Penguins in spa-a-a-ce!

That is just too good a title not to enthuse about! Even though this is ‘just’ a little incremental tidbit of spacefaring news, the previously unnoticed and no-fanfare note by the Linux Foundation for giving training to United Space Alliance seems to have suddenly hit the big headlines. Enjoy:

The Register: Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could,”

ExtremeTech: International Space Station switches from Windows to Linux, for improved reliability

… we shouldn’t be too surprised at the ditching of Windows. Linux is the scientific community’s operating system of choice. CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is controlled by Linux. NASA and SpaceX ground stations use Linux. DNA-sequencing lab technicians use Linux. Really, for applications that require absolute stability, which most scientific experiments are, Linux is the obvious choice. The fact that the entire OS is open source and can be easily customized for each experiment is obviously a very big draw, too. …

ZDNet: To the space station and beyond with Linux

… no other operating system is as flexible as Linux. From supercomputers to robots to desktops, NASA is finding that Linux is the answer.


… And how long has all this been creeping up upon us?… Check out an old article from Bruce Perens from way back in 1997:

New Computer Operating System Rides Space Shuttle

A radically different new computer operating system is controlling an experiment on a Space Shuttle mission in late March…

Penguins go orbital indeed!! 🙂

1 comment to Penguins in spa-a-a-ce!

  • Martin L

    Oooer… Looks like that bit of spaced-out news was sensationalized one small step into too giant a leap! A more restrained but still a very positive update explains:

    H-Online: International Space Station to use Linux on more laptops

    … United Space Alliance, one of NASA’s IT contractors, has migrated several laptop computers used on the International Space Station (ISS) from Windows XP to Debian 6. Apparently, the computers are part of the OpsLAN network…

    … “We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control,” says United Space Alliance employee Keith Chuvala in an interview with the Linux Foundation. However, reports by several blogs and technology news web sites that all Windows installations on the ISS were replaced completely seem to be incorrect … Chuvala explains: “Yes, we do use Linux on ISS and are expanding its use across our systems. However, we have not, nor will we in the foreseeable future, ‘dump’ Windows.” …

    Another article explains:

    International Space Station incorporating more Linux computers [Updated]

    Acer and Windows 8 may be all over the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness movie, but Linux is actually the go-to platform on the International Space Station these days…

    … In addition to security and reliability, the ISS also requires a more flexible platform that it can adapt on the fly, and one that doesn’t depend on Microsoft schedule for updates (like with Windows Blue). Chuvala said both organizations were interested in an open source operating system like Linux because it would give them in-house control. “So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could [do so]…

    … [Update 5/10/13 9 p.m. EST: We heard from Kieth Chuvala below who said his comments with the Linux Foundation have been misconstrued. The ISS does use Linux as well as Windows, and has no plans to ditch Windows any time soon. …]

    Still good even if a little dulled after the media sensationalism.

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