yanked from ArsTechnica... Hans Reiser is fscked: jury delivers guilty verdict By Ryan Paul | Published: April 29, 2008 - 09:05AM CT Hans Reiser, the software developer credited with the creating the ReiserFS filesystem, has been found guilty of first-degree murder. Jurors concluded that Reiser killed his estranged wife, who vanished suddenly in 2006. A well-known figure in the open-source software community, Reiser was working on the next-generation version of his filesystem with funding from DARPA and Linspire prior to his arrest. Hans Reiser and his wife Nina were separated, and a divorce was pending at the time of her disappearance, which took place shortly before Hans was expected to appear in court over allegations that he had failed to provide child-care payments to Nina for their two children. In the past, Nina has accused him of being physically abusive and was granted a restraining order against him in 2004 when they separated. Reiser became a prime suspect early in the official investigation into Nina's disappearance. Law enforcement officers arrested him in October 2006 after conducting many interviews and a thorough, three-day investigation of his home. Reiser's booking photo When police officers located Hans Reiser's vehicle, it was missing one passenger seat, had an inch of standing water in the bottom, and contained two books about police murder investigations, as well as a sleeping bag cover stained with Nina's blood. Reiser himself was found with a fanny pack containing his passport and $9,000 when he was interrogated by police during an early stage of the investigation. Although the prosecution could not locate a body and could provide only circumstantial evidence, Reiser's bizarre courtroom behavior and convoluted arguments largely undermined his attempts to defend himself during the trial. Reiser attempted to explain away the suspicious circumstantial evidence by claiming that the individual pieces were merely symptoms of his paranoia, personal idiosyncrasies, and socially dysfunctional tendencies. To explain the removal of the car seat and the presence of the sleeping bag, he claimed that he had previously fantasized about converting the car into a bed. Reiser used a laser pointer and a picture of the inside of the car to demonstrate to the court how he had intended to convert the car into a bed. The prosecutor pointed out that, if Reiser's explanation was true, he would have been sleeping with his back directly on a one-inch tall metal bar while the car's floor was completely covered in water. When questioned about the bloodstain on the sleeping bag, Reiser attributed it to the fact that he and Nina had slept in it during a camping trip before their separation. Reiser claims that his wife is still alive and returned to Russia after stealing money from his company. During the trial, he said that he feared a police conspiracy, and he attributed his paranoid behavior to concerns that the police might plant evidence against him. Although the case against Reiser was strengthened by his inability to provide believable explanations for the various incriminating details presented by the prosecution, there was one piece of evidence in his favor that was barred from being presented during the case. Sean Sturgeon, a former friend of Hans Reiser and one of Nina's lovers during her separation from Hans, confessed to eight unrelated murders. Nina ended her relationship with Sturgeon in 2006, partly because she was disturbed by his fetish for sadomasochism. David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog, who has provided excellent gavel-to-gavel coverage of the entire trial, spoke with prosecutor Paul Hora and defense attorney William DuBois after the verdict was issued. "The strongest piece of evidence is every piece in light of every other piece," Hora told Wired. DuBois complained that Reiser's stubborn insistence on taking the stand was ultimately what demolished his chance of winning. "I'm sure he negatively impressed the jurors," DuBois told Wired. Reiser's company, Namesys, has ceased practically all operations. Reiser attempted to sell the company during the trial in order to raise money for his defense, but no buyers have emerged. The company's web site is currently inaccessible, and company representatives could not be reached for comment. The few prominent Linux distributions that were still shipping the stable version of ReiserFS by default have shifted to the more common Ext3 for various technical reasons. Reiser4, his next-generation filesystem, has been under active development for some time, but has not been streamlined into the Linux kernel because Linux developers claim that it fails to adhere to coding conventions and has several technical problems. Reiser, who claimed that the reasons for the exclusion of his new filesystem were primarily political, was attempting to address some of the technical issues prior to his arrest. The outcome of the trial largely eliminates the possibility that Reiser himself will be able to continue working on Linux filesystems. Further reading For extensive coverage of the case, see David Kravets' detailed, gavel-to-gavel reports and article about the verdict over at Threat Level.