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Hans Reiser is the creator of the Linux file system ReiserFS, and a convicted murderer. In 2006 he murdered his wife. He was convicted in 2008.
Reiser's defense -- the so called geek defense -- was that as a geek, and possibly on account of Aspergers Syndrome, he did not understand that his actions in the aftermath of Nina Reiser's disappearance would look like attempts to cover up a murder. When asked if he was "dysfunctional in every social setting" by his defense attorney, he said "Except in being a scientist". This is an extreme case of He's just like that: an attempt to excuse anti-social behaviour because geeks can't help behaving that way.
The trial and conviction took place before Nina Reiser's body was found, and in many forums members of the open source community and other technical communities defended his innocence. However, in July 2008 he revealed the location of Nina's body to law enforcement in return for a plea bargain and only at this time did belief in Reiser's innocence stop being a widespread stance.
Early coverage Edit
From before the trial and during early stages of it.
- Hans Reiser: once a Linux visionary, now accused of murder (Wired)
- Reiser is Innocent blog (most active in 2007)
Later coverage Edit
From the late stages of the trial and after conviction.
- "His other defense is the so-called geek defense: Any guilt-ridden behavior he may have displayed in the aftermath of her disappearance was a manifestation of him being a socially inept computer geek devoid of social skills."
- "You may dislike him--that would put you in the majority of people who know him--but he didn't commit the crime," Du Bois said, adding that the jury need look no further than this video presented in court of Reiser giving a seminar at Google headquarters about his file system to see he's a "genuine nerd," according to news accounts
- Hans Reiser and the Aspergers Defense: Troubling (Autism Vox)
- "The whole case is plenty troubling on its own. But seeing Asperger’s so readily equated with being “mentally incompetent” or having a “mental disorder” or being “nuts” is incredibly troubling"