Monday, April 28, 2008

That's One Guilty...Platypus?

Gavel of JusticeThe verdict is in....Hans Reiser, aka The Platypus, has been found guilty of murder in the first degree of his wife, Nina. (Just to clarify, he's not a superhero. The Platypus is not his secret identity that he uses when fighting crime. Or predators trying to steal eggs from this mammal who lays them. The Platypus is in reference to his defense attorney's closing arguments in which he likened Hans to a platypus. Both weird, both odd, both allegedly didn't kill their wife. The real platypus, however, will not be spending at least the next 25 years in jail.)

Hans wasn't looking so great when he was in the courtroom. Yeah, he looked like he was about to vomit. (Hey, I would too if I knew that my future rested in the hands of 12 men and women who just heard my lawyer, over three days, tell them that I was a platypus. I'd probably be expelling fluids in more ways than just the vomit-in-ous kind.) His tie and his collar were on all funny looking. Hmmm...I guess a platypus wouldn't know or care what his tie nor his collar looked like. Here's a pic of a somewhat nauseous looking and slightly disheveled Hans

Yeah, I've seen that fashion style sported before. "Fashion style" meaning the not very well put together tie-shirt-jacket combo with the really big knotted, rather loose fitting tie. You can accomplish that look by taking a pre-knotted tie and just yank it on over someone's head to get it on them as quick as possible. Usually used with small boys going to church or other places where you don't get the tie on until the last minute. Also often used in court settings where the defendant is whisked into the courtroom from jail with not a lot of time to primp before his fate is read aloud. He doesn't look well.

Reiser's attorney, William DuBois (the father of the platypus-ian defense, a tactic that is sure to be questioned studied for years (or at least hours) to come.) responded to questions about his reaction to the jury's verdict by saying, "We're disappointed, but we're not completely surprised." (No, you really couldn't be, could you? Not after Hans' antic filled 11 days on the witness stand that resulted in his own attorney calling him an "asshole" at least five times one day. Granted, it was to "clarify" a point Hans had made, but you could tell there was a bit of joy every time DuBois repeated something to the effect of, "So you're saying you're an asshole?" )

Even still, DuBois didn't think that having his platypus client take the stand was the problem. Well, not the entire problem. "It's not one thing, it's a series of things." (Now that's about the most accurate statement that you'll hear all day. Possibly all week. And it's only Monday.) "They misread him and didn't give a lot of stock to his disorder. ("Disorder" referring to his social ineptitude.) I'm sure he negatively impressed the jurors." (Well, he negatively impressed everyone else, including the judge who , at one point, told him, "Mr. Reiser, I have about had it with you. You are rude. You are arrogant. There's not enough words in the English language to describe the way you are. You have made a mockery of everything about this proceeding. If you continue to disrupt the courtroom, I will have you removed from this courtroom." Yeah, so I don't see why the jurors would be excluded from being negatively impressed.)

Both DuBois and Paul Hora, the prosecutor, spoke with the jurors after the verdict. (The jurors weren't interviewed, but I don't think that they could have been. At least, not until the sentencing part is done. I have the feeling that they'll be giving their very honest opinions about Hans when they do.) Hora told a group of reporters after the verdict, "We have a body; we just don't know where it is." Wait. What? I think he's been listening to Hans for too long. (During his closing arguments, Hora had told the jury during that, "He's got motive coming out of his ears." I found that to be an interesting way of putting it. He's just oozing motive. Yep, right out of the auditory orifices. Motive out the ears.)

Hans was ordered to be removed from the courtroom immediately after the verdict was read. As Hans didn't act up or do anything else to get himself removed (very unlike him. Must have still been a little stunned), I'd have to say it was an anticipatory move. As a bailiff grabbed his arm, Reiser said, "I've been the best father that I know how." (Um, Hans, if you killed your wife and that's the best you know how, you might want to get a parenting book or something. I really think that "murder" as "parenting" could be improved upon.) His next statement was, "Can I speak to my attorney?" At that moment, he couldn't. You're not going to be getting your way for a while, Hans. Better get used to it.

The next question in light of the verdict, aside from how long ol' Hans gets to spend in the slammer (The minimum is 25 years. What happens to a platypus after 25 years in jail? I don't know either, but it can't be pretty.), is what happens to Reiser4. Yes, Reiser4. It's a software file system that Hans named after himself (naturally). ReiserFS (File System) is built into the Linux kernel and is used in many of the top Linux distributions. (I don't know what that means. Whizzy-whirls built-in Linus zorbt thwogs, that's what I heard.) Reiser4 is the successor the ReiserFS, but without Hans, it's either not happening or it's going to have to be taken over by others (who say that it's just not the same without ol' Hans and I can believe that. That's probably the 2nd most true statement you'll hear all day. And it's still Monday!).

And when you read quotes from some of the programmers that knew Hans and had to work with him, you get a feeling that the guy that you saw/read about in the courtroom was a pretty accurate depiction of the guy himself. Ted Ts'o is a top Linux kernel developer and works on the file systems that compete with Reiser's. His impression of Hans is that "he is a talented programmer whose work was overshadowed by his temperment." Go on.... “Hans was not the easiest person to work with and and it’s ironic that by having some of these folks (those working on the Reiser4, sans Hans) interacting with the Linux community it allows Reiser4 to make more of a focus toward mainline inclusion simply because Hans was his own worst enemy and had questionable social skills. Hans was technically brilliant, but socially not at quite the same level.” (Correct, 3rd and 4th most true statements you'll read all day. Correct again - still Monday.)

Stay tuned for what may be the final installment of this odd, odd story where a human and an egg laying mammal become intertwined as one in a saga of murder, deception and justice. Or maybe just keep an eye out for "The Platypus Goes To Prison".

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