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According to police in Oakland Calif., Nina Reiser, the estranged wife of well-known open-source programmer Hans Reiser, has been missing since Sept. 3. Hans Reiser (pictured here) is the founder of Namesys and creator and primary developer of the highly popular ReiserFS Linux filesystem.

The ReiserFS filesystem, while its lastest version Reiser4 is not part of the Linux kernel, is well-regarded for its outstanding performance. Consequently, these days, Reiser4 is almost always an option in commercial and community Linux distributions, and is the default for some.

Bay Area news reports state that "Police have still not been able to contact Hans Reiser since Sept. 5 to speak with him about his wife's disappearance. Police believe he is the last person to have seen his wife before she was reported missing on Sept. 4."

Hans Reiser's attorney, William Dubois, has denied that Mr. Reiser was avoiding the police. "I've called police several times during the week and offered to make the client available and they just blow it off," Dubois reportedly said.

Nina Reiser had dropped off their children at Mr. Reiser's home in Oakland's Montclair area, but never returned to pick them up. Her car was later found abandoned in another part of Montclair, according to reports.

At this time, the police are still treating the matter as a missing person case. Nevertheless, according to the San Jose Mercury News, Oakland police have searched Mr. Reiser's house and have used a cadaver dog in their search. Mr. Reiser has not been named a suspect in the case.

The Reisers were married in 1999 but had separated by 2004. The divorce, which has not been finalized, has been a bitter affair. Custody of their two children had reportedly also become a major issue.

The legal costs, and the low rewards from open-source programming, had also been upsetting Mr. Reiser. In a 2005 email conversation, he wrote, "Free software is not a good way to make money. We as a society don't create rewards for it. We could, but we don't. We could create a system in which hardware was taxed and the users allocated the taxes to the software they use, and that would fix the problem."

"So, when I go to conferences, and people say odd things like 'It is an honor to meet you.,' doing free software is great, but in the Alameda County courts, if you don't have money, you are s***," he added.

Their children are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Michael Robertson's MP3.com was one of the original financing companies for ReiserFS and his Linux company, Linspire, has remained a strong sponsor for ReiserFS.

Kevin Carmony, CEO of Linspire, said, "Hans is a brilliant guy, and has been a real asset to Linux with his work on ReiserFS. I certainly hope this all resolves well, but I'm not getting a very good feeling about it."

Linux-Watch has tried to reach Mr. Reiser but has been unable to contact him.

Anyone with information concerning Nina Reiser is asked to call Oakland police at 510-777-3333 or a special tip line at 510-637-0298.