Hans Reiser, the open-source programmer who created the ReiserFS journalling file system and went on to murder his wife – has been given a fifteen-to-life sentence according to Ars Technica
The programmer was arrested and charged with the offence following the mysterious disappearance of his estranged wife, Nina Reiser, in 2006 due to evidence of suspicious behaviour on his part – behaviour Reiser claimed was due to his geeky personality and incipient paranoia, rather than the result of someone trying to hide a body. Sadly for Reiser – although not for justice – the jury didn't believe his story, and found him guilty.
Following this verdict, Reiser made an agreement with prosecutors: he would lead them to the body of his wife in exchange for a lesser charge of second degree murder – a deal which could see the programmer freed in fifteen years, compared to the original twenty-five year minimum sentence for first degree murder.
Reiser is reportedly planning to put his file system technology and the company he founded to drive the development – Namesys – into a trust fund to provide for his children; he also plans to continue programming from within prison, with all proceeds made to be placed in the same trust fund. Whether anyone is likely to hire a convicted murderer – albeit one with some interesting ideas on what makes an efficient and secure file system – to work on their project remains to be seen: technical limitations in the system along with the stigma of the murder case have seen ReiserFS dropped from the vast majority of mainstream Linux distributions since Reiser was arrested in 2006.
If you're looking for insight into the man behind the file system, Wired has a transcript of Reiser's confession
, although it makes morbid reading.
Does the mind boggle that a seemingly talented programmer could be capable of such an atrocity, or is it something you've always expected Linux geeks to be capable of? Share your thoughts over in the forums