How does the future look for ReiserFS? Did the trial affect its popularity much?

This is a pretty subjective question, so referring to a published statistic/article would be nice.

closed as primarily opinion-based by HopelessN00b Dec 5 '14 at 11:09

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    good question for which i'd love to know the answer. and somehow i feel i do know and it's unpleasant one for those who - like me - still run reiserfs. – pQd May 22 '09 at 21:06
  • I don't know how useful the question is to people, but the selected answer is pretty clearly false (as shown in multiple answers below) – Ophidian Aug 7 '09 at 23:54

reiserfs is currently maintained upstream in the kernel. I found 4 changes in the 2.6.30 release notes. There are also efforts (which led to some of the 2.6.30 commits) to reduce the use of the Big Kernel Lock (BKL). The use of the BKL is a major bottleneck for reiserfs on Multicore systems and should show some performance gains by being nable to lock on just the superblock instead. Novell & SuSE have continued supporting the file system for their enterprise product so it's not dead yet. Also, it's often not 'officially' supported by many of the distros, but you can for instance install the latest Fedora release on ReiserFS (with installer boot params linux selinux=0 reiserfs).

As far as Reiser4, it is currently in Andrew Morton's -mm tree and development continues led by Edward Shishkin (a former Namesys employee). In a mid-May email on reiserfs-devel, Edward estimated that the requisite changes for merging it into Linus' tree of the kernel might get done in the August/September time frame.

People seem to have moved on to getting excited about ext4/btrfs/ZFS, so reiser4 going into the mainline may be more of a victory for its supporters than anything else, but at the same time if it's better than the other available file systems then I'm sure it will regain popularity.


The Wikipedia article says that development has stopped on ReiserFS v4, so I would take that to mean that you're at the mercy of your host OS's support for ReiserFS v3 and the year 2038, whichever comes first.

You're right, it is a very subjective question. Especially if you're trying to gauge its popularity (which I think is a pointless exercise).

  • +1 for helpful information, but do you truly think it's pointless to know whether a file system has any future? Wow – username May 22 '09 at 21:20
  • Popularity in this context is whether its being maintained and if it's in the OS distros you want to use. If it works for you now and there is a migration path to another FS in the future when/if required, I don't see the point in gauging its popularity. – aharden May 23 '09 at 3:29
  • you mean 2021: There is no guarantee Reiser will ever be a free man again, Goodman pointed out. The state Board of Prison Terms must determine whether he is eligible for release. The earliest he can go before the board is 2021. Read more: sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/30/… – Nick Kavadias Aug 7 '09 at 8:56

His severely poor social skills caused him to be unable to work with the kernel developers. For example he had good ideas that required API changes. A compelling case must be made for these, and he refused to make his case. He often did not listen to other people of similar intelligence, and refused to make technical arguments to an audience that requires them.

When reading details of his trial, it seems that these problems in socialization are related to the issues that led to the tragic events of his life. But I don't believe that the trial would have had such an impact on the filesystem's popularity if he had been more willing to work with others in a constructive manner.

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    hehe, I guess killing your wife falls under "severely poor social skills" - SCNR :) – serverhorror Jun 12 '09 at 7:09

This LWN article from 2008 is a decent description of the context.

Mr. Reiser's role in reiserfs development and maintenance ended some years ago, though. He stopped work on it when reiser4 development started, and even opposed the incorporation of improvements done by others. Reiserfs continues to be maintained independently of its creator, though there is not much interest in adding features to it at this point. Reiserfs is nearing the end of its run, and nothing which happened this week has changed that situation in any way.


If you need to ask, you know the answer.


Work still goes on - see this list:- http://www.nabble.com/ReiserFS---General-f1023.html


Better questions would be

"Is there being done any maintenance work on the current Reiserfs? (v3)" "What happened to Reiser4? It was very promising"

I was big fan of Reiserfs and I also tried some pre-alpha of Reiser4 that was quite fast as well as extendable. Would love a filesystem that can store meta information, such as ID3 tags.


Not for me. I benchmarked reiser3 against ext2, ext3, and XFS. I didn't have difficult requirements, simple journaling and low overhead was what I was looking for. Ext3 beat the others hands down in speed tests. At the time, my thought was "if it isn't faster, and I don't need the extra features, I don't get what the fuss is about."

I already disliked it, I guess is what I'm saying.

  • I suspect that it may depend on the benchmark use cases. ext3 is known for low CPU usage but is pretty crummy for space efficiency on large disks and does a poor job working with lots of small files in a directory or working with really large files. – Ophidian Aug 7 '09 at 23:50
  • It was a quad CPU machine running a web server and Sybase ASE 8 if I recall. So, true, it didn't have to do much with files really. Mostly CGI, PHP and Sybase. – Kyle Hodgson Aug 8 '09 at 4:50

Well, ReiserFS is a nice reasonably bug free file system in the kernel. Reiser4 seems to be a dead end, and not likely to ever make it into the kernel.

For those of us interested in the idea of the Reiser file systems, and also of ZFS, the fs to watch is BtrFs. Still alpha though.


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