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In-Flight Reboot?

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the no-problems-until-you-have-to-fsck dept.

Programming 594

steelem writes "The Washington Post is running a story about how the F-22 Raptor's software requires in-flight reboots. Apparently the 2 million line software project is 93% done. Knowing most projects I've been on, it'll stay that way for another few years."

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Hah (4, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592792)

Welcome to Microsoft Airlines, your Stewardess today will be Steve Ballmer.

Re:Hah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592820)

Wow, this Mile High club thing is really getting exciting now.

Re:Hah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592828)

And yet this has nothing to do with Microsoft.

Here we have a fine example of Yet Another Slash Tard.

Re:Hah (-1, Troll)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592856)

No, it has nothing to do with Microsoft. I just thought the mental image would be amusing. Sorry it didn't tickle you pink.

Maybe this picture of (what may be) Steve Ballmer will entertain you more. [goatse.cx]

Oh, wait, just clicked it in the preview. It appears that they've replaced the goatse picture with a teletubbie orgy.

Re:Hah (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592978)

And suprisingly enough, Timmy "the Unwashed Linux Hippie" wasn't the editor.

Re:Hah (-1, Redundant)

shaklee (631847) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592874)

This is an ideal application for LinuxBIOS [linuxbios.org] [linuxbios.org]. The article says an average of 14 minutes per flight were spent rebooting computers. Even 36 seconds per reboot is too much, and would be totally unacceptable if it were say, a navigation computer on a 737 with a hundred civilians on-board.

Nasa has an interesting project called FlightLinux [nasa.gov] [nasa.gov] specifically geared for this sort of application. Unfortunately, they have yet to release code (export restrictions), but they supposedly use LinuxBIOS for their system.

Of course, having software that never crashes (no pun intended) would be best, but it never hurts to have a system that can boot up in just a couple seconds anyway!

Re:Hah (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592903)

You've misread the article slightly. The article said they had improved on it vastly, reducing it from 14 minutes spent rebooting to merely 36 seconds average total time spent rebooting per flight.

Re:Hah (2, Funny)

Areeves (598018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592875)

Good lord I can picture it now, MS Air Flight 223 exploded shortly after take off today, the cockpit recorder was recovered, unfortunately the only sound audible is a single frantic voice chanting, "developers, developers, developers" shortly before the plane exploded. All MS Air flights have been grounded for what Microsoft calls a "service pack update"

Re:Hah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592930)

That reminds me of a very talented cartoonist and anti-militarist, Franquin.

In-Flight the fighter literally turns to shit :-))

bye

caspar

fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592798)

fp

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592955)

to late, you sick bastard

LinuxBIOS in flight computers (4, Interesting)

DeathPenguin (449875) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592799)

This is an ideal application for LinuxBIOS [linuxbios.org] . The article says an average of 14 minutes per flight were spent rebooting computers. Even 36 seconds per reboot is too much, and would be totally unacceptable if it were say, a navigation computer on a 737 with a hundred civilians on-board.

Nasa has an interesting project called FlightLinux [nasa.gov] specifically geared for this sort of application. Unfortunately, they have yet to release code (export restrictions), but they supposedly use LinuxBIOS for their system.

Of course, having software that never crashes (no pun intended) would be best, but it never hurts to have a system that can boot up in just a couple seconds anyway.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592859)

The article said 36 seconds per flight, not 36 seconds to reboot. Of course, it still sucks that you'd have to reboot at all.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (1)

DeathPenguin (449875) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592883)

Whoops, my bad! You're correct, they say it averages 36 seconds per flight now, not per reboot.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (4, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592873)

Even 36 seconds per reboot is too much, and would be totally unacceptable if it were say, a navigation computer on a 737 with a hundred civilians on-board.

What makes you think that it takes 36 seconds to reboot their systems? That's an average time spent per flight -- we don't know how many times the systems are crashing per flight.

Also note that this covers all their computer systems, not just the actual flight control. Some systems are obviously more important than others; it probably doesn't matter if the target identification system fails for a few seconds.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (5, Insightful)

pfleming (683342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592905)

"Some systems are obviously more important than others; it probably doesn't matter if the target identification system fails for a few seconds." Unless you're on the wrong end of the target id system. We have enough 'friendly fire'(although who cares how 'friendly' it is when you're dead?) problems already. I don't care what OS it's using, it needs to be fixed.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (4, Insightful)

marauder404 (553310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592877)

The article doesn't say that it takes 36 seconds to reboot the computers. It says 36 seconds per flight are spent rebooting the avionics. It doesn't say how long the reboots take. The total reboot time per flight could have been reduced by quicker reboots or less reboots or both.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (3, Insightful)

Eneff (96967) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592890)

By reboot, I'm thinking they mean from "press button" until "I can use again."

That means running the program and getting all necessary information from the hardware so that pilots can make decisions from it.

The BIOS is insignificant in this case.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (0, Troll)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592913)

Even better than software that never crashes is no software at all.

Why use software when a simple mechanical device will suffice?

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592936)

Because in this case a simple mechanical device is probably not sufficient. Or were you just trolling?

Besides, the real answer is because computer controlled shit is cooler. Take that you computer-controlled-car-hating luddites!

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (3, Insightful)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593028)

IMNSHO, it's basically common knowledge that these things CAN NOT be flown without computers regulating all the doohickeys. We're not talking about Cessnas (sorry if I spelled that wrong), we're talking about extremely complex jets flying at high speeds.

Granted, some things (ejector seats, cupholders, maybe even bomb-dropping aparatus) don't need computer control, but all those wing flaps and engines, etc. do, at least in a vehicle this complex.

Re:LinuxBIOS in flight computers (5, Informative)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592996)

> and would be totally unacceptable if it were say, a navigation computer on a 737 with a hundred civilians on-board.

AFAIK, civilian flight systems are three times redundant. Written by three different isolated teams in three different programming paradigms, from three different cultures to avoid similar faults due to "contamination" by other teams, or simlar faults due to similar paradigms.
(Airbus 340 (3M LOC), Boeing 777 are said to have employed such techniques)

And IRC, they don't fly with at least two redundant fully functional systems.

It makes me wonder why the military has less stringent requirements.

Jokes (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592806)

*waiting for all of the *nix and M$ jokes.*

DUPE! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592807)

DUPE!

Not a troll (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592951)

See the other (allbeit slightly different, but now much) story here:

http://slashdot.org/articles/02/07/22/0615221.sh tm l?tid=126

Slashdot rehashing old stories to have some cheap "does it run linux?" story? Never...

TOASTER! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592809)

toaster,toaster toaser, do you have toast in you yet i think [rowdyruff.net]
so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Im not a toaster!!!!!!!!!!And one more
thing........YOUR A TOASER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND A COOKIE WITH MILK SOAGE
MILK!!!!!!!!!!AND A BUTT WITH POOP IN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wonder... (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592813)

will they be able to get a tow back to port as well? I just hope that autodestruct is not in the same system.

Re:I wonder... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592861)

BTW, do not necessarily think that it is MS in the cokpit. Unless it is in the article (I may have missed it), this pix seems to show something that is NOT ms. http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/f22/f 22ias.html

Re:I wonder... (2, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592887)

You just don't understand. Microsoft operating systems and ONLY Microsoft operating systems crash or require reboots. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just part of the vast conspiracy against me.

What do you expect (3, Interesting)

gokubi (413425) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592821)

when the contracting agency can't acocunt for $1 trillion [azcentral.com] ? That's more than the rest of the world spent on their military last year. With that kind of accountability, I'm amazed any project gets over 80% done.

Re:What do you expect (3, Funny)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592976)

yeah... $200mn per aircraft... if it wasn't for these damn patents they could download them for free from Kazaa...

the 'let's go kill people' software (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592825)

damn, my job is so boring. I wish I was on the 'let's go kill people' software dev team.

Re: the 'let's go kill people' software (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592846)


> the 'let's go kill people' software

Yeah, but the pilot ain't the one that it's supposed to kill.

Found more on Google. (3, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592827)


The first hit on Google was this [slashdot.org] interesting take on the story.

Editors, upon submission... (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592919)

Please consider having Slashdot do a quick search, esp in the last 2-3 weeks. Even if this is done at the submittor level, then they could avoid this. I have no doubt that most submittors would prefer to avoid this.
Likewise, when viewing for submission, check the same search, so that you can see what the use saw
BTW, this is not really a problem with just /., but more indicative of the problem that stories keep getting retold on the same news. Sad really.

Re: Editors, upon submission... (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592967)


> Please consider having Slashdot do a quick search, esp in the last 2-3 weeks. Even if this is done at the submittor level, then they could avoid this. I have no doubt that most submittors would prefer to avoid this.

Au contraire, I would guess that every time a story hits Slashdot about 9000 clowns immediately submit it again in hopes of duping the editors into a dupe.

Why reboot systems at all? (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592829)

Jeez, one would think that there would be built in redundancy so that if one system went down, it could be rebooted while the other system automatically takes over. Perhaps this is the way things are working, but the thought of rebooting during ACM makes me really nervous.

Re:Why reboot systems at all? (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592853)

Sorry, I should have clarified, ACM = (Air Combat Maneuvers).

Re:Why reboot systems at all? (4, Informative)

sexylicious (679192) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592881)

They do.

There are several redundant systems. Let's say for example that your FLCC has 3 identical systems. If one fails, the other two take over until the watchdog timer kicks in and restarts the third (in the case of a software fault).

Anything that is rated for piloted flight is this way, especially fly-by-wire systems or other mission critical components.

This claim is not surprising at all, since it happens all the time.

Apollo 11 (5, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593025)

Haven't read the article (typically of slashdot), but I do remember that the Apollo 11 computer nearly caused the first lunar landing to fail because it kept rebooting in-flight. Due to a configuration error that occurred shortly before flight, the computer repeatedly ran out of memory, but the software was designed so that the computer could reboot without catastrophe.

You can read more here [nasa.gov] .

In flight Clippy (5, Funny)

niko9 (315647) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592833)

Hi there soldier! You seem to have lost power to both engines secondary to a software malfunction, over hostile territory. Would you like me to help you reboot Windows?

Re:In flight Clippy (5, Funny)

Trevalyx (627273) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592872)

"I'm sorry, but the Escape function is disabled during reboot. Instead, you can change what I look like! Click F1 for more options."

Re:In flight Clippy (4, Funny)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592886)

Hi there soldier! You seem to have lost power to both engines secondary to a software malfunction, over hostile territory. Would you like me to help you reboot Windows?

F-22 Raptor has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience. If you were in the middle of something, the information you were working on might be lost. Please tell Microsoft about this problem.

Re:In flight Clippy (5, Funny)

HillBilly (120575) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592949)

It looks like you are about to die. Would you like help?

- Get help with dying
- I'll die on my own thankyou.

Too easy... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592835)

Would it be too trollish to say this brings a whole new meaning to "The Blue Screen of Death"? Yeah, I thought so too.

F-22 BSOD (1, Insightful)

zoloto (586738) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592956)

...Blue Skies of Death

Why is this a big deal? (5, Interesting)

Illserve (56215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592842)

Software like this should be able to reboot midflight without a hitch.

Flight control software has been rebootable on the fly since the earliest days of the space program.

Re:Why is this a big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592975)

Flight control software has been rebootable on the fly since the earliest days of the space program. Isn't this a bit redundant?

Decimal to blame? (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592843)

Decimal is well known for screwing up binary floating point. I'm wondering if much of the problem is using decimal where binary or hexadecimal should be used. Do you really want to have complicated decimalbinary floating point routines slowing down your aircraft?

2 MILLION lines?? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592848)

Quick, someone send them a copy of bash!

Here we go (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592852)

huh, huh.

must run ms. govt should mandate oss. would you fries with that?

huh huh.

Ejection Seat (3, Interesting)

rchatterjee (211000) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592854)

If you're the test pilot you really got to hope they finished the code on the ejection seat at least, at 1,200 mph even a few seconds of reboot time is enough to turn you into part of the scenery at the test range.

Re:Ejection Seat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6593006)

Two quick things.

First the f-22 I think uses an AcesII ejection seat. Its a tried and true seat thats been in many american planes, f-15 and f-16's

Second, and ejection in almost any seat at 1200mph would probably end up being fatal in itself.

It's a cinch. (1)

pheared (446683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592857)

Teaching pilots to fly the airplane, Pearson said, really involves teaching them how to use all the data flowing into the cockpit. "It's an extraordinarily easy airplane to fly," Pearson said.

Sure, when all you need to know is which machine to reboot.

Critical software (5, Funny)

limbostar (116177) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592860)

"Now, admittedly, it's critical software. This is the 'let's go kill people' software."

Man, I need to get a new job.

Remarkably frank ... (4, Insightful)

JonyEpsilon (662675) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592862)

This is the 'let's go kill people' software.
Is it just me, or does this kind of talk disturb anyone ?

Re:Remarkably frank ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592904)

So, what kind of talk do you expect? The kind of talk that says "let's go sing happy Barney songs around the campfire with people who have been born and bred to hate us with every fibre in their being"? Get real. In my army, I want my solders to go out and kill the fucking enemy. And don't come home until he's dead.


Re:Remarkably frank ... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592911)

It disturbs me in that it's the sharp end of the system. A military aircraft would be pointedly useless if during its whole developmental process everyone skirted around the objectives of the thing; that is, to blow stuff up over there, while you're sitting here, and come back. that does involve killing people quite often.

What disturbs me too is slashdot reporting. The article wasn't "about" the system needing reboots in flight, that was just one thing mentioned. The article was "about" a piece of military hardware nearing completion. The slashdot front page description and the real article may as well have been about two entirely different subjects for all they share.

Re:Remarkably frank ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592925)

It's just you. When you have served your country, you understand that there are times and places for "disturbing talk". But then again, I served, so you would not have to!

Re:Remarkably frank ...bullshit (1)

Jenty (471786) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592994)

does this f22 make you proud, dork ? do you feel that you know what does the "disturbing talk" really mean ? do you feel that your country has a right to do what it does now ? check yer dow & nasdaq shit and come back later saying - you haven't served yer country bro.

Disturbs me to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592952)

Glad to see my tax money is squandered on useless plans to line the coffers of corporate america. meanwhile money for schools is nowhere to be found. fuck bush.

Re:Remarkably frank ... (5, Funny)

Matimus (598096) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592958)

It disturbs me that you are disturbed by the military talking about killing people. What exactly do you think the military does? Maybe they will make it open source and you can add some code for feeding orphans.

Re:Remarkably frank ... (2, Insightful)

phyrestang (638793) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592960)

Hey... At least it is the truth. For some reason you strike me as one of the people who has no problem eating beef, but gets uneasy talking about the slaughter house. Killing is what these machines were made for, why beat around the bush?

Re:Remarkably frank ... (2, Insightful)

p2sam (139950) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592979)

Frank and to the point, no sugar coating.

Or do you prefer languages like the Department of Homeland Security, which concerns with domestic spying, or the Department of Defense, which concerns with waging war?

Re:Remarkably frank ... (2, Insightful)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592983)

Is it just me, or does this kind of talk disturb anyone ?

Why does it disturb you? What else do you think a $200 million stealth fighter is for? Fighters are for killing people and/or destroying their stuff. Hopefully this stuff will be ready when we go to liberate North Korea and China. :-)

Re:Remarkably frank ... (1)

Ironpoint (463916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593020)


There's lots of people here in America who love killing and even some that make it their life's work. They practice their trade everyday hoping that soon they will be able to use their skills to accomplish their mission.

Nothing to be ashamed of really, unless someone looks in your freezer or under the porch.

In all fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592863)

This is a work in progress (and the article was the about the Raptor program itself; it's not an article about buggy software), the software isn't finished.

I am not a programmer -- is it necessarily telling when an unfinished piece of software crashes repeatedly? I know this will not be acceptable for a finished product, but does it really mean anything for the software to be unstable at this point?

Maybe the only surprising thing is that they're flying with critical software (critical only during combat maybe?) that doesn't quite work ....

Beyond grasp (5, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592865)

I've said it a hundred times and I will say it again. Software is getting way to complex for human management in developing bug-free code.

Yeah. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592944)

You couldn't even develop a bug-free two-line comment.

-to
+too

Re:Yeah. (1)

sflory (2747) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592974)

Programers debug comments? I thought they were for confusing the guy they hired to replace you.

Re:Yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6593014)

and that's why you're still flipping burgers for a living.

Re:Beyond grasp (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593004)

Ironically, it's the things that are supposed to make it easier to manage large software projects that are actually making it harder.

Take Unicode for example. Rather than coding several region specific versions of a program, just make it do Unicode. Now instead of 255 possibilities for character imput, you have thousands. This leads to things like the microsoft.com that isn't, and the many many Unicode exploits.

Another thing is OOP. My gut feeling is that things written in OOP languages are never as stable as ones written in procedural languages. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think there is probably some relationship between the complexity of the language, and the stability of the system.

C is a very simple language. It doesn't offer many fancy features, and it is easy to screw up and allow stupid things like buffer overflows. It is, however, very simple to understand. Compilers are easier to write correctly.

I think there are something about GUIs that make things much harder for the programmer too. When I look at the large body of 100% rock solid command line programs, and compare that to the weak GUI offerings across the board, it seems to speak for itself. Someone working only in a GUI world could easily get the impression that software is getting too complex to manage, but from a command line standpoint, things are better than ever.

I don't think it's only a question of code maturity either. We've had GUIs on just about everything for over 10 years now, and they are still consistantly less stable and less useful than command line programs.

Maybe it's because they introduce a temporal element, the infitnite permutations of the way events can occur in a sequence of time, but non GUI programs have dealt with this in the past, and almost always do a much better job.

Anyway, I don't know if I have one coherent point, and this is pretty much all opinion with little basis in tangible evidence, mostly just gut feelings.

Distributed target tracking? (1, Redundant)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592876)

But what really sets the F/A-22 apart is its ability to process data on air and ground targets using its own onboard radars and sensors, as well as those on other aircraft.

Ooh.

Re:Distributed target tracking? (2, Funny)

phyrestang (638793) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592973)

I'm really, truly, very sorry... But I just have to say it. How about a beowulf cluster of them?

Re:Distributed target tracking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592984)

Yeah--

Band a couple of these aircraft together, and BOOM! instant Gnutella/Freenet for that in-flight file-sharing fix.

Re:Distributed target tracking? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593010)

AWACS planes (essentialy flying radar stations) are capable of keeping track of an area of sky and feeding the radar contacts to the F/A-22 even if the F-22's sensors are off (point of this being, the F22 would be virtually undetectable if its radar was not powered on)

IIRC they can also feed data from the AWACs plane straight into their missles and fire without having to power their radar up AT ALL.
That's what the article means when it says "as well as those of other aircraft"

Blue Screens Of Death (-1, Redundant)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592879)

Is this where they got the name?

Cheetokiller hybrid couch (2, Funny)

fusion812 (521238) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592885)

2 million lines of code for 'lets go kill people' software. If they can do that, I wonder if I can get them to 'sponser' a new 'lets go eat some cheetos and then kill people' couch for my apartmet.

Timing (5, Funny)

SnowWolf2003 (692561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592888)

Control: Destroy that incoming cruise missile. ETA 35 seconds.
Pilot: Got Radar Lock
Pilot: Hang on - just got to reboot. Will be ready in 36 seconds...

Disturbed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592906)

Am I the only programmer here that has a problem with writing software that powers "the most awesome killing machine"? I apologise to all the yeehaw types but I personally find that distasteful, to say the least.

Question to physicists/biologists/chemists: Would you have a problem creating and refining nuclear/biological/chemical weapons?

(Posted anon. to avoid the right wing moderators killing my account.)

Re:Disturbed (0)

TailGunner (461259) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592947)

Would you have a problem designing the ultima killing machine if say YOU WERE FIGHTING THE NAZIS? Well, these people feel the same way, hard as it is for you to believe, about the commies and terrorists. Weird world you live in where you discriminate against mass murderers "Oh nazis mass murderers = bad, commie mass murderers = good, persicuted victims of RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS". Sickening. Anyway, time for all the good leftists robots to ignore that and bring up american wars (to stop commie mass murderers..)

No wonder it's called the CRAPtor (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592909)

nm

kill! kill! kill! (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592915)

From the article:
"...the F/A-22 is the absolute most-awesome killing machine I have ever, ever flown."
"This is the 'let's go kill people' software."
"...use the information you have in the cockpit to go and kill somebody..."

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having a great military and defending freedom and whatnot... But is it any wonder that other countries see Americans as barbaric imperialist bringers of doom?

It may be normal... (2, Insightful)

curtlewis (662976) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592916)

for flight systems to reboot 'on the fly' but I consider that unacceptable for mission critical systems.

It's the mentality that feels that 'good enough' is good enough that brings us this type of warm and comfy software.

Good enough isn't. Stable code can be written. It merely takes talented engineers, design time to conceptualize and architech the product up front before coding it and giving QA what they need to test and committment to FIXING the issues that QA identifies. It's not the cheapest or fastest way to deliver a product, but if I want cheap and fast I'll go to Taco Bell, not a jet fighter.

Given how expensive these planes are, does it make sense to go cheap on the software and risk crashing not only the software but the multi million/billion dollar plane too?

Re:It may be normal... (4, Insightful)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592980)

Good enough isn't. Stable code can be written. It merely takes talented engineers, design time to conceptualize and architech the product up front before coding it and giving QA what they need to test and committment to FIXING the issues that QA identifies.

I'm curious -- do you do development? Have you ever worked on a 2 million line program? No offense, but anyone who uses the word "merely" in a paragraph like that strikes me as someone with a tenuous grip on reality.

I am a senior engineer at a very big company. Applications I have written are in use by literally millions of people. And I'm scared stiff by the idea of writing the kind of software that powers the F-22. Software of this scale is the single most complicated project humanity has ever undertaken, and to belittle the efforts of the engineers involved by suggesting that they don't know what they're doing or aren't following responsible development guidelines shows a serious lack of understanding. I promise you, the software on the F-22 has been subjected to more rigorous QA than anything you or I have ever touched, but that still doesn't make it easy.

Humans aren't perfect, and as long as that continues to be the case, writing a multi-million line chunk of software will always be a ridiculously expensive and difficult proposition with no guarantee of success.

Off topic, but in the same article (1)

zaren (204877) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592918)

"From the start in peacekeeping," West said, "Maj. Gen. James Mattis and Brig. Gen. John Kelly, commanders of the 1st Marine Division, wanted the Marines out of the vehicles. That established: a. You are not lording it over anyone else, and b. You are the toughest mother in the valley and not afraid to move among the people. The rules of engagement were clear: If they are fired at, they attack back to kill, not to spray the area. If they are not fired at, all is cool."

What's that? Not afraid to take a bullet (or an RPG) while moving among the people, you say? Seems to me the reason armored vehicles are armored is to protect the military personnel they're transporting. Otherwise, we could have our boys (and girls) going in on camelback and in Jeeps; be a lot cheaper that way, and just as safe as having them "walk among the people". Wouldn't you want to "lord it over" someone if you're trying to secure an area? Wouldn't the "toughest mother" be the one rumbling around inside the bullet-proof turtle shell with the 50 mm popgun sticking out of it?

Re:Off topic, but in the same article (1)

Avihson (689950) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593035)

In a western society that would be the case. But you have to understand that these Marines are in the remnants of a culture that has been repressed by just that attitude. The Fedayeem Saddam, the Ba`ath party, and the darling "royal family from Tikrit" lorded over the citizens of Iraq for 30 years.

Now we are trying to show the people that they have the same opportunities that all your /.ers have.

Have you ever had any dealings with an abused animal? It takes a lot of work to earn the animal's trust. Now relate that to a whole society of thinking, reasoning humans, who have been beaten into submission, afraid to trust anyone, and who know no other life. It is going to take a while to show them that you are there to help them take charge of their own destinies.

You can't do that from any armored vehicle.
You have to show the people that you respect them, then they will respect you.

New BSOD? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592920)

BSOD = Blue Skies Of Death

Avionic stability? (1)

spamchang (302052) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592924)

"...such as those processing data from onboard radar."

oops, IFF locked up. oops, missiles fired. run for cover.

i doubt the -22 has a terrain-following program, but if it does...try not to use it. keep some distance between you and the ground. you need at least 36 seconds of freefall's worth of altitude to survive.

Yes, my young skywalker... (5, Funny)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592953)

Now you shall witness the power of this Fully Operational Ba...
Your program has performed an illegal

operation and will be closed by Windows

isn't this a repost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592954)

from like a year ago? i think it was a pop. mech. link or something. i'll leave it to the reader to find the dupe. but i could be wrong.

What does reboot even mean in this context? (4, Insightful)

Sean80 (567340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592961)

I suppose I don't even know what 'reboot' means in this context. Do planes like this have operating systems? Or does the hardware directly run the code? Does the reboot simply reset the system state from somewhere it shouldn't have been? How fast is a reboot? The only context I have is the few minutes it takes my Linux box or my Windows box at work to reboot.

What's funny is I always thought the guys writing this sort of software were uber-coders, and never had this sort of problem. Throw those few extra hundred million dollars at the coding effort, and I just thought this sort of problem went away. It's worrying though - isn't code which ever needed to be rebooted fundamentally flawed? Can you ever really fix that sort of code, or are we just waiting for the day whenever another edge test case comes along mid-flight, and an F-22 falls out of the sky? Even one of this sort of error seems like impending doom to me.

This isn't a big deal (5, Interesting)

realmolo (574068) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592965)

The software required to run the Raptor is insanely complicated. The plane itself was ambitious, but the contorl systems are the real innovation. Give these guys a break. The fact that the thing flies at all is amazing. The fact that it does everything it was designed to do is unbelievable. So there are a few bugs to work out. That's how it goes. We're not talking about "normal" programming problems here- this is Real Life stuff.

Just use X (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6592966)

Why not just put X11 terminals in all the planes, and link them to the Xservers via satellite. That way, all the important equipment stays grounded in the bunke-eh, never mind.

Humorous (2, Informative)

mharris007 (142886) | more than 11 years ago | (#6592988)

In a sick, sick, way I find it humorous on how they actually brag or boast about how they decreased the reboot time of the computer.

Sounds sort of scary to me the such a critical component needs to be rebooted at all, boy, I'm glad I'm not a test-pilot.

...Insert Lame and Tired Microsoft Joke Here... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6593001)


sound familiar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6593002)

Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, explained this approach to peacekeeping during a May 30 Pentagon briefing: "As Marines, we go about that tasking in a no-nonsense manner. What we tell the Iraqis is that we're here to do a job. Don't get in our way, and nobody will get hurt; indeed, you will like the results. Interfere with our efforts or threaten our forces in any way, and there will be consequences."



The Iraqis should understand language like that.. They've been listening to Saddan Hussein say it for years.

This has been coming for a while (4, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593011)

First, this issue has been covered extensively by Aviation Week & Space Technology, if you have a library that keeps the back issues (web subscription very expensive).

Second, I have seen this coming for about 10 years now. In the 70s and 80s I worked with digital control systems. Not avionics, but similar. In those days the systems were expected to work right, every time, for years at a time. 2 years between system restarts was considered "acceptable". If a system did fail, the manufacturer was expected to get its collective butt out to the site, figure out why, and issue a (solid!) fix pronto.

In the last 5 years, I have repeatedly been on brand-new airplanes at the gate when the pilot comes on and says "we are having a little problem with the system - don't be alarmed if the lights go off" followed by what is clearly a "reboot" of the airplane! When the fsk did it become acceptable to fix problems in avionics by rebooting the airplane?

And if the system designers really think the Microsoft Rebooting Disease is an acceptable way to handle system faults, how long before one of those faults occurs in the air?

I guess I am just old and crusty, expecting life-critical systems to work to spec 100.0% of the time.

sPh

I dont get it . . (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593024)

What is the big deal here? Show me a single application (or suite whatever) that has 2 millions lines of code, is 97% done and DOESNT crash.

The Onion (2, Insightful)

chmilar (211243) | more than 11 years ago | (#6593027)

The article reads like something from The Onion, not The Washington Post!

Lines like "$200-million-per-copy stealth fighter", "the F/A-22 is the absolute most-awesome killing machine I have ever, ever flown", "any other free world fighter", "14 minutes per flight rebooting mission critical computer systems", "the 'let's go kill people' software", and "kill somebody and stay alive and execute your mission" were cracking me up.

Are you sure this article isn't really from The Onion? They have some pretty imaginative writers.
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