you *TO GO BACK* if you want. How awesome is that?

      • ext4 here, quite happy with it.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        I loved Reiser3 when it came out, but it always seemed to be on the fringes of the mainline because Reiser caused a lot of friction with other kernel devs. Linus had plenty of rants about the way the driver broke stuff, used weird code conventions or made dumb self serving decisions and these seemed to increase with Reiser 4 which was ridiculously ambitious and kept out of the mainline. I think even if Reiser hadn't been murdering his wife that it would have been a long time before it would have gone into t
  • Let Hans Reiser work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:25AM (#41668115)

    There is no reason why a convict should be denied the tools and space to develop software when that software is in everyone's best interest. Even if it was some sort of nonsense app that would provide an income for a convict following release or just keep his skills up to par so that he had hope of earning a living upon release it would be in the public interest.
                    One of the main reasons for another conviction often relates to convicts being kept out of decent jobs when they are put on the streets. If people can not earn a living they don't just dry out like a worm on a sidewalk. A legal living made unavailable will steer them into crime, or cause drunken behaviors that lead to re-arrest.

    • But then the entire Slashdot community would have no incentive not to commit heinous crimes. If all that happened when you got caught was 20 years of free meals, free accommodation and a PC to program all day, how does that differ from the average Slashdotter living in his parents' basement? The idea behind prison is to punish people so others will think twice before committing a crime.
    • by metamatic (202216)

      There is no reason why a convict should be denied the tools and space to develop software when that software is in everyone's best interest.

      In general, no. However, have you seen his handwritten letters [wired.com] and read the text of his complaints and demands? The guy is seriously delusional and deep in denial. I don't think I'd want to trust my data to code written by a mind that unhinged.

  • Lack of knowledge is so sad. One has only to have a passing understanding of data models to read Reiser’s paper and realise he
    does not understand the fundamental concepts of the field. Such a waste of time, money and talents.

  • by drig (5119) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:43AM (#41668311) Homepage Journal

    I stopped using ReiserFS long before it's namesake was arrested. It used to lose data. That's pretty much a showstopper for a filesystem who's claim to fame was reliability.

    • by Bronster (13157)

      I never saw that running on decent hardware with battery backed RAID units. I saw significant dataloss the one time I tried XFS (all of - ooh, a month ago) and had to nuke the entire server and start over.

      We run ext4 rather than reiserfs mostly now, but it served us well for very many years.

      Mind you - I did try reiser4 on my laptop for a bit back in 2004, and I had dataloss there. Never had dataloss with reiser3 though, except the really early versions. Even then it was a lot better than ext2, which was

  • Benchmarked on SSD? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bill Dimm (463823) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @09:51AM (#41668391) Homepage

    The bottom of the first page in Phoronix's benchmarks says "The disk drive being used for all testing was a high-end 160GB Intel SSD." Since different filesystems are optimized for different things, it seems such benchmarks could be completely irrelevant for anyone using hard drives (where seek times are very significant compared to SSD).

  • by cje (33931) on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @10:13AM (#41668559) Homepage

    The murder of his wife was the straw that broke the camel's back, but for me, I started turning away from Reiser based on the sliminess of the Burke character he played in "Aliens". Of course, that "Mad About You" shit didn't help much, either.

  • of an acclaimed FS is on the horizon and we laugh at its creator who murdered his wife. Im not sure how it works in other countries, but in America the prison system is just another device for enacting biblical retribution. Hans isnt seeing any treatment for his actions, rather hes spending 15 years to life in prison.

    Depending on your personal conviction to things like the death penalty and crime in general, you could consider the man who brought you a glorious experiment, ReiserFS, is a sick man. He's b

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