The United Space Alliance has decided to stop using all Windows computers aboard the ISS, in favour of Linux — to ensure it’s systems are “stable and reliable”. Ouch.
The decision will see “dozens of laptops” change from running Windows XP to Debian 6, reports Extreme Tech. There are already Linux systems aboard the ISS, but from this point on Microsoft is banned. Keith Chuvala of the United Space Alliance has explained that the move to Linux will provide “in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could.”
It’s probably a good idea. Back in 2008, a Russian cosmonaut managed to take a laptop to the ISS that spread the W32.Gammima.AG worm to all the other laptops aboard the station. Using Linux should make that impossible. The only hitch might be switching all the current, Windows-based software — for everything from viewing stock inventory to carrying out experiments — to Linux. We just hope they don’t use WINE. [Extreme Tech]