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In space, no-one can hear you scream at Windows XP anymore


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#1 TsVk!

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 06:37 PM

I’m a little late in my reporting, but this year, in May, the International Space Station (ISS) dumped the last of its laptop installations of the Windows XP operating system to go all Linux.

Furthermore, it dropped Red Hat Linux in favour of Debian 6, according to the Linux Foundation, which provided two training courses geared specifically for the USA/NASA team’s needs.

They are rocket scientists. Of course they "get" Linux

The ISS runs a large laptop network called "opsLAN", which is critical for day-to-day operations. Astronauts run the station through their laptops: controlling systems, performing inventory, accessing the still and video cameras, and even figuring out their location.

They also do programming, and they need to be able to do as much of their own system maintenance and repair as possible because physical tech support is some 400 kilometres away on Earth. The ISS will also soon play host to the Linux-driven Robonaut 2 (R2) humanoid robot.

For all those reasons, Keith Chuvala made the decision to switch to Linux. Chuvala works for the United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor deeply involved in ISS operations. Chuvala is manager of Space Operations Computing (SpOC) for NASA and heads the ISS laptops and network integration teams, responsible for writing, installing, and maintaining software on the ISS 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. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could.

Some of the space station’s laptops were already running Scientific Linux, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but Chuvala decided to standardize all laptops on Debian Linux, always staying one version back for stability, so that meant starting with version 6, known as "Squeeze".

The Linux Foundation’s news release doesn’t brag about the superior security of Linux over Windows, and certainly over XP, but it had to be one of the considerations that went into making the switch.

Computer virus goes where no virus has gone before

Lots of sci-fi films have featured a spaceship crew falling victim to a space-borne virus; back in 2008, a virus really did get aboard the International Space Station. It was just a Windows computer virus, but next time, who knows?

Earlier this year, Eugene Kaspersky, of Kaspersky Labs antivirus fame, revealed at the National Press Club in Canberra, Australia, that back in 2008 Russian cosmonauts unwittingly brought malware aboard the ISS, which infected at least two of the station’s networked laptops.

The then–Windows XP–based laptops on the ISS were infected with a password-stealing virus called Gammima.AG, or Trojan-GameThief.Win32.Magania, after a cosmonaut brought a compromised laptop aboard and spread the malware via flash drive.

NASA officials described the computer infection as more of a mysterious nuisance than a real problem.

"It’s not a frequent occurrence, but this isn’t the first time," a NASA spokesperson said at the time.

Stanley Q. WoodvineI



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#2 Animal

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 11:16 AM

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#3 Stolen

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 06:01 PM

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#4 battyhippie

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 10:34 AM

I am quite sure that someone out there is listening to me scream, shaking their "heads", and wondering how this (meaning me) human can be so vapid...



#5 TsVk!

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:49 PM

You planning on being in the group that keeps XP past 8 April?



#6 battyhippie

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 10:59 PM

Oh no TsVk!, I'm not that crazy...saving my pennies for a new 'puter. More than likely go with Win8, heck I never learned XP so 8 shouldn't  bother me like it seems to bother others. But I will wait till next year cause...I'm waiting for Win9...



#7 TsVk!

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:03 PM

Try Linux Mint 16, free and very user friendly (windowsesque)... Learning curve is less than a day.

 

Will run on your XP machine too, better than XP.



#8 Union_Thug

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 07:42 AM

Try Linux Mint 16... Learning curve is less than a day.

 

Now admittedly I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier but I installed Mint on a VM...took me 2 days just to install VMWare Tools... Learning the file structure is an ongoing ordeal... Applets in the "taskbar" were non responsive so I searched for 3 days how to fix before throwing my hands up in defeat & re-installed.  Finally got around to installing it on an old Dell Inspiron 2200-- dual boot w/XP-- took me about a week to find the right wireless driver & another 2 days or so to find the right commands to install it... :blush:

Thanks, but no thanks :nono:



#9 TsVk!

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 04:10 PM

Wow, I had such a different experience.

 

I use Debian myself, and have been trying to get my wife to move to Linux for years. Most of my response had been filled with bewildered looks and silence. Then I was trying out new distros for some non essential machines here at work and found Mint. I brought in one of our old laptops, loaded it up... and it worked, without even having to load a driver. The interface was intuitive and easy compared to every OS I'd ever come across, and there was a pop up box with basic tutorials to help the beginner get along. Sure the filing system is different to Windows, as it is not Windows. BUT, the user data files are identical to Windows in the new Mint so documents, music, pictures etc. are just where my wife expected them to be.

 

I think it is a little effort in the short term, for a lot of reward in the long.



#10 battyhippie

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 12:25 PM

TsVk!

 

Around 2009, when I found this wonderful site, I was flying around the Linux site cause it had my interest. I did not do anything with it because the only computer we had was my son's and to change that at the time was not feasible with him being in school and needing it. Hum...I forgot all about that possiblity...

 

Now I still am going to get a new computer...just because I do have, with my son, a tiny business and do need a computer...but yeah, you got batty thinkin' lincoln on this and it is a good way to learn without messing everything up...plus when one really wants to scream...you can just walk away...

 

Thanks for one great suggestion, Tsvk!






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