NASA dumps Windows.

  LastChip 13:24 08 May 2013

NASA are taking the bold step of replacing laptops on the International Space Station with Linux based machines - Debian, a long favourite of mine.

To quote: "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."

The full report can be found here

What I find really interesting here, is not so much the replacement is happening (although that in itself is significant), but that it took NASA scientists (some of the best brains in the world) so long to understand just how powerful the system is.

Perhaps I'm ahead of my time ;-)

  Forum Editor 13:42 08 May 2013

" took NASA scientists (some of the best brains in the world) so long to understand just how powerful the system is."

It's not a question of 'dumping Windows' or of power - there will still be lots of Windows machines at NASA, and the routines that run on the space station itself are fairly low-tech in computing terms. Neither is it a totally new direction as far as the Space Station is concerned. Linux has been running on it since the day it was launched

The switch to Debian 6 is specifically so that the space station laptops can run an open-source operating system which NASA can adapt at will to suit the needs of the various scientific experiments that are conducted. These change at intervals, and NASA obviously can't start tinkering with the Windows code. Debian is known to be extremely reliable, and it will allow them to tweak and patch as they see fit, secure in the knowledge that if they break anything they can just start again.

Seems like a sensible approach to me.

  fourm member 16:06 08 May 2013

So, when I thought 'How are they going to take those super pictures of earth?' I'd misunderstood the title of the thread?

  Forum Editor 16:08 08 May 2013

It's an understandable mistake.

  spuds 11:33 09 May 2013

Well off subject, but I recall NASA sending out a world-wide plea for floppy disks to keep certain systems working. Nasa even offered to buy these, as their usual sources had dried up ;o)

  natdoor 11:45 09 May 2013

"It's an understandable mistake".

Not when Windows starts with a capital letter!

  Aitchbee 17:34 09 May 2013

A simple [human] computer error [goof] crept into this NASA Mars Exploration Spacecraft back in 1999.

Accidents will [always] happen.

  interzone55 19:58 09 May 2013

I doubt NASA were unaware of the "power" of Linux, as they run some of the biggest super computers in the world, which generally run on Linux of one kind or another

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