If there is one thing about the crew on the International Space Station, it is that they use a lot of laptops. The crew up there consists of only six members but they have around 140 laptops up there. That equates to around 23 laptops per person. What’s even more surprising is that at least 80 of the laptops are in use at any given moment.
Up till now, the ISS crew was quite happy with their laptops that were powered by Windows XP. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that Microsoft is discontinuing support for XP in the near future. Apart from that, XP is an older version of the Windows OS, with Windows 7 and 8 having been released since.
As it turns out, the crew at the ISS has lost interest in Microsoft completely. This time around, they have opted to go for Debian-powered laptops. This means the open source platform Linux becomes their operating system of choice. Linux was already being used on the ISS, but not by a human. The R2 Robonaut runs on Linux as well.
The crew has been trained, briefed and educated about the Debian 6 OS that they are going to use from now on. The system has been deployed and is now being used to power the laptops the crew is going to use up there. So, for once, the ISS crew can stop moaning about the drawbacks of using Windows up there, when it is quite clear that most of their equipment problems are caused by broken screens.
For Linux, it is a journey to infinity and beyond.
[Image via rowetel]