The story of Hans Reiser, the eccentric file system programmer, is a tragic one. The author of the ReiserFS was arrested under suspicion of the murder of his wife Nina Reiser in 2006, and was declared guilty in April 2008. Some still placed doubts about the conviction, stating that he might be innocent. It now seems that all doubt has been quelled, since Alameda County District Attorney Thomas Orloff has revealed that Hans Reiser will disclose the location of Nina’s body for a reduced sentence.The deal is not yet finalised, though. “There’s been some overtures,” Orloff said, “But everything is in its preliminary stage.” The deal would reduce his conviction from first degree to second degree murder. In addition, an anonymous source close with the situation said that “the only real leverage he has is if he can provide a body. He really doesn’t have any options left. Even if he won a retrial somehow, he’d likely be convicted.”
The sad thing is that more people have worked on ReiserFS than just Hans; the ReiserFS file system is now being discredited solely by the actions of Hans, even though this, of course, in a professional way has no influence on the code or the possible technical excellence of the file system itself. I find that to be a very sad state of affairs, since art (which code pretty much is) should never be discredited on the basis of its maker.
As my teacher in Dutch Literature always used to say: “Most Dutch writers are assholes, but that doesn’t discredit their contributions to the world of literature in any way.”