While Novell might not be the most popular company in the Linux world today, it’s still a very good way to gauge what’s going on in the Linux community. Their latest OpenSUSE release, OpenSUSE 10.2, has a number of new features – X.Org 7.2rc2, redesigned KDE and GNOME desktops, Firefox 2.0, etc. – as well as one massive change: the deprecation of ReiserFS in favor of ext3 as the default file system.
This change is important for a number of reasons. While Reiser4 has yet to really make inroads into too many distributions, ReiserFS (also known as ReiserFS 3.x) is commonly found in almost every major distribution currently available to the masses. However, a number of issues have arisen that are making several distributions choose other filesystem paths; ReiserFS has been declared a maintenance branch, meaning that there will be no new features added to the 3.x line. With other filesystems are constantly making changes to their code, the code for ReiserFS is, for lack of a better term, stagnating.
So what will this mean for ReiserFS in general? I don’t forsee Novell as being the only company to view ReiserFS as being an outdated idea. Reiser4 hasn’t managed to convince enough people as to its stability and usefulness, so don’t expect to see distributions include it for the next couple of years or so. Ext2/ext3/ext4 seems to be the way to go now; more and more distributions are returning to this tried-and-true filesystem in order to allow for the most stable releases possible. So, unless Resier4 starts to prove itself as a stable, friendly, powerful alternative, I would expect to see ReiserFS/Reiser4 disappear sooner rather than later.