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Hans Reiser Arrested On Suspicion of Murder 1651

Many readers wrote about the arrest today of Hans Reiser, author of ReiserFS, by Oakland, CA police on suspicion of murdering his estranged wife. From the San Francisco Chronicle: "Hans Reiser, 42, was taken into custody at 11 a.m., hours after Oakland police and FBI technicians searched his home in the Oakland hills. His estranged wife, Nina Reiser, 31, has been missing since Sept. 3, when she dropped off the couple's son and daughter at his home on the 6900 block of Exeter Drive... Police made the arrest based on circumstantial evidence and have not found Nina Reiser's body, [Hans Reiser's attorney] Du Bois said. 'I have no idea what the circumstantial evidence is,' he said. 'When I hear what the evidence is against him, I'll make a decision as to whether he'll talk to them.'" kimvette writes, "While the disappearance (and possible murder) of his wife is tragic, Linux users will wonder where this will leave Reiser 4. If Reiser is found guilty, will Novell or IBM pick up the pieces and finish up Reiser 4 for inclusion in the kernel or is this the end of the Reiser filesystem project? Will there be any future for the Reiser filesystem, and if Hans is found guilty and the project is continued, will the project be renamed to avoid notoriety?"
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Hans Reiser Arrested On Suspicion of Murder

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @09:54PM (#16386671)
    I hope they let him code in prison.
    • Re:That really sucks (Score:5, Informative)

      by Marcion ( 876801 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @06:18AM (#16390383) Homepage Journal
      Holy reiserfsck, how bizzare, how fscking bizarre.

      Read this for another side of the story: 13/n/HeadlineNews/HOME-SEARCHED/resources_bcn_html []

      There are some other strange aspects to all this, the wife may have been having an affair, but (at least in UK) often divorce lawyers encourage clients to do a 'kitchen-sink' approach to try and wrest custody of the children, so her affair and his domestic violence are both suspect until we get more info.

      It will all come out if there is a body, or the wife turns up in Russia.
  • Unbelievable (Score:5, Informative)

    by nubnub ( 795694 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @09:56PM (#16386693)
    He's arrested for killing his wife and this post asks what's the deal with Reiser 4? Classy kdawson, very classy.
    • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @09:57PM (#16386719) Journal
      That wasn't in the original post. He added it later.

      But honestly, how many people would think that even if it wasn't posted on the front page?
      • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Random Destruction ( 866027 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:01PM (#16386775)
        But honestly, how many people would think that even if it wasn't posted on the front page?

        Probably a lot of people. But, what's wrong with that? It's natural for people to think of how an event will affect them.
        • Re:Unbelievable (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:10PM (#16386917) Journal
          I think the original poster had a case of "everyone thinks it, but we shouldn't say it out loud".
        • If Hans Reiser wasn't the author of a somewhat well known filesystem, but instead some other random guy who was uninvolved in free software, his being arrested wouldn't be on Slashdot in the first place.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:03PM (#16386815)
      All Reiser has to do is roll back the journal on his wife's deletion. Problem solved by superior software!

      There. How's that for tasteless?
  • Reiser 4 (Score:4, Funny)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @09:57PM (#16386725)
    The filesystem with killer performance.
  • by Thnikkaman ( 818752 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @09:59PM (#16386745) Homepage
    This brings up an interesting line of questioning. Are OSS projects that rely so heavily on a single person able to be trusted for widespread use? OSS and Linux zealots scream the advantages of using that kind of software, but is it a smart business decision to deploy something that could potentially lose all support if its project manager is in a fatal car accident? I'm the first to admit my own ignorance on a lot of the heirarchy of OSS projects. Are concerns like this valid or is the community able to pick up where someone left off with minimal interruption to clients?
  • What if he's found guilty, and the project is continued by other people, and renamed to avoid infamy, and Reiser loses his first appeal because his lawyer fails to subpoena critical records from the medical examiner's office, and Reiser 4 is finally completed and included in Linux 5.0, but develops stability issues, and around that time Hans is acquitted in a later appeal based on new evidence, and he rejoins the project? Will they change the name back?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:02PM (#16386791)
    People need to remember that there are human lives involved here. There are also children in the mix. This is NOT a tragedy for the Reiser filesystem.
  • by straponego ( 521991 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:03PM (#16386807)
    It will now be known as ojfs.

    Okay, so I'm not a good person.

  • Just remember! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <ag-slashdot AT exit0 DOT us> on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:05PM (#16386855) Homepage
    In America, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty!


    Well, that's what they tell us, anyway.

  • Special website (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kangburra ( 911213 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:14PM (#16386961)
    A website aimed at helping to find her, Help Find Nina Reiser []
  • Groceries? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eto_Demerzel79 ( 1011949 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:14PM (#16386963)
    If she went grocery shopping after she dropped off the kids with him, doesn't he have a good alibi? They did find her car with grocery bags inside abandoned somewhere. It appears that the investigators were presumptuous unless there is some additional information they have that they did not release.

    Just my $0.02
  • by Ssbe ( 614884 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:15PM (#16386985)
    This isn't meant to be funny or insensitive ... but if he did do it and is found guilty it seems like he'll have a bunch of time on his hand. You know, with the long jail sentence and all. Is their a reason why he can't continue working on this project from jail? Also, working on a OSS with your free time in jail seems like it might get you some good behavior points.
  • by Dogun ( 7502 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:19PM (#16387035) Homepage
    We've all seen enough crappy investigative work to know that it's best not to speculate wildly and say things we'll all regret later and wait and see what unfolds. So for once, let's do that.
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @10:27PM (#16387131) Journal
    Other than his aptitude for coding, and the fact that his filesystem is one of my favorites, I don't know a whole lot about Reiserfs.

    I'm extrapolating greatly here, but if he's a common geek-type, perhaps she left or ran away because he was paying too much attention to work and not the relationship - though that doesn't explain leaving the child behind. There's a comment from her divorce lawyer, so I'm assuming they were breaking up, and there is mention of physical abuse (though in divorce cases it isn't uncommon to have such accusations).

    What about Hans himself, had he filed a missing-persons report? Why and how are they preventing his lawyer from reaching him? Innocent until proven guilty, but I would like to know more of the history on this.
    • by e40 ( 448424 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @01:25AM (#16388819) Journal
      I live fairly close to where she disappeared. You probably don't know this, but there was an incredible effort to find her. Notices were posted everywhere, with her picture and information about her disappearance. From what I gather, it would be completely out of character for her to have left her children. As a parent, it is easy to tell how connected someone is to their kids. I'm sure her friends know this. For me, there is nothing in the universe that would make me leave my kid. Nothing. I believe she's dead.
  • Uh, hows that now? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @11:07PM (#16387601) Homepage
    From TFA:

    Du Bois complained today that police had not allowed him to meet with his client after the arrest. He said investigators were keeping Reiser in isolation.

    Did the whole "everybody is an Enemy Combatant if we say so" thing start already and no one told me? What exactly is this "isolation" where you can't contact your laywer?
    • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @02:49AM (#16389319)

      Did the whole "everybody is an Enemy Combatant if we say so" thing start already and no one told me? What exactly is this "isolation" where you can't contact your laywer?

      Until and unless he's formally charged (indicted), the right to an attorney doesn't actually attach, except as has been judicially constructed/interpreted. For light reading on the topic: endment06/11.html#1 [] If he hasn't been arraigned yet (and it sounds like he hasn't), he doesn't technically have a right to counsel yet. (The 'custodial interrogation' right to counsel, Miranda et seq., says that an interogatee, upon clear demand for the assistance of counsel, either be provided with assistance of counsel or that interrogation stop until and unless the party under custodial arrest voluntarily reinitiates contact with his interrogators. It doesn't mean the attorney automatically gets access to the guy.)

  • by rufusdufus ( 450462 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @11:34PM (#16387885)
    According to this [] Reiser lost custody of his children based on "secret information" the police have. How can you defend your rights when the evidence against you is kept secret?
  • For More Info (Score:4, Informative)

    by smclean ( 521851 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2006 @11:44PM (#16387961) Homepage
    This article, ran almost a month ago when Hans' ex originally went missing, contains quite a bit more background on the case than I've seen elsewhere: 13/n/HeadlineNews/HOME-SEARCHED/resources_bcn_html []

  • by quinnharris ( 450919 ) <> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @12:27AM (#16388337) Homepage 06122706&w=2 []

    Hans Reiser:

    Well, I am going to try being honest and see what happens.

    I am more than 170k in debt, and Namesys is doing badly fiscally. A
    technical great success being stabilized now, but then there is my
    ongoing fiscal disaster. Once again, we are missing payroll. My wife
    is divorcing me in part because I keep going deeper into debt, and I
    thank her for divorcing me now rather than later. Unfortunately she is
    making the divorce messy enough to keep me from pulling Namesys out of
    the fiscal tailspin by consuming all my time with things like proving I
    am not making the fantastic amounts of money she claims I am. I hope
    next month is better."

    Others 78128079&w=2 [] 5720520&w=2 []
  • by bigberk ( 547360 ) <> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @12:33AM (#16388411)
    Why does everyone forget this cornerstone of the legal system, an accused person is innocent unless proven guilty. It is very easy to accuse someone of something bad, but the accusation alone causes a lot of damage to reputation.

    This doesn't change what I think of Hans Reiser at all. If he's convicted of murder, that's different, but nothing like that has happened. A husband is a natural suspect in such a case. I hope that his wife is OK, but I have no reason to believe that Hans is responsible.

    When I was in highschool, our principal was accused of sexual misconduct due to some activities that allegedly took place with a student. This shocking accusation made the news, and all the parents were horrified. But very few people went to the actual trial, and when the man was acquitted it did not make the news. Give everyone their chance and let the legal system do its job.
  • As a person who helped Hans Reiser get some sponsorship in his early days and an early adopter of his filesystem in major corporate use I never would have expected something like this. It's a disaster for him but there isn't much we can do about it at this point aside from debate his innocence based on zero information. So what about Linux? Even if he turns out to be innocent (and I hope he is) the name is tarnished and the filesystem will probably languish. I was expecting reiserfs4 to be an important part of the future of Linux and Free Software's answer to WinFS. Now what will we do? We all know it takes ages, years even, to design, implement, and test a filesystem. XFS, JFS, ext3, etc. are nothing like reiser4 and lack it's capabilities. WinFS will someday be ready and will someday ship. And with this setback for Free Software the proprietary world has a huge head start over us.

    This is certainly a disaster for everyone involved. :(
  • Immunity? (Score:5, Funny)

    by pen ( 7191 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @02:02AM (#16389049)
    Isn't there some kind of immunity for authors of large open source projects?
  • Smart and Cockey (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KidSock ( 150684 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @02:54AM (#16389351)
    Note that this guy is very smart and very cockey. This isn't Scott Peterson making anchor weights in his garage. The standard interview isn't going to do the trick with this guy. If he did do it I bet he thought of a special way to get rid of the body. And now we have OJ going to LUG meetings. Same deal even if he didn't do it.
  • by msouth ( 10321 ) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @09:58AM (#16392235) Homepage Journal
    I would be interested to know how many of the people commenting have been personally acquainted with a murder suspect. I was, once. Air Force guy, he was deployed, his wife fooled around on him. She ended up shot one night. He had taken the kids to a party that night, but I don't think he had any witnesses to account for how he was spending his time at the time of the murder.

    Luckily, he had good enough luck/lawyer/whatever that he remained free. I was at a cafe near the base one time and I heard a couple of deputies/cops discussing the case. Their take? They knew it was him, they just couldn't get enough evidence together to convict.

    Fast forward a year later, they found the guy that really did it.

    Moral of the story--if she's sleeping around, her husband is likely not the only person she's pissed off. Oh, and cop "instinct" is why we need very picky, painstakingly applied laws about collection and use of evidence.

  • The Reisers were married in 1999 and frequently traveled to Russia, where she was born. They separated in May 2004.

    Just long enough to get her green card []

    Nina Reiser filed for divorce three months later, citing irreconcilable differences and saying their children "hardly know their father" because he was out of the country on business for most of the year, according to court records.

    "Verbal statements made in court" BECOMES "Court Transcript" BECOMES "Court Records". There is not anything here saying whether or not it was proven or not.

    Nina Reiser was granted a temporary restraining order against her husband in December 2004 after she reported that he had pushed her and was abusive to her. A year later, she agreed not to seek a permanent order.

    Temporary Restraining Orders [] are easy to get, and hard to keep. In a divorce, one of the favorite tactics (of both sides) is to file for a TRO. Usually these get thrown out of court some months later. Judges typically grant TROs because nobody wants to be the judge who denied a TRO against an abusive spouse. But most of the time, TROs are just stupid games that people play.

    Hans Reiser was accused earlier this year of failing to pay medical and child-care expenses as ordered by a judge, records show. He pleaded not guilty Aug. 25 to a civil contempt charge and was scheduled for trial in October.

    Again, it is very easy to "accuse" somebody. One of the games spouses play is to not send bills to the other spouse, and then file a civil suit against them for "failure to pay". This is usually yet another game in custody and visitation battles.

    Not that I am defending this guy, but the "evidence" in the article that he was a "bad man", just isn't any evidence at all.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.