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An Update On Reiser4 For The Mainline Linux Kernel

Linux Kernel

Published on 31 January 2011 12:32 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
14 Comments

In November of 2009 we reported that the Reiser4 file-system may go into the mainline Linux kernel in late 2010. We're now into 2011 with the merge window having closed earlier this month for the Linux 2.6.38 kernel and there's no sign of this open-source file-system designed to succeed the popular ReiserFS. So what gives? Well, we have another update from its lead developer.

It was Edward Shishkin that told us in 2009 that we could see Reiser4 in the mainline Linux kernel in 2010. Edward's reasoning for this 2010 target was first to allow time to publish a design document about Reiser4, such as for USENIX 2010, to gain some independent expert review. Edward is the developer that basically took over leading the Reiser4 development after the founder of ReiserFS/Reiser4, Hans Reiser, was convicted of murdering his wife.

Curious as to what the state of Reiser4 is now at since there's been no large public debate in recent times about pushing it into the mainline kernel, we reached out to Edward again. Below is the email received this morning from Edward Shishkin concerning Reiser4 and its aspirations to go into the mainline tree.
Hello Michael.

I don't see any technical obstacles for Reiser4 inclusion. There are only organisation ones: I don't think it will be accepted without support from some vendor.

One company might have an interest in developing Reiser4, as they said, however, there is no essential progress in this direction for now..

Thanks,
Edward.

In other words, Reiser4 should basically be ready for the mainline Linux kernel but it'd be better off if some vendor wanting to utilize Reiser4 would get behind its development. This though may be a tough sell considering most distribution vendors are happily using the EXT4 file-system until the Btrfs file-system is ready for production, every-day use. Btrfs is viewed as being the next-generation Linux file-system and our performance test results and its feature-set have shown great promise and abilities compared to competitors like Oracle's ZFS file-system, which is also now available for Linux.

Until the point that Reiser4 makes it in the upstream kernel, one of the easier ways of utilizing this file-system besides applying the patches manually is to use one of the Zen Linux kernels. Last year we also published Reiser4 benchmarks comparing the file-system to EXT4 and Btrfs.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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