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Developer(s)Edward Shishkin and others[1]
Full nameReiser4
Introduced2004; 20 years ago (2004) with Linux
Partition IDsApple_UNIX_SVR2 (Apple Partition Map)

0x83 (MBR)

Basic data partition (GPT)
Directory contentsDancing B*-tree
Max file size8 TiB on x86
Max filename length3976 bytes
Allowed filename
All bytes except NULL and '/'
Dates recordedmodification (mtime), metadata change (ctime), access (atime)
Date range64-bit timestamps[2]
File system
Unix permissions
Data deduplicationNo
operating systems

Reiser4 is a computer file system, successor to the ReiserFS file system, developed from scratch by Namesys and sponsored by DARPA as well as Linspire. Reiser4 was named after its former lead developer Hans Reiser. As of 2021, the Reiser4 patch set is still being maintained,[3][4] but according to Phoronix, it is unlikely to be merged into mainline Linux without corporate backing.[5]


Some of the goals of the Reiser4 file system are:

Some of the more advanced Reiser4 features (such as user-defined transactions) are also not available because of a lack of a VFS API for them.

At present Reiser4 lacks a few standard file system features, such as an online repacker (similar to the defragmentation utilities provided with other file systems). The creators of Reiser4 say they will implement these later, or sooner if someone pays them to do so.[11]


Reiser4 uses B*-trees in conjunction with the dancing tree balancing approach, in which underpopulated nodes will not be merged until a flush to disk except under memory pressure or when a transaction completes. Such a system also allows Reiser4 to create files and directories without having to waste time and space through fixed blocks.

As of 2004, synthetic benchmarks performed by Namesys in 2003 show that Reiser4 is 10 to 15 times faster than its most serious competitor ext3 working on files smaller than 1 KiB. Namesys's benchmarks suggest it is typically twice the performance of ext3 for general-purpose filesystem usage patterns.[12] Other benchmarks from 2006 show results of Reiser4 being slower on many operations.[13] Benchmarks conducted in 2013 with Linux Kernel version 3.10 show that Reiser4 is considerably faster in various tests compared to in-kernel filesystems ext4, btrfs and XFS.[14]

Integration with Linux

Reiser4 has patches for Linux 2.6, 3.x, 4.x and 5.x.,[15][3] but as of 2019, Reiser4 has not been merged into the mainline Linux kernel[3] and consequently is still not supported on many Linux distributions; however, its predecessor ReiserFS v3 has been widely adopted. Reiser4 is also available from Andrew Morton's -mm kernel sources, and from Zen patch set. Linux kernel developers claim that Reiser4 does not follow Linux "coding style" by decision to use own plugin system,[16] but Hans Reiser suggested political reasons.[17] Latest released reiser4 kernel patches and tools can be downloaded from reiser4 project page at [4]

History of Reiser4

See also: Hans Reiser

Hans Reiser was convicted of murder on April 28, 2008, leaving the future of Reiser4 uncertain. After his arrest, employees of Namesys were assured they would continue to work and that the events would not slow down the software development in the immediate future. In order to afford increasing legal fees, Hans Reiser announced on December 21, 2006, that he was going to sell Namesys;[18] as of March 26, 2008, it had not been sold, although the website was unavailable. In January 2008, Edward Shishkin, an employee of and programmer for Namesys, was quoted in a CNET interview saying, "Commercial activity of Namesys has stopped." Shishkin and others continued the development of Reiser4,[19] making source code available from Shishkin's web site,[20] later relocated to[21] Since 2008, Namesys employees have received 100% of their sponsored funding from DARPA.[22][23][24]

In 2010, Phoronix wrote that Edward Shishkin was exploring options to get Reiser4 merged into Linux kernel mainline.[25] As of 2019, the file system is still being updated for new kernel releases, but has not been submitted for merging.[3] In 2015, Michael Larabel mentioned it is unlikely to happen without corporate backing,[26] and then he suggested in April 2019 that the main obstacle could be the renaming of Reiser4 to avoid reference to the initial author who was convicted of murder.[3]

Shishkin announced a Reiser5 filesystem on December 31, 2019.[27]

See also


  1. ^ "Credits - Reiser4 FS Wiki". Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  2. ^ Documentation/filesystems/reiser4.txt from a reiser4-patched kernel source, "By default file in reiser4 have 64-bit timestamps."
  3. ^ a b c d e Larabel, Michael (2019-04-13). "Reiser4 Brought To The Linux 5.0 Kernel - Phoronix". Phoronix. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "Ten Features You Will Not Find in the Mainline Linux 4.10 Kernel - Phoronix".
  6. ^ "Reiser4 transaction models". Reiser4 wiki.
  7. ^ "Reiser4 checksums". Reiser4 wiki.
  8. ^ "Reiser4 Mirrors and Failover". Reiser4 wiki.
  9. ^ "Precise Discard". Reiser4 wiki.
  10. ^ "Reiser4 discard support". Reiser4 wiki.
  11. ^ Reiser, Hans (2004-09-16). "Re: Benchmark: ext3 vs reiser4 and effects of fragmentation". Namesys, ReiserFS mailing list. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  12. ^ Hans Reiser (November 20, 2003). "Benchmarks Of ReiserFS Version 4". Namesys. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  13. ^ Justin Piszcz (January 2006). "Benchmarking Filesystems Part II". Retrieved 2006-04-23.
  14. ^ Michael Larabel (July 31, 2013). "Reiser4 File-System Shows Decent Performance On Linux 3.10". Phoronix. Retrieved 2013-07-31.
  15. ^ "Reiser4 file system for Linux OS - Browse Files at". Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  16. ^ "Linux: Why Reiser4 Is Not in the Kernel". Kerneltrap. September 19, 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-04-23.
  17. ^ Reiser, Hans (21 July 2006). "The "'official' point of view" expressed by regarding reiser4 inclusion". Retrieved 2008-03-01.
  18. ^ "Murder Suspect Selling Namesys". Wired News. 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  19. ^ Namesys vanishes, but ReiserFS project lives on. Archived 2008-09-05 at the Wayback Machine CNet (January 16, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-01-26.
  20. ^ "Namesys things". Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  21. ^ New location of Namesys software Linux Kernel Mailing List post, 2008-08-04
  22. ^ "Re: we got the DARPA grant to add views to Reiser4". 2004-04-10. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  23. ^ "Bug 114785 – reiserfs won't mount with usrquota option". Red Hat Bugzilla.
  24. ^ "Reports - ext3 or ReiserFS? Hans Reiser Says Red Hat's Move Is Understandable - Red Hat's Decision is Conservative, Not Radical". LinuxPlanet. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  25. ^ "Reiser4 May Go For Mainline Inclusion In 2010". Phoronix. 2009-11-10. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  26. ^ Michael Larabel (23 February 2015). "KDBUS & Other Features You Won't Find In The Linux 4.0 Kernel". Phoronix.
  27. ^ "[ANNOUNCE] Reiser5 (Format Release 5.X.Y)". Linux Weekly News. 2019-12-31.