International Space Station adopts Debian Linux, drops Windows & Red Hat into airlock

It’s nothing to do with Windows 8 and the lack of a ‘Start’ button (or orb) at all.

But reports from the Linux Foundation confirm that the International Space Station’s (ISS) laptop installation is to drop Windows into the airlock in favour of a new deployment of Linux for its machines.


Manager of the Space Operations Computing (SpOC) for NASA Keith Chuvala is on the record saying, “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.”

Laptops on the International Space Station’s serve a large number of users in groups known as “constellations”…

Previously, some of the Space Station’s machines has run Scientific Linux, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone.

… the astronauts will now move to using Debian 6 — while Debian 7 is already available, the team will run “one release back” for reasons relating to stability and strength.

Along with this laptop installation, Chuvala’s team is also working on Robonaut (R2).

Designed to take over some of the astronaut’s responsibilities, R2 will be the first humanoid robot in space.

Running on Linux, the robot can be manipulated by onboard astronauts with ground controllers commanding it into position and performing operations.

The Linux Foundation has said that it will help NASA developers ensure that R2 can be a productive addition to the ISS. Still in the fine-tuning phase, R2 will eventually carry out tasks too dangerous or mundane for astronauts in microgravity.

“Things really clicked after we came to understand how Linux views the world, the interconnectedness of how one thing affects another. You need that worldview. I have quite a bit of Linux experience, but to see others who were really getting it, that was exciting,” said Chuvala.

In space, no one can hear you scream at the Windows 8 Metro screen.



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I’d just like to interject for a moment. What you’re refering to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/LInux, or as I’ve recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX. Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called “Linux”, and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project. There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine’s resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called “Linux” distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.
Well, i dont agree with your rage... You can cross-compile almost every "gnu" package into windows (cygwin) or osx. And actually its the kernel and its well defined rules that make sure the system is stable. Also, when ppl talk about linux(and i mean normal ppl, not some nerds that like to get into stupid discussions instead of being happy with this great news) they generally talk about all that made linux great, not just the kernel. This includes GNU, APACHE, GCC, Distro makers, user support, android, etc... So just be happy with the win... don't make the news about some stupid detail no one even knows about.
Linux was a reliable choice back in late 1990s.  It still is today.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised it took them that long.

Maybe a new OS paradigm will come up in the next decade having to do with more AI driven mechanisms that is not full of disease (spies, worms, viruses, sabotage, manipulation, addiction, attacks) like current corporate AI platforms (smartphones, Google, Apple, etc.).  Until then, Linux is an easy reliable choice.