The Tragedy of Hans and Nina Reiser

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Nina Sharanova, living in Saint Petersburg and working as an obstetrician-gynecologist. In 1998, she was asked to serve as a translator for a meeting between a Russian woman and an American man, who had met through a marriage agency. The American turned out to be an ambitious programmer named Hans. He owned a California-based company with a development team in Russia, and as it happened, he took a liking to the translator Nina during the meeting. They got married a year later.

For Nina, the situation was quite advantageous: marrying a hard-working man, moving from the turbulent 1990s in Russia to California, having children there, and enjoying a comfortable life. Things pretty much went this way: two kids, a house in Oakland, and surprisingly, a position as Financial Director in Hans' company.

Hans Reiser was involved in developing a new filesystem for the Linux operating system, which he simply dubbed ReiserFS. It was one of the first journaled file systems for Linux, which was a big deal at the time: it was swifter, and better defended against disk write failures. In 1997, he opened Namesys, received a decent grant, hired developers from Russia, and set out to change the world. ReiserFS had its quirks and required refinement, but Hans was passionate, clever, and focused, so everything was solvable.

At some point, things started to go wrong. Money began to slowly disappear from the company, Hans spent more and more time in Russia for work, accumulated debt to pay his personnel. His father kept insisting it was all because of his wife, that she was ruining the company by draining it financially.

Nina, on the other hand, was very unsatisfied with Hans always roaming abroad, not seeing the kids, and filed for divorce. Rumor has it that she decided to file for divorce around the same time she got her citizenship. At least, that's what Hans himself claimed, but he made many claims during the hearings, like his wife was practicing sadomasochism with his friend, who he owed money to, and that they were all psychologically unstable people trying to trick him.

They finally divorced, amidst a lot of bitterness and court restrictions. Hans moved in with his mother, the kids stayed with their mom, but they could still see each other. Hans should have been paying alimony and medical expenses for the kids, but he did so very reluctantly, accusing Nina of making up illnesses for the children to take more money from him.

On September 3, 2006, a dispute broke out over Nina taking the kids to the doctor again when she dropped the kids off at Hans's place. At some point, the argument spiraled out of control, Hans verbally abused Nina, strangled her to death, quietly transported her body somewhere, and buried it. The kids were either on another floor of the house or in the basement at the time, and didn't notice much.

Naturally, Hans became the prime suspect. The investigation went on for nearly two years, during which he spent all remaining company money on lawyers, and in 2008, when the truth became apparent to all, he accepted a plea deal and showed the location of the buried body.

Conclusion: Namesys went bankrupt and closed, Russian programmers were let go, Hans was sentenced to "15 years to life," without any computers, and he is not being released for parole. ReiserFS silently faded away, replaced by the less scandalous ext3, then ext4 file systems. Hans and Nina's children were sent to their grandmother in Russia and, it seems, they are still living in Saint Petersburg, stunned by what happened.

There is no moral, make your own conclusions.