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Software Upgrade Crashes UK Air Traffic Control System

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the quality-is-priority-1 dept.

Software 233

pitpe writes "Earlier today the computer system controlling most of the UK's airspace failed, after tests in preparation for an upgrade failed. The original failure occurred at the West Drayton centre, which is an old (70's) system, as opposed to the new system at Swanage, which has had its own problems. A system wide reboot to fix the system resulted in the entire system being taken down temporarily."

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Poll Troll Toll (0, Offtopic)

PollTroll (764214) | more than 10 years ago | (#9324935)

Which is better...

Software Upgrades [calcgames.org]
Sex with a mare [calcgames.org]

Yep. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9324937)

Score another one for outsourcing!

First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9324938)

Somebody set them up the bomb.

You know (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9324942)

First port

Uh oh! (-1, Troll)

ANY5546 (454547) | more than 10 years ago | (#9324948)

That sounds like terrorism to me.

Dubya should just cluster bomb all of England, just in case they are harboring terrorists!

Re:Uh oh! (-1, Offtopic)

iapetus (24050) | more than 10 years ago | (#9324967)

It's worse - the terrorists are using mobile phones to plan their acts of evil [theregister.co.uk] .

Re:Uh oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325152)

It's worse - the terrorists are using mobile phones to plan their acts of evil.
Don't say that too loud -- they're going to ban cell phones once they learn this.

(I just hope the US government never realizes terrorists breathe the same air as we do. "Patriotic Air and Breathing Security Millenium Act")

I always wondered... (0, Offtopic)

Polkyb (732262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325366)

Mod me down if you like, but, I've always wondered about the use of mobiles on aircraft...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, were the passengers on the 9/11 aircraft not using their cellphones to call loved ones just before the tragedy happened?

Surely, if it's as bad as they're making out, using their mobiles would have caused something to go wrong with the flight controls/computer systems onboard...

Re:Uh oh! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325203)

I can't see Dubya hitting on anyone like the UK who could strike back with a devastating nuclear arsenal.

Defenceless countries only please!

I blame Microsoft... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9324952)

...for some reason. They should have bought a Mac.

alternative system (1, Funny)

dcrulz (785238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9324963)

Maybe they can just use Prince Charles' ears for Radar?

Re:alternative system (0)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325008)

That might be funny if 1) Prince Charles was in the least bit representative of England 2) If it wasn't pathetic.

I imagine Prince Charles is off playing golf somewhere with nicer beaches.

Re:alternative system (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325122)

He plays POLO for fuck's sake, not GOLF!

Golf is not really a game for the aristocracy.

Re:alternative system (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325242)

Roight theah you ah! The bloody prince don't play golf, me cockney valets do!

Re:alternative system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325304)

And what accent was that supposed to be? "Cockney"?

About as cockney as Dick VanDyke in Mary Poppins.

Anyway, I doubt any of his valets would be "Cockneys".

[obligatory anglo-troll] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325493)

Just what are you trying to say here? Do English chimney sweeps not actually have a Cockney accent anymore?

I do know things have changed a lot since the 1960s, so although I would be disappointed to learn this, it is not too much of a surprise.

This wouldn't have happened... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9324969)

This wouldn't have happened had they been using Linux.
Linux is the most stable operating system out there, much better than Micro$oft Winblows.

That said, is this where MY TAX DOLLARS are going? Certainly a waste. These people are incompitent and should be out of a job.

Re:This wouldn't have happened... (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 10 years ago | (#9324997)

Well no, none of your dollars are going to the UK, unless the US is routing their tax to the UK somehow.

strange person.

Re:This wouldn't have happened... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325022)

I believe it said the software crashed not the operating system.

Re:This wouldn't have happened... (3, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325125)

This wouldn't have happened had they been using Linux.

This might have happened even if they were running linux. If the software that is used for the air traffic controlling was written badly it still could have crashed.

Re:This wouldn't have happened... (3, Interesting)

LaCosaNostradamus (630659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325264)

Yes, I think that the software structure of a critical realtime system like ATC is much more important than which OS or language it's written in. It should be built like a strange composite stranded cable, with different strands of simple structure that can survive sporadic (even systemic) failure of its parts. In such a system, there should be no such thing as a system-wide reboot, since the only thing that is truly system-wide is the data.

Without this structure, Linux would probably fail at an unacceptable rate too.

Re:This wouldn't have happened... (3, Funny)

British (51765) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325195)

This wouldn't have happened had they been using Linux.

No, the air traffic controllers would still be figuring out how to cut/copy/paste while a 747 is on it's final approach.

Damn... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9324973)

And I was going to put the blame on M$, but if it's a 70's system we're talking about I'll just shut up.

Re:Damn... (3, Funny)

not_a_product_id (604278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325021)

Microsoft Air-traffic Control Software? Shudder...

Re:Damn... (2, Funny)

shad0w47 (261033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325118)

"Air-traffic Control XP has detected a new airplane in your airspace. Before using this new airplane, please restart your the Flight Control System"

Uh-oh...

Re:Damn... (4, Funny)

InShadows (103008) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325277)

Microsoft has been testing around with flight software since XP called MSFlight.. here's the article [bbspot.com] to prove it..

Re:Damn... (1)

maxbang (598632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325184)

Actually, I believe they were using Microsoft Air, aka Longhorn.

Re:Damn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325316)

microsoft air? did they patent air also?
I hope it's not a expensive as microsoft
water.

Three fingers (3, Funny)

panda attack (785239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9324985)

Ah the good old reboot and hope for the best method :D

Re:Three fingers (4, Funny)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325052)

Hey, it worked for Samuel L Jackson [imdb.com] ...

this is a UNIX system, I know this!!!

Re:Three fingers (1)

panda attack (785239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325098)

Okay they pulled or someone tripped over the plug ;o)

obligatory (-1, Flamebait)

aixou (756713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9324993)

In Soviet Russia, air traffic control crashes software upgrade... In Microsoft Windows, software upgrade crashes itself.

Software doesn't rust... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325007)

"which is an old (70's) system". As long as it's not 30-year-old hardware then the software should still be fine. Why does everyone think that simply because software was written in the past it is bad?

Re:Software doesn't rust... (2, Informative)

Kredal (566494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325050)

Because it IS old hardware.

Re:Software doesn't rust... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325070)

Well. Sooner or later they had to fix the Y2K problem :)

Re:Software doesn't rust... (2, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325341)


Yeah but the Y2K problem was "discovered" way back in the 70s. Banks doing 25 year mortgages in 1975 would extrapolate into 2000 and "whoops!" Any place which had Y2K problems gets no sympathy from me. :P

Re:Software doesn't rust... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325074)

I would assume that the hardware is from the 70s and the software is new. This is because we are talking about a software upgrade which implies the software is new, leaving the hardware to be from the 70s.

Because the system now runs, this says the hardware is fine, leaving only the software to be at fault.

Re:Software doesn't rust... (5, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325087)

>Why does everyone think that simply because software was written in the past it is bad?

What is implied is that its being pushed to its limits. e.g. it was designed for 100 flights a day, when today there are 1200 flights a day.

Those small things which you could get away with before start to become factors in usability and stability.

Have you never heard of bit rot? (1)

DFJA (680282) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325160)

We get it all the time in our company, software that previously worked and isn't touched just stops working. Maybe we've got some sort of infection.

Re:Have you never heard of bit rot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325183)

BitROT is prevalent at microsoft!
every new release has more problems.....

Re:Software doesn't rust... (3, Insightful)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325186)

Software written in the past also needs to be maintained. TFA states that testing for an upgrade and improvement to the West Drayton system was the cause of the problems.

(Which I find strange, cause testing in a system as critical as this should be done in a separate environmnent.)

I assume you've had no previous experience in maintaining a 'vintage' system like that? The code is probably written by a lot of different programmers, each with his own style, poorly documented, and thus very hard to read and understand.
Software doesn't rust, but it clutters up and gets dirty over the years. It won't come apart by itself, but by the hands of a developer writing a necessary upgrade.

Re:Software doesn't rust... (1)

trout_fish (470058) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325317)

It is possible that the upgrade had been tested in a serperate system as well. It is not going to be identical to the Live system though, so some problems on the change over should be expected.

Re:Software doesn't rust... (1)

aldoman (670791) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325339)

That's actually what they did.

They tested the software in somewhere else, loaded it onto the system overnight when air traffic was lower and then rebooted it to load the upgraded software... and it didn't work.

Microsoft (-1, Redundant)

WhatsAProGingrass (726851) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325013)

I didn't read the article, but based on the fact that they had to reboot to fix the problem, it must be running Windows.

Lucky in the US... (4, Informative)

Kredal (566494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325014)

Considering that up until about 2000, all of the major Air Traffic Control centers in the US were running on vacuum tubes, we were lucky nothing like this ever happened here. Sure, there were glitches at regional centers, that required controllers to do everything by hand, but nothing that required a full reboot of the entire country's ATC system.

Hopefully the UK will get the new system tested and online before it causes more problems!

Re:Lucky in the US... (2, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325089)

Its already back running (and has been since this morning, BST) Now the only delays are caused by clearing the backlog of grounded flights.

Re:Lucky in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325110)

:~$ echo Whoever said the signature size should be limited to one hundred and twenty characters can just go ahead and kiss my | wc -c
117
:~$

hm :)

Re:Lucky in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325220)

yeah yeah, okay, it's not perfect.... it's a funny sig anyway.

Re:Lucky in the US... (1)

DataCannibal (181369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325293)

Hopefully the UK will get the new system tested and online before it causes more problems!

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

Er... sorry.. you've obviously never read or heard about UK government IT projects before.

Or any UK goverment project for that matter (including supplies and weaponry in Gulf War 2)

Re:Lucky in the US... (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325301)

Hopefully the UK will get the new system tested and online before it causes more problems!

The only minor problem is that the new system is, if anything, more likely to cause problems than the old one. Especially if it follows the same pattern as the majority of the other big systems our useless government has thrown money at.

Re:Lucky in the US... (5, Informative)

aldoman (670791) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325373)

There is 2 ATC centers in the UK - West Drayton which is for the 4 major London airports only (Heathrow, Standstead, Gatwick and London City). This is a 70s system and is due to be replaced by 2006. This is the one that crashed, but because a large percentage of UK air traffic is destined for London, then it caused the other one to go to a standstill.

The other one at Swanage handles the ATC for everywhere else. This was replaced with a new system in 2002.

But, by 2006 hopefully all ATC in the UK will be running on new systems.

More problems... (4, Informative)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325035)

I found a similar article on MSNBC [msn.com] .

It seems they have been having problems with their computer systems since 2001 when it was "privatized".

"The air traffic service has been beset by problems since it was partially privatized in 2001. A $484 million center at Swanwick in southern England opened five years late in 2002.

The opening was delayed by problems with computer software, and the glitches continued for months afterward, as controllers misread aircraft altitudes and destinations because of hard-to-decipher computer screens. In at least one case, controllers mistook the Scottish city of Glasgow for Cardiff in Wales.

Now.. that seems like a pretty big mistake for me.. especially for an air traffic controller to do. However, the article later states that:

"Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said Thursday's problem did not lie at Swanwick but at the older West Drayton center, which is due to be closed by 2007."

Thank goodness that old one is closing, however it doesn't sound like its replacement is doing any better!

"If you want to know what is wrong with transport in this country it is that over decades successive governments did not spend enough on the infrastructure and air traffic control is no different," Darling told BBC radio."

Excellent quote! While terrorism is on everyone's mind, we sometimes forget that safety of transportation should also be just as high. I couldn't imagine pilots relying on themselves to fly airplanes amid the thousands of others without the aid of traffic controllers and their computers.

Re:More problems... (4, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325166)

"If you want to know what is wrong with transport in this country it is that over decades successive governments did not spend enough on the infrastructure and air traffic control is no different," Darling told BBC radio."

A dutch friend of mine once remarked that she didn't understand the mentality of the British. "You" she said, "have an amazing tendency to run things into the ground and then get around to fixing them rather than spending money on continually maintaining them so they never fall apart."

It's a very good point.

Re:More problems... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325266)

A dutch friend of mine once remarked that she didn't understand the mentality of the British. "You" she said, "have an amazing tendency to run things into the ground and then get around to fixing them rather than spending money on continually maintaining them so they never fall apart."
That's a pretty fair point. The trouble is, since 1977, politics has been obsessed with who can provide the biggest tax cuts, which has meant all the state funded / supported industries have gone to hell in a handcart.
<rant>
I blame Margaret fucking Thatcher, who let the hospitals fall apart and flogged off the viable bits of the infrastructure to her friends (at well below market value). [We're still feeling the effects of this on the railways, which the private sector has run into the ground] Corrupt old bitch.

Re:More problems... (2, Insightful)

drwho (4190) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325280)

A dutch friend of mine once remarked that she didn't understand the mentality of the British. "You" she said, "have an amazing tendency to run things into the ground and then get around to fixing them rather than spending money on continually maintaining them so they never fall apart."


Funny, I noticed this about the U.S. system. But I figured it out. It has to do with the fact that civil maintenance is done by civil-service people with a union and a contract, while new equipment and construction contracts with companies are awarded to either the lowest bidder or some politically well connected company. So, the disposable roads/bridges and possibly airports system is a result of trying to contain socialist laborism. And I don't know how I feel about that.

Re:More problems... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325381)

Just a thought - if the problems are since it was privatized in 2001, and the Swanwick centre opened five years late in 2002 then the problems must have begun before privatisation.

This wouldnt've happened...... (-1, Flamebait)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325037)

if they were running Windows 2003 [microsoft.com]

Fly more, with less.

Re:This wouldnt've happened...... (1, Funny)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325073)

Yeah, it would have never installed in the first place.

What WAS the System that crashed? (4, Insightful)

Spencerian (465343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325046)

Perhaps a person experienced in ATC software or hardware could enlighten us on the specific system in use, its OS and other trivial bits.

It would help to reduce the coming surge of Microsoft jokes, which is very likely not relevant here.

Where do you want to go today? (-1, Offtopic)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325062)

ETX

Links for reference (4, Informative)

matthew.thompson (44814) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325064)

National Air Traffic Services http://www.nats.co.uk/services/index.html are the outfit responsible for this.

They have a press release http://www.nats.co.uk/news/news_stories/2004_06_03 .html which explains quite nicely what they did and why.

Re:Links for reference (1)

br0ck (237309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325114)

Your second link is in the original post.

Re:Links for reference (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325130)

Congratulations for getting modded up by pasting the link that was in the story. Great.

Links? (0, Offtopic)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325265)

Links are those things which start "<a href=" and end "</a>". You appear to have posted URLs instead.

new linux distro idea (-1, Troll)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325071)

Maybe a new linux distro needs to be made to do air traffic controlling. Something that could integrate into the current system.

Re:new linux distro idea (3, Funny)

cpghost (719344) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325191)

Check out gflightcontrol-0.01, then run the usual:

./configure
make
make install
make crash [plane] #optional

Of course, it requires gnome 2.6 and all deps. Planes will have to circle while everything emerges.

Re:new linux distro idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325490)

rpm -Uvh gflightcontrol-0.01

much more efficient

Re:new linux distro idea - NOT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325215)

That makes as much sense as paying SCO for a license fee!

Re:new linux distro idea (2, Funny)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325387)

Slackware has had ATC for years.

A new meaning: (0, Flamebait)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325080)

BSOD: Blue Sky of Death

Re:A new meaning: (1, Troll)

Polkyb (732262) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325170)

Blue sky...? In England...?

Are you mad...?

Re:A new meaning: (0, Redundant)

ContemporaryInsanity (583611) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325190)

Blue sky ?!?
This is the UK we're talking about here...

So what? (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325097)

There are redundant systems in place. Analog radar, humans with brains.

At least there should be. Computers crash, break, have bugs, etc. They're a tool - a more efficient and convenient tool to be sure.

But when they break, there are contingencies so that planes can still take off and land, and wont just fall out of the sky.

This is also why Y2K was such a bunch of stupidity. We really aren't as reliant on computers as people think. We know they crash and are prepared to handle it when they do.

Re:So what? (0, Offtopic)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325197)

"There are redundant systems in place. Analog radar, humans with brains."

Dont you remember? Regan got rid of all the humans with brains when they wanted a living wage.

Re:So what? (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325472)

I forgot the years he was Prime Minister of Britain...refresh my memory, please?

Re:So what? (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325396)

>There are redundant systems in place.

The redundant systems can't replace the speed and accuracy of a computer.

Computers are a tool. But how do you access the radar system and translate its information with out a computer?

atc (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325119)

Air Traffic control is a bitch.
http://images.somethingawful.com/mjolnir/i mages/cg 05252004/House-Party-4.jpg

Same in Ireland! (5, Informative)

pixelbeat (31557) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325120)

Much the same thing happened last
week in Dublin [ireland.com]

And the Wizard said: (5, Funny)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325121)

It appears you are trying to land a plane. Would you like to:

[x] Allow Windows to detect new hardware ?
[ ] Allow planes to circle in uncertainty ?

[x] Show this window at all airports

Re:And the Wizard said: (1)

ministry92 (54542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325410)

Fatal Execption Error occured at 30,000feet.
Pres CRTL-ALT-DEL to see if this resolves your problem.

The way to destruction (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325131)

How are you gentlemen?!?!

You know what you doing!

Take off every 'zig'!!

All your airstrip are belong to us!!!

Re:The way to destruction (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325248)

I think there's no question as to why you posted as an AC... ^_^ (which, incidentally, is exactly why I'm posting AC right now.)

This happened here in Houston about a month ago: (2, Informative)

boschmorden (610937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325134)

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/news/050404_local_airp ort.html

Re:This happened here in Houston about a month ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325249)

How much effort does it take to make the link a hyperlink rather than just text that by the waqy has a space in the middle of it that means it wn't work if pasted in a browser?

dipshit

Re:This happened here in Houston about a month ago (1)

boschmorden (610937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325296)

How much effort would it be to program the perl script to auto anchor links? Dipshit.

Re:This happened here in Houston about a month ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325449)

Who the fuck knows? I doubt the AC you're replying to hacks Slash, so he's hardly responsible for your lazy ass not being able to post a proper link, is he?

A string of failures (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325145)

It's not too surprising, after all when the system was developed it was re-tendered 2 or 3 times because of gross failures, I think it was something like 8yrs over due and 20M over budget.

Hurray another British triumph!

Bug (1)

l0wland (463243) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325146)

Told you so! At the year 19804 it just HAD to go wrong....

Come on.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325168)

We all know this happens when someone talks on their cellphone during take-off.....thats what the warning is for, right?

It could have been alot worse... (2, Interesting)

b06r011 (763282) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325200)

at least only the computers crashed

as for the system crashing in the first place, it's unfortunate, but a good thing that they were able to cope and keep everyone safe - that's the main thing, right? (it's certainly my main concern)

and as for the software not being up to the job, it may well not be. after all, air traffic has increased ever so slightly since the 1970's - is it reasonable to expect a program presumably designed for 70's hardware, and 70's air traffic loads to cope with heathrow in 2004?

Swanwick not Swanage! (4, Informative)

perly-king-69 (580000) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325205)

The new centre is at Swanwick in Hampshire, not Swanage in Dorset!!

Swanwick, not Swanage! (4, Informative)

Xilman (191715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325259)

The new system is at Swanick near Southampton, not Swanage as posted here.

Swanage is a pleasant little seaside resort. I know it well and stayed there a few nights when on my honeymoon.

Finding Swanwick and Swanage on a map of southern England is left as a exercise. Hint: Mapquest [mapquest.co.uk] may be a good place to start.

Paul

Downgrade? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325283)

In the tradition of software upgrades this one also became a downgrade. Microsoft was belived to have pioneared this technique but it seems the 1970's air traffic system predated microsoft.

Reboot took the system down? (1)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325308)

And here we have brought up on liberal dose of reboots , preferably once every few minutes, simply to ensure everything works

err, if you keep your fingers crossed, that is!

What's the problem? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325349)

...the air stewardesses always tell you turn off your computers, mobile phones and Gameboys while the plane is in the air.

That's what happens (0, Troll)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325356)

s/blue screen of death/bodies blown to bits

Dangers of open source? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9325376)

If this had been open-source, how high would the danger be that hostile parties would find possible exploits, compared to the benefit of having interested non-hostiles (whoever that might be) check for bugs?

(Although I can't think of anything that would be vulnerable in what I hope is a system not connected to the Internet in any way.)

I guess other airports could benefit from collaboration of this kind.

Hang on a second... (3, Interesting)

Gordon Bennett (752106) | more than 10 years ago | (#9325460)

To quote from the NATS (National Air Traffic Services) press release:

"The FDP was being tested overnight for a future upgrade. The system was successfully returned to service but at 06.03 errors were detected in the distribution of flight data between Centres. As a precaution, we decided to restart the FDP (known as a cold restart) causing an interruption to full service. The data processing system was restored at 06.42 and declared fully operational at 07.03. Flight capacity restrictions were lifted at 08.05. The system is now fully operational and we are confident that it is stable.

Through the response team at West Drayton, we have been working with airports and airlines to clear the delayed departures, and expect the backlog to be cleared quickly.

Our investigation into the cause of the problem is continuing."

Let me get this straight: they ran a test on the FDP. The FDP glitched. They rebooted the FDP. They are still investigating the problem.
Now, unless I am mistaken, I can only infer from their statement above that they are now running the FDP which is still susceptible to the problems highlighted by the test.
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