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World's First Linux Powered Rifle Announced

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the now-we-need-a-real-life-punkbuster dept.

Linux 272

stevew writes "Following up our earlier discussion about whether guns should be self-aware comes the announcement of the world's first Linux-powered rifle. A startup attending CES was showing how their 'Precision Guided Firearms' would use customized, computerized scopes to assist with aiming. 'The Linux-powered scope produces a display that looks something like the heads-up display you'd see sitting in the cockpit of a fighter jet, showing the weapon's compass orientation, cant, and incline. To shoot at something, you first "mark" it using a button near the trigger. Marking a target illuminates it with the tracking scope's built-in laser, and the target gains a pip in the scope's display. When a target is marked, the tracking scope takes into account the range of the target, the ambient temperature and humidity, the age of the barrel, and a whole boatload of other parameters. It quickly reorients the display so the crosshairs in the center accurately show where the round will go.'"

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gotta ask (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#42539707)

But does it run Windows?

Re:gotta ask (5, Funny)

mjjochen (638603) | about a year ago | (#42539737)

Yes, Crosshair Office.

Re:gotta ask (2)

the monolith (1174927) | about a year ago | (#42540027)

Will it obey the usual editing commands like Ctrl+F10 (execute,) 'home', 'end', 'undo', 'delete', and 'search and replace'? I really would like to remove the 9 scores from my target and replace them with 10s.

Re:gotta ask (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539815)

No! Sadly EMACS takes all space on the ROM.

Re:gotta ask (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539887)

The real question is can it run Crysis?

Re:gotta ask (3, Funny)

gewalker (57809) | about a year ago | (#42539963)

For $17,000 it not only should run Windows, but clean them and make them bulletproof too.

Re:gotta ask (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539991)

You have pulled the trigger. You need to restart Windows in order to complete this operation. Would you like to restart now? (restarting in 10s...)

Thanks for nothing gun nuts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539725)

Another case of gun nuts taking useful technology and exploiting it.

We just had them ruin 3D printing. I guess Linux is next?

Re:Thanks for nothing gun nuts (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#42539839)

Another case of gun nuts taking useful technology and exploiting it.

You are making me feel shame in my Emacs Cannon

Re:Thanks for nothing gun nuts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539911)

That's like saying that penises are ruined because they've been used in rape. I know mine isn't ruined...

Re:Thanks for nothing gun nuts (4, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year ago | (#42540353)

You've got to accept that FOSS etc can be used for good and bad. Internet? Great boon to humanity, also allows for research of home-made explosives and distribution of CP. Linux? Allows people to be in charge of their computers, for free, as used by North Korea and arms manufacturers. Personally I'm pro-gun-control, but you can't deny that this isn't quite an elegant bit of engineering, and they have every right to develop it.

So.. (5, Funny)

robkore (251928) | about a year ago | (#42539735)

Guns don't kill people, linux does.

Re:So.. (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | about a year ago | (#42539825)

Thank you for making me spit my tea all over my keyboard and monitor... funniest one liner I have read in a while

No (3, Funny)

anom (809433) | about a year ago | (#42539865)

Linux doesn't kill people, Linux users do!

Re:No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540257)

Then we'd better arrest the people on this Linux drug.

Quick, round them all up boys!

Re:So.. (5, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#42540049)

Guns don't kill people, linux does.

Yeah, but this model is safer -- you don't pull a trigger, you type "sudo kill -9 ".

Please be careful when entering the target's social security number.

Re:So.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540453)

Linus doesn't kill people, Reiser does.

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540691)

(until the triggerbot version comes up)

Do Not Want! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539751)

Rifles are mechanical devices that inflict mechanical damage. I do not ever want that to change and decrease reliability by adding a computing layer in to the mix.

If you want to make the scope into a computing device that's fine. But I don't ever want to pull a trigger and encounter a segfault, or have the rifle fail to operate due to dead batteries, or have it fire unintentionally due to a bug in the code.

Just NO!

Re:Do Not Want! (4, Informative)

xeromist (443780) | about a year ago | (#42539851)

Uh, that's what this is: a computer aided scope, not a change to the mechanics of the rifle. Even TFS says this.

Re:Do Not Want! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540235)

No. The article specifically describes how the scope controls the pull weight in an attempt to keep you from botching the shot. There are mechanical modifications here, and as someone that shot competitive smallbore with very low weights I can tell you that dynamically messing with the weight is a potentially dangerous thing to do.

The part about having to use their ammo is bullshit I'm sure. In a $17,000 device, it better be able to perform regular ballistic calculations, and you could otherwise easily make or buy .300 winmag with the characteristics it expects.

Re:Do Not Want! (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#42540289)

In a $17,000 device, it's target market provides the opportunity for another $17,000 of sales in consumables.

Re:Do Not Want! (3, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#42540657)

It's target market is the military. The aim, to turn a whole lot of second rate shots into first rate snipers and to generate huge profits for the company. You can also expect police forces to purchase the aiming system in order to enhance accuracy. The operating system is largely arbitrary, although it would be interesting to see how compact an install they achieved and driver and kernel set up as quality of 'appliance' style installs are interesting.

Re:Do Not Want! (1)

xeromist (443780) | about a year ago | (#42540413)

Fair enough. I've never shot competitive so I can't comment on how the weight can impact you.

However the OP's complaint was regarding failure to fire and simply having a higher weight wouldn't prevent you from firing if you chose to. They're not calling it a full trigger lock. In that respect it does not sound like they've done anything mechanically that would compromise the weapon's ability to fire but I suppose that depends how the resistance is implemented.

Re:Do Not Want! (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#42539873)

If you want to make the scope into a computing device that's fine.

If you read even the summary, you'd know that's precisely what this is. Assuming headlines are at all factual or correct is likely to lead you to fail.

Re:Do Not Want! (3, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#42540095)

Let me fix that for you: If you read even the summary, you'd think that's precisely what this is but if you read the article you'd know that it is not. Assuming summaries are at all factual or correct is likely to lead you to fail.
From TFA: The PGF isn't just a fancy scope on top of a rifle. All together, the PGF is made up of a firearm, a modified trigger mechanism with variable weighting, the computerized digital tracking scope, and hand-loaded match grade rounds (which you need to purchase from TrackingPoint).

Re:Do Not Want! (1)

xeromist (443780) | about a year ago | (#42540335)

I read the article and there doesn't seem to be any serious modification to the basic mechanics of the rifle. The "modified trigger" just adds resistance so that you can preemptively apply pressure to the trigger to avoid that motion causing your shot to misalign. There's no indication that it provides enough resistance to prevent the shooter from pulling harder and firing anyway. It would make sense that if it was a full trigger lock that they would simply call it that. They are even careful to state that the shooter is in control but the example they give is deciding NOT to fire so they don't really address whether failure to fire is possible or not.

Re:Do Not Want! (4, Informative)

baker_tony (621742) | about a year ago | (#42539941)

TrackingPoint is quick to emphasize the rifle doesn't fire "by itself," but rather the trigger's pull force is dynamically raised to be very high until the reticle and pip coincide, at which point the pull force is reset to its default. In this way, the shooter is still in control of the rifle's firing, and at any point prior to firing you can release the trigger. In the mockups the company had on display for the press to experiment with, the action appeared to be the same

Re:Do Not Want! (3, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year ago | (#42540461)

In that scenario the trigger is nothing more than a dead mans switch. You hold the trigger down, hold the reticle on target (ish) and the gun fires at the right moment. It may only happen in milliseconds, but the ultimate decision to fire isn't made by the human, the human just authorises it.

Re:Do Not Want! (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42540533)

Except that even with a heavy pull, you can still pull and fire. This means you can lightly pull the trigger to get the effect you describe, or just pull a bit harder to override it.

Have you shot a rifle? You know how trigger pulls work?

Re:Do Not Want! (0)

baker_tony (621742) | about a year ago | (#42540623)

Cool, so not only does the human have to pull the trigger but the computer also has to allow the shot to be fired. Sounds like a safer solution to me than just letting the person pull the trigger.
I suppose your comeback will be "Oh no! What if I'm getting attacked in my school by a madman with a gun and all I have is my high powered rifle to protect me and the computer has crashed?!"
"Oh no, what if my gun's computer crashes which prevents me from killing wildlife!"
in which case, you have bigger issues than owning a computer powered rifle that crashes. ;-)

Re:Do Not Want! (1)

kllrnohj (2626947) | about a year ago | (#42540675)

No, other way around. The computer authorizes it, the human is the one that actually does it. As in, the computer has no way to fire the gun by itself.

Re:Do Not Want! (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about a year ago | (#42539977)

No, Rifles are devices that launch projectiles. Arguably, they're devices that use projectiles to transfer kinetic energy. Damage isn't a given or a guaranteed result.


Oh boy (5, Funny)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year ago | (#42539779)

Now you can sudo rm rf the real world.

The Windows Version (4, Funny)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year ago | (#42539835)

"Oh wait! I can't shoot anything because the screen's all blue!"

Re:The Windows Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540053)


Looks like you just shot yourself in the head, because kernel panic.

Re:The Windows Version (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540619)

Would that be a Blue Screen of Life?

umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539845)

Will it update my twitter status?

It's GNU/Linux (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#42539933)

It's GNU/Linux, not GUN/Linux.

Re:It's GNU/Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540205)

Best. Comment. EVAR!

Re:It's GNU/Linux (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#42540501)

so... if one buys a rifle, I expect the source-code be made available to the one, to do as one pleases, isn't it?

Does it have speakers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42539945)

If it has speakers mod it like this [youtube.com] gun lol

Just you wait (1)

pokoteng (2729771) | about a year ago | (#42539995)

I'm waiting for them to add small servos to the barrel for a feedback loop to compensate for weapon sway and etc. Real life hand-held autoaim weapons.

Re:Just you wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540149)

Easier to just delegate the trigger pull to the ballistics computer. The shooter then only needs to get the sight on target and the firearm will discharge at the optimal instant. A sensor fusion problem, as opposed to a robotics problem.

This already exists, btw.

Re:Just you wait (1)

pokoteng (2729771) | about a year ago | (#42540409)

I know it exists in bigger scale, but wasn't aware of it existing on hand-held small arms scale. As in, rifle size.

Re:Just you wait (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42540573)

This does it. It rides the trigger pull weight so it's hard to pull when off-target, but at the right moment it's lightened.

So: aim, lightly pull trigger. When the fire computer says go, the trigger lightens and the pressure you are providing slips the sear, and things go boom.

But, at the same time, you can just pull harder and override it.

Killer Features of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540015)

I thing what we *really* need is a Linux powered blade (knife/sword/what-have-you). Why? So RMS can have his GNU slash Linux. *rimshot*

anemometer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540033)

Where's the anemometer ? Wind has far more influence that the other factors, AND coffee...the scope should tell you not to drink any coffee for at least 3 weeks before use :P

Re:anemometer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540067)

hah, it does have one....cant see any direction sensor though.

Re:anemometer (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42540589)

And what, pray tell, would it sense? Wind needs to be figured from other sources, such as brush movement. There's no guarantee that the wind exposed to the rifle is the wind between the rifle and target.


Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540081)

It's like all the hackers of Unreal Tournament and Quake joined forces and created a new "skill enhancer".

rifle syntax (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540089)

su find children | auto cannon >> /dev/null

lol... Well its not getting any easier than it is now, if anything the extra console syntax will hinder new attempts. I can see it now: shooting suspect stopped in his tracks by invalid syntax error hahaha...

Damm cheaters! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540133)

And their motherfucking aimbots!

Will it also explode when thrown at a target... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540151)

...and digistruct back fully reloaded?

Nothing can possiblay go wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540159)

PossiBLY go wrong.

Heh. That's the first thing that's ever gone wrong.

Just plain wrong to use Linux in a weapon. (1, Flamebait)

blackest_k (761565) | about a year ago | (#42540189)

It's not right in a couple of ways.
Militarily Linux is something built by individuals and companies from all over the world in collaboration. something that was created by humanity as a species not as a nation or even a political group. Maybe there is nothing in the licensing of Linux to say it can't be used for killing but it certainly seems against the spirit of the endeavour.

Right now it's being made part of a hunting rifle and that is pretty sickening too. Hunting is a skill and this takes away from the skill part of hunting. Where is the challenge when all you need to do is waggle the gun barrel in the general direction of the target and the scope decides when to fire? It wouldn't be so bad if it was just taking a photo. Even though how much pride could you take from taking the perfect picture when the camera does the hard bit for you.

It is about as skilled as fishing with dynamite. What if these guns were used to extinct a species? I don't think people worked on Linux to help rich idiots ($7000 a rifle) pretend to be marksmen. Hopefully this is a venture which is going to fail.

I remember back when yugoslavia was falling apart I was on an Amiga channel and there were some young lads on there on both sides of the conflict desperately worried they would be drafted and be forced to fight on opposing sides. Still seems just as wrong now with the diversity of nationalities we share our common interests on line yet some of us be forced to take up arms by our psychopathic leaders of our great nations...

Re:Just plain wrong to use Linux in a weapon. (1)

futhermocker (2667575) | about a year ago | (#42540283)

Would the military really care if they breach a license? Think not... Then again, they would never admit it.

Re:Just plain wrong to use Linux in a weapon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540303)

Theres far more Linux in military equipment as you might guess.

In my firmer company I've written an realtime application running on Linux. That calculates real time air/sub/subsurface balistic missile parameters. The results of that calculation - and endmy data - was used to let the subsystem chose the right missile for defence.

Re:Just plain wrong to use Linux in a weapon. (1)

RazzleDazzle (442937) | about a year ago | (#42540319)

BSD has no problems with this kind of use.

To quote the founder of OpenBSD:
But software which OpenBSD uses and redistributes must be free to all (be they people or companies), for any purpose they wish to use it, including modification, use, peeing on, or even integration into baby mulching machines or atomic bombs to be dropped on Australia.

Re:Just plain wrong to use Linux in a weapon. (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#42540439)

Actually, telling people what they can and can't do with the software running on their hardware is against the very spirit of the endeavor. Just because you have some special emotional reaction to guns doesn't mean others do. MANY linux users and developers are gun enthusiasts.

As for skill... whats your point?

Yes, I would consider this cheating in most competitions. This is like complaining that people use cheat codes in video games. Unless you are competing with them on score, who the fuck cares?

Geeks can finally be snipers (1)

BluPhenix316 (2656403) | about a year ago | (#42540193)

This is great for all us computer geeks who have dreamed of being sniper assassins. Even my sniper rifle runs linux!

Re:Geeks can finally be snipers (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#42540341)

But what basement-dwelling neck beard can afford 17k for a rifle? Linux is supposed to be free!

Re:Geeks can finally be snipers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540555)

I am sure the linux part of the rifle is free.
The hardware and consumables will however cost a pretty penny.

I'll use this one day (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540229)

I'm schizophrenic (no kidding) and I'll fire one of these guns off one of some day.

Hax! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540387)

Aimbot hax0r I tell yaz!

She called it O_O (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540401)

The creepy thing for me is that my non-gun-shooting girlfriend told me last week that this would happen soon o_O

Shouldn't this be done with a microcontroller ?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540457)

And Linux ? LINUX ??? Are you insane ? Why on earth... This must be an early Aprils Fools... If you told me it's all pure assembly or even an ASM bootloader and a few C coroutines... I would even have considered a micro kernel to get different scope manufacturers hot swapping... But Linux ?!

Use the right tools for the job !!!

What did the old one run on? (1)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#42540653)

The OICW and XM25 both have (had, in the case of the OICW) a similar sighting system: ping the range (or enter manually) and the reticule will relocate to the correct angle to fire the grenade to have it land at/over/in the target location (depending on whether the round is meant to detonate above a trench, over a wall or through a window into a building).

I don't need the targetting computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42540659)

I already told you. A 2 metre thermal exhaust port isn't much smaller than the womp rats I used to bull's eye back home.

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