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International Space Station to boldly go with Linux over Windows
The Telegraph ^ | 3:13PM BST 10 May 2013 | By Joel Gunter

Posted on 05/12/2013 8:16:39 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion

"Computers aboard the International Space Station are to be switched from Windows XP to the Linux operating system in an attempt to improve stability and reliability.

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: linux; windows
Money Sentence:

“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," "

1 posted on 05/12/2013 8:16:39 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable”

Sorry. I just had to post this quote again.

“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable”

Yea. It felt good to post what I’ve always known...

“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable”

heh, heh


2 posted on 05/12/2013 8:17:51 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international, gone independent. Gone.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

and Windows XP has less than a year of support left


3 posted on 05/12/2013 8:19:24 AM PDT by molson209
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Umm... it’s WINDOWS XP! Windows XP, even x64, doesn’t natively support newer hardware, and with all of the kernel patching that’s been done over the years to “fix vulnerabilities,” I’m surprised the damn OS even boots. It’s been revealed that over 95% of the original XP kernel is now closed, leaving very small areas exposed for crucial system functionality. The Server 2003/Vista/Win7/8 kernel is completely encapsulated and thus more stable and secure than XP ever was or will be.

That being said, I applaud space agencies going over to Linux, but I’d be wary knowing that Linux requires a completely different set of support skills over Windows. I hope they have the technical resources to backup this change.


4 posted on 05/12/2013 8:25:16 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: molson209

Why would they be running critical systems on a desktop OS. That is crazy. That being said 2008R2 is every bit as reliable as Linux. Patching and maintaining patching is easier too.


5 posted on 05/12/2013 8:26:53 AM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

any one who writes software FOR A LIVING (like I do0 know and has always known that Linux is a superior operating system, it is just not user-friendly as windows and not in as many locations, and people pay me to wrote to windows.

I never could understand the Linux Zealots who need to do the victory dance any time someone says Linux is better.

It’s OK anyone who does this professionally knows this! but you are NOT going to get grandma to install the latest unbunto distro in order to get email pictures of her grandkids.

Most of the “open source” fanatics I have known (”free software for all!”) are also flaming libtards, who work on their own pet open-source ‘free’ Linux products while getting paid on some one else’s time.


6 posted on 05/12/2013 8:29:38 AM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
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To: rarestia

I imagine they do have the support skills - and that there will be less support needed. Whole countries have switched over the years, so the way is certainly paved.


7 posted on 05/12/2013 8:29:58 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international, gone independent. Gone.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

What? Can’t the just close and open windows if they have a problem?


8 posted on 05/12/2013 8:31:19 AM PDT by null and void (America needs to be led by warriors not by lawyers)
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To: Mr. K

Mr. K,
I think your comments are generally spot on.

Still, Windows is a target rich environment... I’m glad some of the money it generates goes to conservatives before Gates spends the profits on liberal causes. At least you siphon some off for good things.


9 posted on 05/12/2013 8:32:30 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international, gone independent. Gone.)
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To: Durus
Why would they be running critical systems on a desktop OS. That is crazy.

The US Navy ran (and for all I know, still runs) warships on Windows NT.

10 posted on 05/12/2013 8:33:18 AM PDT by null and void (America needs to be led by warriors not by lawyers)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Well duh! Wouldn’t be a good omen for a space station to be running a computer system that crashes all the time.


11 posted on 05/12/2013 8:33:50 AM PDT by diverteach (If I find liberals in heaven after my death.....I WILL BE PISSED!!!)
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To: diverteach

Can you imagine the blue screen of death locking your computer while hurtling through space? Or the MS support guy in india telling you it is time to reinstall the operating system, while you attempt to control a small living environment in space?

“Oh, yes! If you have not reinstalled the system in a year, it is most certainly time. I will walk you through it...”


12 posted on 05/12/2013 8:36:54 AM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion (Gone rogue, gone Galt, gone international, gone independent. Gone.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

The bottom line is that off the shelf software like Windows has far too much junk that they don’t want and need, but Linux can be tailor made.

The great lesson came with I believe one of the Voyager missions, that had only a tiny computer with 64K of RAM. NASA had to completely rewrite its operating system several times, while it was in flight, trying to get every possible bit of functionality out of it.

A “blue screen of death”, even once, could be disastrous, and there is no possibility of rewriting Windows enroute, so add it all up, and Linux is the way to go.

Importantly, this will not be the common version of Linux at all, and they will be constantly jiggering and testing new versions for stability back on Earth, long before there are any updates to active spacecraft or probes.


13 posted on 05/12/2013 8:43:43 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at rantburg.com)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

If they really needed a stable environment they wouldn’t be using Linux but an RTOS like Integrity, something certified as perfectly stable, not some hackers tool like Linux.

This is just some engineers personal preference.


14 posted on 05/12/2013 8:47:20 AM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: null and void

I don’t think the space station has windows or at least ones that can be opened.


15 posted on 05/12/2013 8:57:59 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

Bingo.


16 posted on 05/12/2013 9:10:43 AM PDT by null and void (The motto of all liberals is "With your guilt and your gelt we can get away with anything!")
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To: ShadowAce; Ernest_at_the_Beach; SunkenCiv

17 posted on 05/12/2013 9:24:29 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: aMorePerfectUnion

Sorry but this does not make sense on a practical or safety factor. I could see the change if the original software was Windows 8 or even 7 but changing from a rock solid XP doesn’t make sense. Especially since most known instances of instability were on systems running multiple disparate programs, internet browsers and sprinkled with a plethora of divergent hardware drivers.

The Space Station in comparison is a virtually closed system with an extremely restricted hardware spec sheet and one that doesn’t visit porn sites.

Changing a software system now is like permitting someone to interrupt me when I pack for a two week vacation. Invariably something gets forgotten, overlooked or wrongly packed.

I am not an IT but I play one in my business everyday.


19 posted on 05/12/2013 10:08:31 AM PDT by Cyman
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
I feel good,...I made the choice before the smart guys running the space station.

A large number of the supercomputers around the globe run Linux....most of those that don't use various versions of Unix.

20 posted on 05/12/2013 10:15:43 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ((The Global Warming Hoax was a Criminal Act....where is Al Gore?))
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
"Still, Windows is a target rich environment... "

Oh absolutely!!! I hate Windows 8 with a burning passion generally reserved for liberal causes that are promoted in the face of overwhelming evidence that they don't work.

I would like to PERSONALLY beat the crap out of whoever at Microsoft decided to FORCE the "Metro UI" on users who are not on a tablet. I have lost about 3 weeks of production (and contract pay at 75/hr) over this P.O.S

21 posted on 05/12/2013 10:37:41 AM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion

Really depends on the types of systems they’re going to run. If it’s for data gathering and analysis applications then this is a perfectly fine decision, although it matters little.

IF you’re talking about safety critical applications that’s entirely different. In that case, it’s an awful decision. You need a safety critical Real Time OS (RTOS) like Integrity or VxWorks (or VxWorks 653 for really safety oriented apps, like flight management). They’re used where “life and limb” levels of reliability are needed.

So it depends on the application if this is a good decision or not. That said, I know NASA has used VxWorks in the past, they understand the difference between OS’s.


22 posted on 05/12/2013 11:01:15 AM PDT by fuzzylogic (welfare state = sharing consequences of poor moral choices among everybody)
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To: Cyman
Sorry but this does not make sense on a practical or safety factor. I could see the change if the original software was Windows 8 or even 7 but changing from a rock solid XP doesn’t make sense.

It all depends on what they'd have change TO. Microsoft pushes Win8 now, and it removed Win7 from the shelves. Whatever remains now at TigerDirect and other resellers is just old stock. It will eventually run out, and then what do you do, as NASA, if you need more copies for new or replacement hardware?

There is yet another problem - licensing. Windows, starting with Vista, introduced online licensing. On ISS you would have to keep a separate server to run KMS on. This is a single point of failure, and it's ridiculous on a space station anyway (and in most industrial settings too.) Linux does not require licensing.

Yet another problem is in custom drivers. amd64 builds require drivers to be signed by Microsoft, or you have to hold F8 during boot-up and select an option that disables this check for this session only. This is ridiculous. NASA may have tens of custom drivers, to operate all kinds of special devices on ISS. Windows XP was more liberal; you write the driver, and it loads. Starting with Vista, that had been intentionally broken. NASA cannot afford to go through MS's process of signing drivers - that process is designed for consumer hardware, and it may be completely unusable if your hardware is unique.

Changing a software system now is like permitting someone to interrupt me when I pack for a two week vacation.

It was Microsoft who decided to pull the plug on WinXP. So the decision had been made for NASA. You cannot run an unsupported OS on ISS - and note that for one computer on ISS there is a hundred on the ground. Can you tell the astronauts "The software that I sent you installs and works on my copy of Win8, and I can't help you if your WinXP says "msfghegr11.dll is not found?" Those guys don't need excuses, they need solutions that work.

Once you have to migrate, you then have to choose Windows or Linux. (I guess Mac is not an option because of installed hardware.) Windows 8 is a work in progress; Microsoft already is sending signals that Windows Blue will undo some of Win8 misfeatures, and will double down on others. How can NASA, or anyone else to that matter, bet the farm on software that even the manufacturer has no roadmap for? Linux has such a roadmap, even though it has no CEO who'd make those decisions. You like Plasma desktop, for example? Grab a copy and keep it, it's now yours for as long as you like. Need updates? They are available; in the worst case they'd come from you. But there is no dead end. Even the oldest Linux software can be ran, if you need to.

Someone mentioned RTOS. I'm sure NASA heard about those :-) However they are poorly suited for general purpose computing. They are designed to run one specific machine, and that is it. For example, your microwave may be operated by an RTOS. Some versions can be loaded onto a PC, but they are hard to use, and they are very insecure - by design. They sacrifice process isolation for performance, for example. In Windows and Linux processes cannot see each other's memory. In an RTOS they can; and failure of one program can kill the entire computer, just like it was in the days of Windows 3.1. They have no virtual memory either; and many RTOS don't even have a user interface.

23 posted on 05/12/2013 11:29:23 AM PDT by Greysard
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To: Mr. K

“I would like to PERSONALLY beat the crap out of whoever at Microsoft decided to FORCE the “Metro UI” on users who are not on a tablet”

Hey, take a number! I’m number 16,345,897!


24 posted on 05/12/2013 2:05:08 PM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: Greysard

“In an RTOS they can”

Um, no. The very purpose of an RTOS is to segment processes from each other.


25 posted on 05/12/2013 2:06:28 PM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: Greysard

“They have no virtual memory either”

Actually they do but it is an optional module to load. None of mine have virtual memory as I design the system and not just hack on it until something appears on the screen like typical developers do.


26 posted on 05/12/2013 2:07:50 PM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: martin_fierro

:’)


27 posted on 05/12/2013 2:35:04 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: Mister Tea

“In space, no-one can hear your [blue] screen [of death]”


28 posted on 05/12/2013 5:26:36 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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