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British Royal Navy Submarines Now Run Windows

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the deep-blue-screen dept.

Windows 725

meist3r writes "On his Government blog, Microsoft's Ian McKenzie announced today that the Royal Navy was ahead of schedule for switching their nuclear submarines to a customized Microsoft Windows solution dubbed 'Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG)' which apparently consists of Windows 2000 network servers and XP workstations. In the article, it is claimed that this decision will save UK taxpayers £22m over the next ten years. The installation of the new system apparently took just 18 days on the HMS Vigilant. According to the BAE Systems press release from 2005, the overall cost of the rollout was £24.5m for all eleven nuclear submarines of the Vanguard, Trafalgar and Swiftsure classes. Talk about staying with the sinking ship."

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725 comments

BSOD (5, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157267)

Blue Submarine of Death

Re:BSOD (5, Funny)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157293)

Having Bliss as a wallpaper below sea level would irritate me a lot.

Re:BSOD (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157591)

Given the fairly legit reasons average tech users have to believe that windows has a few backdoors installed for groups like the NSA to use(whether this is true or not we can't be sure but personally I'd bet on there being a backdoor) that militaries in other countries would have the sense to not use windows on their most expensive assets.

Re:BSOD (0, Troll)

lyml (1200795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157707)

Paranoia
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek, madness, from paranous demented, from para- + nous mind
Date: circa 1811
1 : a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations
2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

Re:BSOD (-1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157301)

How friggin original, you dumb cocksucker?
Windows in a submarine gives bsod?

You've got an iq of 283 -Kelvin, that is- which makes around 10, between an amoeba and pollen.

Now, what about finding the toilets' water pipe, unmounting it and sucking to it until you explode, cretinos?

Re:BSOD (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157491)

Ah, a sensible economy. BTW, guys - I'm not going to be around on /. for a while because I'm moving somewhere really remote and geographically isolated because of this announcement. The thing of it is I'm not sure how I'm going to get Internet as I'll be miles away from the major cities.

I wonder if one of those underground data centres needs a live in admin geek?

Re:BSOD - reliability and Nuclear Deterance (1)

play_in_traffic (946193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157703)

I have read that modeling has shown improved Nuclear Deterrence from having somewhat unreliable systems for nuclear weapons delivery

Re:BSOD (5, Funny)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157747)

Considering it's a customised Windows-based solution, I would hope that they've at least made it the Yellow Submarine of Death.

Re:BSOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157765)

Hopefully they'll have the gall to make it navy blue.

fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157269)

first plank!

How deep? (5, Funny)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157285)

The last time I drove my car into a lake the windows didn't last past 15 feet. Of course my car is American, and those Brits have that funky metric system, so who knows?

(Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week)

Re:How deep? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157441)

... those Brits have that funky metric system, so who knows?

(Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week)

Part of the joke? You know, then, the measurement system used in the US is called the English System for a reason, right? OK, just checking.

Re:How deep? (5, Funny)

Mark Hood (1630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157511)

Actually we call it 'Imperial' units.

Damn colonials are getting uppity again, Ponsenby...

Mark

Re:How deep? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157669)

He was right the first time -- Americans use the imperial system exclusively. In their eyes, we're odd for using the metric system, and in the eyes of continental Europe, we're odd for using the imperial system. We're stuck in the middle in a confusing mess (or with the best of both worlds, depending how you see it.)

Re:How deep? (4, Interesting)

Eudial (590661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157723)

They used to use the English system in the UK, and then the rest of the world caught up with them and they converted to metric. Right now, the countries not using the metric system are: Myanmar, The United States, and Liberia.

Obvious reason (5, Funny)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157291)

The navy liked their version of minesweeper best.

Re:Obvious reason (1, Flamebait)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157547)

That's actually strange, minesweeper is about the only piece of software on Linux that isn't broken after an update - well, most of the 350 versions of minesweeper on Linux that is.

Re:Obvious reason (2, Funny)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157689)

it sounds like you are a real minesweeper consultant. are you a solitaire expert as well?

Re:Obvious reason (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157721)

I've been thinking about moving out of my mums' basement lately... what's the rent like under bridges these days?

Learning from prior mistakes (5, Interesting)

JYD (996651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157305)

Didn't the Brits hear about what happened to the USS Yorktown [wikipedia.org] when they tried Windows as a naval solution. God save the Queen, please.

Re:Learning from prior mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157381)

Wikipedia isn't loading for me right now so I'll assume that someone hacked the navel fleet and made the ultimate battleships and cruisers web mashup.

Re:Learning from prior mistakes (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157453)

They did indeed learn from past mistakes and are remarkably forward-thinking. They made a boat that was doomed to fail miserably, named it the Titanic, and said it was unsinkable. Many years later there was a movie made about it that was a box-office smash hit. They're now seeding an even bigger future movie by making certain that ALL their boats will sink.

Re:Learning from prior mistakes (4, Interesting)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157493)

From 1996 Yorktown was used as the test bed for the Navy's Smart Ship program. The ship was equipped with [...] machines running Windows NT 4.0 [...]

In 21 September 1997 while on maneuvers off the coast of Cape Charles, Virginia, a crew member entered a zero into a database field causing a divide by zero error in the ship's Remote Data Base Manager which brought down all the machines on the network, causing the ship's propulsion system to fail.

Anthony DiGiorgio, a civilian contractor with a 26-year history of working on Navy control systems, reported in 1998 that the Yorktown had to be towed back to Norfolk Naval Station. Ron Redman, a deputy technical director with the Aegis Program Executive Office, backed this claim up, suggesting that such system failures had required Yorktown to be towed back to port several times.

So, how does one tow a submarine?

Re:Learning from prior mistakes (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157733)

with tows, when the submarine is afloat.
for example, an old soviet submarine (k-77) was towed from finland to florida, then to nova scotia and then to rhode island.

Re:Learning from prior mistakes (4, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157497)

Didn't the Brits hear about what happened to the USS Yorktown [wikipedia.org] when they tried Windows as a naval solution. God save the Queen, please.

Perhaps the Brits are smart enough to put user input validation into their applications ?

Re:Learning from prior mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157501)

The Yorktown incident had nothing at all to do with choice of operating systems. It had everything to do with loosers who wrote crappy control software.

Won't work (5, Funny)

this great guy (922511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157307)

I mean who in a sane mind would want windows on a submarine ? It's not like there is anything interesting to see in the darkness of the depths.

Classic title! (4, Funny)

tryfan (235825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157315)

From "Das Boot" to "ReBoot".

Re:Classic title! (2, Funny)

jalet (36114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157447)

Wasn't it U-Boot [wikipedia.org] ?

With Windows aboard, they couldn't find a better name !

Re:Classic title! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157697)

Grand parent:

From "Das Boot" to "ReBoot"

parent:

Wasn't it U-Boot [wikipedia.org] ?

Fig.1: hydrographic map of fun

    A----B----C----D----E----F

1 . , . XX (you)

2

3 . , . , . , . X (The Joke)

U-Boot is what the press calls german subs.
Uboot is what the german navy calls their subs.
Das Boot (The Boat) is what the crew
affectionately calls it's sub.

"Das Boot" was a famous moving picture about a submarine.
ReBoot is what you absolutely don't want to do with your sonar system.

See? No need to correct grand parent. Funny as he was.

You, sir! Yes YOU!- You are an Internet Terrorist! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157603)

Arghh!!
How am I going to explain that those LocoMochaDoubleFrappeEsspressoTripleShots I was TRYING to drink, but ended up splattering across my monitor/keyboard, are NOT cumstains from pr0n....to my PHB!

Oh, yes, and...YOU INSENSITIVE CLOD!!!

Is there a '+1 ROFLCopter!!111!! mod that I haven't found?

Note: set sarcasm filter to 'full speed ahead, and dam* the torpedoes!

*yes, I know the diff between dam and damn...think about it if you are a pedant, or going full speed ahead.

Cool, what could possibly go wrong with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157345)

Just be sure to get to port often enough to get the latest patches offered.

China knows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157353)

They are now aware of everything that those subs do. That is, until BSOD.

Saving the tax payer £22 mil (5, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157355)

Summary fails to mention, and sort of implies the opposite; The cost saving is down to using off the shelf hardware, not switching to windows.

First informative post... mod parent up. (5, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157385)

20 posts before the first one that actually provides useful information.

Is that a typical ratio on slashdot? I haven't been keeping track.

Re:First informative post... mod parent up. (5, Insightful)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157507)

Is that a typical ratio on slashdot?

No, normally it's worse, but this time the title includes Windows - so brace yourself for a flood of cliches.

Re:Saving the tax payer £22 mil (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157429)

The company I work for deploys ATC systems running linux on COTS hardware. Maintaining such systems is actually quite difficult because if you validate your system with a particular component (a graphics card for example) you might not be able to buy that same card six months down the track.

On the OS side they will have problems as well. The version of windows they deploy will eventually reach end of life. If they deployed on a Free OS they (supplier or customer) would have been able to maintain it themselves regardless of what happened upstream.

Re:Saving the tax payer £22 mil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157433)

Actually there is plenty of space for new A-bombs sice they replaced the unix-mainframe with neat windows boxens. Terminals now display in colour and can provide minesweeper.

Here's where the real savings are (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157611)

Summary fails to mention, and sort of implies the opposite; The cost saving is down to using off the shelf hardware, not switching to windows.

Windows made the submarines on-the-shelf hardware, they'll be sitting pretty on some reef shelf in no time.

Mr. Malda, I'm submitting the news article for 2009-01-19 ahead of time:
Microsoft's Ian McKenzie announced today that the entire Royal Navy Nuclear Submarine fleet had sunk due to a Windows buffer overflow. HMS Vigilant's captain, Commander Bob Anstey, said: "I heard my 1st officer shouting 'Captain, Be SOD, Overflow!', so I yelled at him: 'Get the caulking guns ready, you SOD!' and he just gave me a blank stare and said: 'We cannot caulk this one, sir! Vigilant's a goner!' Well, bugger me!"

In other news:
HMS Vigilant's captain, Commander Bob Anstey allegedly accidentally fired a nuclear missile at Redmond, Washington in an attempt to complete the Windows Activation of the newly installed 'Submarine Command System Next Generation' customized Windows XP system. "It was a bug, yes, that's it. Some kind of unfortunate bug triggered the 19-step launch sequence," said Commander Anstey. Nobody at or near Microsoft could be reached for a comment.

Re:Saving the tax payer £22 mil (5, Informative)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157701)

Was custom built hardware running Ada86 custom software

Then Mixture of SPARC's running Custom Solaris system, and custom hardware, and the same Ada software

Now some off the shelf hardware (PC's) running custom version of Windows somewhere between Win2k and XP?

N.B. The Sonar system however run Linux ....

save UK taxpayers 22m? (2, Insightful)

NinthAgendaDotCom (1401899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157357)

Compared to what? Going open source would save even more money, no? Maybe submarine apps don't run on Linux. We need someone to code GNU Nuke Reactor.

Re:save UK taxpayers 22m? (1, Funny)

dword (735428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157739)

Going open source would save even more money, no?

Or maybe they wanted to just make a one-time payment for Windows and not hire a Linux admin, because it's easier to configure the things they need in Windows, people are more familiar with it and don't need to spend time to learn new stuff, I doubt any external users would have access to their network and there may be other reasons we're not aware of.

Windows does what they need. The BSOD is extremely rare on 2k/XP.

"Going open-source" can also mean something like:
IT: Captain, we're doing down!
Captain: Fix that computer problem!
IT: I'm trying, I've posted the question on two forums, but we're in a bad timezone, sir.

Meanwhile, on forum.freedom_from_microsoft_forum_hackers.com:
NEW POST: USN Hi guys, I have a problem with my Linux server. Sometimes it loads libraries from /lib, other times from /usr/lib and other times from /local/lib. There are multiple versions of the same libraries, with different functionalities which appear under the same version number in each of these directories. Can someone help me, please?
NEW POST: Kid in garage RTFM!
NEW POST: USN I did that and I searched on google and I asked on IRC. There were some things but they were pretty unclear to me and I lost the URLS. They didn't show up in my browser because I was using the latest version which respects the W3C standards but the pages were made to be compliant with older browsers.
NEW POST: Other kid in garage What distribution are you running?
NEW POST: USN This is the US Navy, we're using Kopper Kidney Kinux, kernel 1.0.0.0.0.1
NEW POST: Kid in garage I'm sorry, the support for that distribution has stopped a long time ago, here's a torrent of the lates Zupper Zume Zinux, kernel 1.0.0.0.0.2. Everyone who knew something about your distro moved on and forgot about it.
NEW POST: USN But I can't just update all the servers, we're sinking and these waters are full of sharks! I need a solution for my distro ASAP!
NEW POST: Other kid in garage Fuck Microsoft! Yeah! Linux rules! NEW POST: Kid in garage What are you talking about? What water? What sharks? Are you high?
NEW POST: Admin: This forum has been closed, because I'm going on vacation and there's nobody to watch it for a couple of weeks. See you after x-mas and happy new year, everyone!

Back on the submarine:
Captain: Damn it man, did you fix that problem? Just reboot the computers and it will most likely go away, that's what I do at home...
IT: Sir, this is Linux; it's so stable that rebooting it won't help, it will remain in the same stable (and buggy) state. But there were also some modifications we made to the system without rebooting in the past two years - hey, btw, check out my penis size! - which my get broken if we reboot...
Captain: Then just rebuild everything!
IT: I'm sorry, sir, but my religion won't allow me to reinstall Linux.
Captain: I read something around here that says our computers are in used by gnomes, what the fuck is going on?

And the IT goes back to his computer:
IT: tar zxvf nuke-launch-0.3.9-alpha
IT: cd nuke-launch-0.3.9-alpha
IT: ./nuke-launch /home/linuxzealot/nukez/src/lib/src/build/nuke.so /home/linuxzealot/nukez/maps/europe/general/europe-map-0.1.33-beta-delta-psi
IT: Damn typo! No, I meant version 0.1.34! Shit! Shit! Shit!
Computer: Kernel panic! Arrrghhhhhhhhh!!!
IT: write captain@deck sir, the computer just panicked, i think we really have a problem.

Why do some people think that Windows can ONLY mean bad things? And yeah, everyone remembers the BSODs we used to get back in '98 until 2001, but nobody remembers the "kernel panic," because it was less colorful. Also, going open-source means not spending a lot of money once, but means a lot of other things people are simply overlooking because it's "cool" to hate Microsoft and love Open-Source. If you love your Open-Source so much, why don't you marry it?

Signed,
A happy Windows XP SP2 and Mac OS X 10.5 user/developer.

HMS Bob (5, Funny)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157367)

Tech support: "Can you tell us the problem with your submarine?"
HMS Bob: "Das Not Boot."

other news (5, Funny)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157373)

Wolfgang Petersen is reportedly preparing to make "Das Reboot", a (very) short sequel.

Re:other news (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157675)

Wolfgang Petersen is reportedly preparing to make "Das Reboot", a (very) short sequel.

Yes, but it feels like it takes forever. Just when you think the sequel has finally started rolling, the movie freeze frames for another five minutes. And the ending credits just keep going on and on and on and you just want to unplug the damned projector.

I would have thought the military would want Open (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157379)

Source for obvious reasons. I know the Brits and Americans are friends, but still, running an OS that is doing Bill-knows-what doesn't sound very secure in many ways (Would you want the US military running a closed source Red Hat Linux sight unseen?). Even if there is no backdoors/spying, the ability to compile the source and see what it is doing at every step will have benefits in the future, to look for holes previously unknown, to see what it is doing every step of the way, or to graft new abilities into it.

Linux/BSD/whatever. In fact, I'm wondering why corporations run MS now, considering all this.

Re:I would have thought the military would want Op (3, Insightful)

jalet (36114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157475)

> to look for holes previously unknown

especially valid remark in a submarine, IMHO...

Re:I would have thought the military would want Op (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157477)

Even without that, the possibility of viruses makes me shiver.

Re:I would have thought the military would want Op (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157483)

They probably have access to the source code under some kind of NDA. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

Re:I would have thought the military would want Op (2, Interesting)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157485)

Source for obvious reasons. I know the Brits and Americans are friends, but still, running an OS that is doing Bill-knows-what doesn't sound very secure in many ways (Would you want the US military running a closed source Red Hat Linux sight unseen?). Even if there is no backdoors/spying, the ability to compile the source and see what it is doing at every step will have benefits in the future, to look for holes previously unknown, to see what it is doing every step of the way, or to graft new abilities into it.

What makes you think they haven't got a contract with Microsoft for access to the source code ?

Re:I would have thought the military would want Op (3, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157685)

Microsoft do have source sharing programs with some partners. This sort of project would be one example of that.

The reason the Windows 2000 source code got leaked a few years back is not because of lack of security at Microsoft itself but because a partner leaked it.

Even Microsoft realises that the source code needs to be available for some projects and they have a choice of either allowing just that or losing some of the most high paying contracts.

The subs the least of our problems (5, Funny)

Evil_Ether (1200695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157419)

I find the words Windows and nuclear been uttered in the same sentence very disconcerting.

Re:The subs the least of our problems (5, Funny)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157489)

Oh yeah? How about "The USAF accidentally dropped a nuclear bomb in Redmond, WA that fortunately didn't explode, but damaged the building of famous Windows OS maker Microsoft, instantly crushing CEO Steve Ballmer and the entire marketing team into a pulp."

Feel better now?

Re:The subs the least of our problems (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157623)

Not yet ... could you have the entire SCO executive team visiting too?

Re:The subs the least of our problems (0, Offtopic)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157535)

Thank God they didn't choose an OS with less than 1% desktop market penetration, which has been designed for networking.

Re:The subs the least of our problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157565)

Does the Happy99 virus ring a bell?
Unexpected fireworks FTW
 

Re:The subs the least of our problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157627)

Many nuclear power plants in US have Windows as part of their systems.

Re:The subs the least of our problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157681)

In France, nuclear powerplants (at least Civaux where I worked) use Windows 3.11 ... :D

Why not install on military bombers too?! (1)

ChrisRnlds (1434373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157479)

So the next step is to install windows on military aircraft and allow windows to guide the missiles (Y)! And by the way...some submarines have live nuclear weaponry right? Oh dear...!

Nucular, it's called nucular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157495)

*nucular* submarines

fixed that for you

The BotNet from hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157505)

A small transmitter on each ship, a trojan and we'll have the entire fleet.

This brings DDoS to a whole new level...

I am relieved! (5, Funny)

Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157509)

Now I can sleep safer knowing that if the Brits are about to launch a nuclear missile from a submarine and start WWIII, a UAC window will pop up asking if they are sure about it.

Re:I am relieved! (1)

savuporo (658486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157589)

Actually no. TFA says Win2K and WinXP, so at best they will get ZoneAlarm ringing or something.

Re:I am relieved! (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157655)

You seem to be trying to launch a nuclear attack. Would you like to do one of the following:
  • Blast Russia of the face of the earth
  • Blast Iran of the face of the earth
  • Launch a single nuke at China from within Pakistani territorial waters. Let them sort it out!
  • I'm an Al-Quaida Infiltrator. I'll target London, New York and Washington please

Clippy (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157515)

It looks like you're trying to launch a nuke. Would you like me to:
  • Try to talk you out of it
  • Help you start armaggeddon
  • Hide under the table

And the scary thing is.. (4, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157531)

.. British Navy submarine captains are the only officers worldwide (as of the mid 90s or so) to have the independent right to launch nuclear missiles if they lose contact with the Admiralty.

Re:And the scary thing is.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157755)

Not only that, but they can launch if they can't receive the Radio 4 Today Program.

Nucular, it's called nucular! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26157545)

switching their *nucular* submarines to a customized Microsoft Windows solution
- fixed that for you

what do you want to do? (4, Funny)

thhamm (764787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157571)

"hello! i am your friendly helpagent clippy! what do you want to do? wage nuclear war? or just launch a conventional cruise missile? learn how to do that here."

They wanted the prompt tech support (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157573)

In a critical environment like a nuclear sub it is imperative that they have the best support available on the planet -- where else could they get that other than MS? Also: if, quite unbelievably, something goes wrong with the computer and, say, they toast China - they will be able to use that great advantage of using proprietary s/ware: sue the vendor - and Bill is rich enough to pay to repair the damage.

If they had used Linux: who do they sue ? Linus isn't that rich.

:-)

BSOD (1)

eric434 (161022) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157577)

The term "Blue Screen of Death" is now deprecated. It has been replaced with "Blue Mushroom Cloud of Death."

Also, does that 22-million-saved figure include the cost of fixing the horrible errors and accidents that occur as a result of this?

Not a nice environment to work in (5, Funny)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157595)

I was talking to a retired submariner only last week, a former 1st Lt (exec equivalent), and he commented that being in a submarine is like being in prison, only with no visitors. Most submariners hate it. Think about it: you are in a steel box which is actually quite fragile, and your life is entirely dependent on the decisions made by one man. On a surface ship you may have some influence on your fate (shooting down an enemy aircraft with a gun or a missile, deciding exactly when and where to abandon ship) but in a sub you have no control at all.

Now think about a corporate drone using Windows. Your desktop is locked down, updates are rolled out by IT. If your machine is taken over by an IE exploit, the Exchange server fails, etc. etc., there is nothing you can do about it.

Conclusion: Windows is the appropriate operating system for submarines.

Actually, this fits in quite nicely... (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157639)

With the Royal Navy's recruitment advert for IT crew where the guy goes on about how complex the equipment is and then finishes the advert with the punch line "but sometimes, I just switch it off and back on again".

Perhaps this is why it's saved tax payers £22 million too, we no longer need high paid IT staff with a clue what they're doing, we can just get 16 year old school drop outs who IT qualifications are that they built their own PC and set up an internet on uncle Joes computer by sticking the AOL disc in. I mean, hey the nuclear missile launch console has failed to fire off our nuclear deterrent after Russia just obliterated Europe in a nuclear attack, just reinstall Windows and make sure you stick the latest nuclear weapons launch drivers on, if not just pop round to the local PC World store and get the Tech Guys (UK equivalent of Geek Squad) to fix it for £125.

I can sleep comfortably knowing that our nuclear deterrent is in safe hands.

Secure software (3, Interesting)

js_sebastian (946118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157649)

When I was doing an internship a few years ago, a colleague of mine (who was working to fund her masters degree) told me the first job after her bachelors degree in computer science had been writing software for nuclear submarines.

She worked in some high security, underground place with thick steel doors (did she? well either she told me that or it's my imagination again...) and they showed them videos of what happened when they made mistakes: everyone drowns... or the submarine gets crushed by pressure, or whatever, depending on the bug. I don't think accidentally releasing nukes was one of the scenarios though...

Maybe they should show the microsoft programmers some of those videos.

It's Blue!!! It's Blue!!! (3, Funny)

Genda (560240) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157705)

In the great coordinate plain of life, we seem to have a situation where the line tracing British IQ and the line tracing the mortality of the human race are getting perilously close. I've always taken comfort in the fact that mouth breathers and knuckle draggers seemed to remain alive almost in spite of their gross stupidity. Now a bunch of twits from the dept. of silly walks decides that the most expedient means of managing a nuclear force is with an operating system whose answer to digital indigestion is at best rebooting and at worst reinstallation. I can only imagine how that might impact (and I use the word "IMPACT" in all it's most unpleasant possible meanings) a critical nuclear encounter.

Some additional new possible acronyms;

DBSD ----- Deep Blue Sea of Death
BGAD ----- Blue Glass Ashtray of Death
RBGD ----- Radioactive Blue Glow of Death
BSOA ----- Blue Screen of Armageddon
O-SHT ---- The Missile Ranger is Turning Blue Because Windows Has Wedged and He Can't Abort the Missile Launch!!!

Useful on a sub (4, Funny)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157753)

See, this is actually an elegant solution, as the bloat will act as a redundant buoyancy system in case of the inevitable blue-screen crush.

"18 Days" (2, Interesting)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26157761)

I think they mean that the sub was incapacitated for 18 days while a transition plan was executed.

If it really took 18 days, they wouldn't be installing Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

It is mysterious to me as to why they would use Windows. I'd also love to know what is being commanded with the system? Is it just the Naval IT? e.g, sending encrypted email, accessing charts, documentation etc, crew communications, hiding pornography, printing happy birthday banners? I doubt it is controlling ballast tanks and dive planes and I can't imagine it controlling reactor or launch functions.

And if it's just the case of internal email and minesweeper games, isn't 18 days a long time? Especially if MS decided not to include hardware transition work and training in those numbers?

What were they using before that it was so expensive?

How can 8 years of evaluation time possibly save the military 22M pounds per year?

Meh. I guess it's on MSDN, so it's going to be a *little* biased. Kudos to the MS sales team. Good job, don't know how you did it.

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