Insanity 101: Fedora + Reiser4

by davidnielsen

Some might with justified horror remember that I once did a kernel patchset called Love-sources that for some reason got very popular within the Gentoo community (everyone has a deep dark secret – I was once a part of their flock).

One of the things that was a frequent request for that project was Reiser4 support and I did eventually cave. This was before it was even labelled stable by Namesys so on the insanity scale it ranked highly. Today Reiser4 is closer to stablitiy and I figure it might be fun to play with again.

I have been talking to Hans Reiser and Nate Diller (both of Namesys fame) about adding support for the standard xattr interface via their plugin system as that seems to be the biggest missing feature for Reiser4 to be useful on most setups. Nate got very excited and started writing this in his sparetime and I somehow got myself talked into thinking that adding Reiser4 support to Fedora would be a good learning experience.

So I started packaging up the needed tools and doing a bit of patching here and there.

Since I still have to wait for upstream to finish the work on the xattr plugin I have ample time. The outstanding task list looks something like this:

* Patch and package grub so booting off Reiser4 partitions is possible (doing this today, lots of rejects to wiggle)

* Patch and package kernel to add support for Reiser4 (doing this today hopefully, depends on the amount of wiggling I’ll need to do)

* Hack anaconda (I figure I can learn from the reiserfs support implementation)

* Figure out how to respin Fedora ISOs

* Buy straight jacket

I’m doing this to learn so the plan isn’t to release this upon the world, also innocent users might get the idea someone would be supporting this and bother the Fedora developers which wouldn’t be fair at all.