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Airbus 380 To Have Linux In Every Seat

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-access-to-the-tubes-though dept.

Red Hat Software 332

jpatokal writes "Singapore Airlines will be rolling out the A380 superjumbo on October 26th, and a surprise awaits in the seat of every passenger: their personal Linux PC, running Red Hat. In addition to running the in-flight entertainment, passengers can also use a full copy of StarOffice, and there's a USB slot for importing/exporting documents or plugging in your own keyboard/mouse. Screen size is 10.6" (1280x768) in economy, 15.4" in business and a whopping 23" in first class (along with free noise-canceling headphones). The system is already available on current B777-300ER planes and will also be outfitted on the upcoming B787 Dreamliners."

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In Singapore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365517)

Linux won.

Re:In Singapore (5, Interesting)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366229)

This application is also ideal for Linux. Meaning, linux is best in computers or embedded devices where you need high reliability and you want to be able to specify the exact amount of the functionality it should have. Windows CE, at least in my opinion, does not stand a chance here..

In my opinion, the best part about this is Star Office. Eventhough in reality it probably is quite unlikely many people will use it, from the vendor's standpoint, it was nearly trivial to implement... That is the true power of OSS, which is over the longterm adding allot of functionality with limited cost.

Re:In Singapore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366377)

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Delta/Song already uses Linux (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365523)

It's not a full machine, but if you've flown Delta and used their in-flight entertainment machines (the trivia is great), they're using Redhat. I know this because I watched it crash and a subsequent reboot which was grub...

the kernel was a 2.4 version as I recall...

Re:Delta/Song already uses Linux (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365657)

I've flown Delta on a 757 and seen Linux reboot, too (I think we lost power while waiting for an open runway slot to take off from). But the system in the summary sounds much different; the Delta system didn't have StarOffice, it just had TV, movies, moving maps, etc. Basically read-only, except for paying for the in-flight movies.

Re:Delta/Song already uses Linux (1)

shawn443 (882648) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365783)

I was going to throw the impossible card. Seriously, why 2 reports of seeing a linux box crash? If its a power issue, I hope the cockpit doesn't run on the same circuit. How could it be an operating system issue? Like Redhat can't make a distro that runs media players for airplanes. On the other hand, fun with 192.168.1.1 might be worth it.

Re:Delta/Song already uses Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366161)

It's true. I've seen Linux crash twice in a single flight, once in another flight and once on a bus that had equipped screens.

Linux isn't as stable as you might think.

Re:Delta/Song already uses Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366361)

Oh I don't know. I installed Linux up your ass that one time and it was rock-solid.

And here's a picture of the reboot.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366035)

Enjoy a few [flickr.com] pics [flickr.com] here [livejournal.com]. Incidentally "Song airlines" were the first ones Delta put these on. Song went out of business (there's a Frontline episode [pbs.org] you can watch about it) and the Song planes were turned back into Delta planes. Now all the Delta planes are scheduled to have the inflight video stuff too.

Re:Delta/Song already uses Linux (5, Informative)

choas (102419) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366277)

I just returned to the Netherlands this morning, flew from Las Vegas.

Delta indeed uses red-hat linux on their 'seat in front of you consoles'

Also loading some modules which taint the kernel (according to the message I saw)
I think it had to do with AAC.

Nothing against Linux on planes, BUT please, have someone on-board to service the
system or let it be serviced from the ground. As our flight from Las Vegas to New York
only showed red hat reboots continually during the flight, all the time. seemed like
Linux did boot with some ramdisk checksum errors, but it booted, but when the X layer
came on this triggered another reboot.

I'm a unix guy all the way, and they told me I could not have access to the plane's
media 'mainframe' or I would have had a look to see what was wrong. All I saw was that
the whole right side economy side of the plane was left with a rebooting red-hat distribution
showing a cute penguin in its left corner...

The whole time... 5 hours long...

This was NOT a good commercial. I wish it had been.

The whole system worked perfectly when I was flying to San Francisco two weeks ago!

I always believed (5, Funny)

JRGhaddar (448765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365545)

Penguins CAN fly!

Re:I always believed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365635)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of 380s.

Re:I always believed (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365757)

Penguins CAN fly!
You could get a whale to fly if you attached four 76,000-lbf Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines to it.

Re:I always believed (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366343)

Penguins CAN fly!
only when disguised in a red hat. I guess Fedora was too expensive

Re:I always believed (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366427)

I'm not sure I understand your tone correctly....are you implying that they should have gone with a non-commercially (Tech support from the community) supported Fedora over a commercially-supported (Tech support from RH) distro?

FWIW (3, Interesting)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365565)

I don't know how they are setting up their installations but I would _highly_ recommend they use unattended installation images and re-image the installation EVERY day. Seems only logical to me. Neh?

Re:FWIW (1, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365589)

Every day? I'd do it after every flight. They have enough other things going on then.

Or use something like Knoppix, where things aren't written to stable storage at all. (Surely there would be a way to make RedHat behave that way.)

Re:FWIW (5, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365629)

Of course it's possible, and that's how Linux-based embedded systems work. Your /home/$USERNAME can be created in RAM and deleted (recreated from a skeleton) after you log out (or the system restarted.) There is nothing else writeable on the whole box. This is necessary in embedded systems to prevent Flash wearing out, and to ensure reliability. Same needs here.

Re:FWIW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366137)

If you do it right, there's nothing writeable on the whole box. If you do it like it's done in the real world, the bootloader will be in flash memory. Once you get root, and on a system that lets you connect a USB stick there's not a chance you won't get root if you know your zero days, you can put your code where it runs before the system even goes online to load the OS image. There's also the matter of remote exploits: These things are on a network, after all.

Re:FWIW (2, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366267)

I use embedded Linux at work, and the hardware that we run it on has a jumper which allows to electrically prevent any and all writes into the Flash. If you want to upgrade the software, press a button inside. No software can compensate for a WP# pin on Flash being tied to the ground; you'd need to do the iPhone-style hack with a soldering iron, and I don't see this as likely during a flight :-)

Re:FWIW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366417)

PC mainboards used to have write protect jumpers. That has gone out of style, probably because soldering in a header and putting a jumper on it is too expensive. Are you willing to bet your email account password on the presence of enough clue to really not put any persistent storage in these things?

Re:FWIW (2, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366463)

Well, this thing is no different from an internet cafe, and we know that those are popular enough. It's probably because most users of an internet cafe do not care about their email passwords. Business users are typically issued company notebooks which connect to the company's mail server through a VPN. But if a company permits direct access to its internal webmail then it assumes the risk of passwords being stolen one way or another, since you type them into the browser. Any keylogger, or a custom build of Firefox, would do the stealing easily, since the cafe owner is the sysadmin on all the computers. But all things considered, I would trust a large airline more than a shady Internet cafe owner.

Re:FWIW (3, Interesting)

modecx (130548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365817)

Why not have a single server, and have the client heads netboot off of the server after every flight? That way, it makes it super simple to push updates, kills the chance of having people permanently mess with the systems, and everyone is happy.

Re:FWIW (2, Insightful)

nukem996 (624036) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365735)

In this case it would be best to use Thin clients. It would cut down the cost of having a powerful CPU and there would be no need for a hard disk. Power would also be conserved(which is important considering you are on battery on a plane). To top it all of no matter how much someone screws with their machine on a reboot everything is restored.

Re:FWIW (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365791)

Battery? Surely they're running on electricity generated by the engines.

Not that power considerations are unimportant because of that, but they aren't that critical.

Dedicated turbine (4, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365917)

Not by the engines. Often it is a small dedicated turbine in the tailcone. That way you can have relatively quiet power while you are on the tarmac, and nobody gets sucked into the engines, and the relibility is higher because they are run at lower stresses ( ie: never at 100%, like the main engnes do at takeoff)

Re:Dedicated turbine (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366187)

Usually each engine has a primary generator that is powering the airplane's circuits. This ensures that an engine failure (or shutdown) does not turn the entire airplane off, but only reduces the available power. An airplane needs an awful amount of electricity to fly; even your common strobe lights, mandatory in flight, consume kilowatts, and the landing lights are usually more powerful and must be on during the landing. But there is plenty of more important hardware on board, such as engine and flight control, navigation, radio, deicing, gear, fire suppression, etc. Imagine losing all power at 40,000 ft at night - you could be falling like a stone and not knowing it ... because of that every passenger airplane made in last 50 years carries some batteries, and if they are used then they only feed the flight support group (essential instruments) and only for so many minutes (10-20) because of the current needed.

Also many airplanes have an auxiliary power plant, as you say placed at the tail, it is usually needed to provide fast moving air to spin the main engines, but can produce electricity as well. It is started by an electrical motor, which is powered from the truck on the ground. Batteries may be used, but only as an emergency measure.

Also some airplanes have a small external generator which can be used in an emergency. If you lose lots of power from engines at 40,000 ft you often have more altitude and more speed than you need (depends on where you plan to land,) and if so you can drop both and at the same time get some electrical power.

But in any case, an airplane is well provided with power, except in emergencies. A 50W here and there do not count, and besides the main cabin's lights and entertainment are the first to go if a power source fails.

Re:Dedicated turbine (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366465)

You don't know what the hell you're talking about. Strobes don't consume kilowatts. Batteries must supply all flight instrumentation for at least 30 minutes for certification. Deicing is almost all bleed air powered. Engines need no system power to run, even with FADEC. The airplane will not fall like a rock with a total electrical failure. APU's will start just fine without any truck, at all. Gear is hydraulic, not electric. There are a few electrics controlling it, but they have mechanical overrides that allow the flight crew to drop the gear and flaps without electrics.

Re:Dedicated turbine (2, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366399)

The thing you're describing is called an APU. It's used to start the jet engines, and to power the aircraft on the ground, but in most commercial aircraft, it does not provide in-flight power once the main engines are running.

As for scarcity, power isn't a terribly scare resource on an airplane. Remember, the engines are producing tens of MWs of power at cruise speed. Taking even a couple of hundred KWs off the main shaft to power electrical systems is not really a problem.

Re:FWIW (1)

Strider- (39683) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366073)

FYI, you're never on battery on a plane. While power supplies are limited, it's generated by the engines, either directly or by bleed air. (I can't remember which). Also, all modern aircraft have an air startable APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) on board that can be used to power the hydraulics and onboard electrics when the aircraft is on the ground, or should the main engines fail during flight.

Re:FWIW (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366443)

man, you're a moron if you think that reinstallation is the best option in this case. but what else should i expect out of a linux loser? poor little morons.

Will they let me install Emacs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365593)

If not, I don't think I'm going to be leaving my laptop at home any time soon?

This is not the first Airbus with Linux (5, Interesting)

S.Gleissner (536865) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365595)

Last year in february, i flew from Frankfurt, Germany to Johannesburg, South Africa with a brand new South African Airlines A340-400 Airbus. Just after boarding, the cabin crew resetted the In-Flight-Entertainment-System and several hundred screens in the seats showed a typical Linux booting screen with a small penguin in the upper left corner. They did not use a spash screen and it was possible to take a quick look at the booting messages... by the way, they made a network boot.

Security? (5, Informative)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365601)

Hope they secure these well. With all the business travelers it would be a great place to drop a rootkit. From the article it sounds like each seat actually has a thin client, which would in effect reinstall the OS after each user/flight which is good from a security standpoint. But with access to a keyboard and USB hub, it still sounds a bit more vulnerable to abuse than a standard kiosk.

Re:Security? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365683)

the system will be booting off ROM into RAM, so at best you could hack yourself till it got reset. it's about as secure as i can imagine.... besides is it really more of an issue then any other flight system out there now?

Re:Security? (2, Informative)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366175)

You don't have a very good imagination then. Adding a keyboard and USB significantly increases the risk, look at the TJ Max breach, they got access using a USB port on a kiosk (shouldn't have been on a trusted network but that's another issue). While I think the thin-client idea significantly helps, you could easily load a recent exploit via the USB drive then sniff traffic or perform other nastiness like ARP poisoning/MITM and grab usernames/passwords/CC info of those on the flight.

Why? (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365825)

They don't let you plug in anything, don't give you root, bash or anything that allows you to fiddle.

Reading is fundamental (2, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365921)

Which part of 'and there's a USB slot for importing/exporting documents or plugging in your own keyboard/mouse' didn't you get? I'd like to know that my documents won't be stored somewhere in some temp directory, personally. Security is a real issue for many business travellers.

Re:Reading is fundamental (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366079)

Normally they switch off the entertainment system before landing and switch it on after take-off. During these times, they play the "look for your nearest emergency exit, and figure out a way of getting past the big guy who is taking up two seats directly in front of you in the event we have to make an emergency landing in Lake Ontario message".

Re:Reading is fundamental (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366371)

It's quite possible that there are no executables on the system other than the browser and the OpenOffice. If the USB drive is mounted with '-o noexec' then you can't run your own apps either, and you can't execute anything from your $HOME either (can be also mounted noexec.)

Re:Why? (1)

crocodill (668896) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366195)

Sounds like they will let you plug things in...

Every seat is fitted with a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port that lets passengers access documents carried on a thumb drive or portable hard disk. The port can also be used to connect a USB keyboard or mouse, making it easier for business travellers to create and edit documents without having to dig out their laptops and power cords, Tong said.

Re:Security? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365869)

I assumed it's as usual in many public environments, with something like just a flat panel and some custom panel with buttons. :-)

And not many places to connect USB devices, keyboards, and stuff?

Re:Security? (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366381)

From the article it sounds like each seat actually has a thin client, which would in effect reinstall the OS after each user/flight which is good from a security standpoint. But with access to a keyboard and USB hub, it still sounds a bit more vulnerable to abuse than a standard kiosk.

IME such kiosks are likely to be *more* vulnerable, since people tend to forget that they're computers. And such a thin client is as close to invulnerable as it gets; without hacking the server or opening up the box, the only possible thing I can think to do to them is a hardware keylogger, and it's hard to make something with a keyboard that isn't vulnerable to that.

Well, no wonder. (3, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365605)

Airlines are not going to put an OS synonymous with "crash" in front of passengers. Everything, right down to the lighting has to work well to keep the appearance of order. Anything else makes the passengers nervous and looking for another airline.

Re:Well, no wonder. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365663)

Linux is the most suitable OS for that, since all you need to do is to reset the box, and everything is back to factory defaults. Even ThinkNIC (which I happen to have) used to do that, though it had a small (32 MB) persistent storage for bookmarks and such. You could also use a truly embedded kiosk system, but it wouldn't have many apps already written for it.

Re:Well, no wonder. (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366467)

Well if the embedded device just pulls the apps from a server, what needs to be written for it?

Re:Well, no wonder. (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365693)

KLM on-demand in-flight entertainment was great in one direction, fast forward, pause, anything.

Not so nice on the way back, about 1/3 of the seats had some kind of filesystem cross linking, the introduction menu was a piece of Shrek 2, any other movie would play the wrong one and then break. They tried to fix it by rebooting (making us all see that it was indeed that penguin-kernel running it), but it didn't work. This was back in 2005, but as others have already pointed out, it takes far more than just avoiding Redmond-ware to get a good system for that environment.

Re:Well, no wonder. (1)

yelvington (8169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365731)

I've been on a lot of painfully long international flights this year -- Paris, Prague, Tokyo, Seoul, Istanbul, etc. From Frankfurt to Atlanta I had a shiny-new Boeing 767 (it still had that "new plane" smell) running Linux on its entertainment system. From Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo I had an older 767 running Windows CE on its system.

On other long flights, I couldn't tell. I mean, the reality is that the custom UI is what the user experiences. Typically these things "crash" only when the power is abruptly yanked just before pushback. I am puzzled as to why they don't have a UPS -- battery weight, maybe. They work better than the PA systems.

The systems all work pretty much the same, which I suppose puts the lie to the Microsoft astroturfers who are constantly posting here about how Linux won't succeed because Grandma can't use it.

The only downside I've found (with either software) is that I don't get any sleep. Too many good movies to watch, games to play, and so on.

Someday I hope to fly Singapore -- their reputation is the best in the sky.

Re:Well, no wonder. (1)

mauriatm (531406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366169)

When I flew international in 2004, every movie was on a "channel" and everyone watching that movie would be doing so at the same time. However in early 2006, I too saw Linux in flight. Now the movies were ondemand with fast forward, pause, etc. But like most people I saw the system reboot WAY too much, one 2.5hr long movie crashed at least 4 times in between. Thank goodness for fast-forward. But I agree the GUI is really what makes the difference not necessarily the operating system.

The systems all work pretty much the same, which I suppose puts the lie to the Microsoft astroturfers who are constantly posting here about how Linux won't succeed because Grandma can't use it.

Linux on a general purpose desktop is NOT the same as a tailored networked in flight media kiosk.

The only downside I've found (with either software) is that I don't get any sleep. Too many good movies to watch, games to play, and so on.

I totally agree. In some ways I wish there was a mandatory "all off" period.

Re:Well, no wonder. (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365733)

Well, following your logic, now they have an OS synonymous with "difficult" in front of passengers.

Of course neither of the adjectives is valid, as you probably well know.

Re:Well, no wonder. (1)

Bloater (12932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366117)

Most of them will have never used or heard of Linux, that means it doesn't carry any meaning for them and is thus not synonymous with anything.

Re:Well, no wonder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366259)

this is twitter we're talking about. He doesn't know jack shit except blaming microsoft.

Re:Well, no wonder. (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365985)

The 1990s called and would like their Win95/98/ME FUD back. Most people have an extremely short-term memory (see: elections) and in recent years with XP it's been mostly stable. It will go months between every time I have an involuntary shutdown (but sometimes it seems to build up cruft so a reboot is necessary - a scheduled one is still a lot different from a BSOD). Unless you're talking to someone that got a machine infected by viruses and shit, people actually won't curse like they once did. It works well enough that Windows crashes are actually on the noise level of power outages and application crashes, yes they're annoying but you're not buying an UPS for it, nor are you switching to Linux. And please don't compare Linux server uptimes with Windows desktop uptimes, Windows uptimes improve a lot on server class hardware too. In short, they're both stable enough for desktop use, so figure out what Linux does better instead of using antiquated and mostly irrelevant rethoric.

Linux on the A380... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365623)

... that is, if the A380 ever gets into commercial production. The article title should be about the 787 having the technology, since those are going to be flying commercially next year. I'm a bit biased (working for a 787 supplier), but facts are facts. Plus the title is misleading, since just one airline (Singapore Airlines) is installing this technology; it is not standard on either craft.

Re:Linux on the A380... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365689)

If you're going to troll, at least don't try to troll on something that's in the 1st sentence of the article text:

"Singapore Airlines will be rolling out the A380 superjumbo on October 26th"

StarOffice or Microsoft Office? (4, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365649)

TFA [singaporeair.com] says that the systems run Microsoft Office, not StarOffice. Unfortunately, their video doesn't show any office software, so it's hard to tell. Maybe someone will hack up a version of portable OpenOffice capable of running on the systems.

Re:StarOffice or Microsoft Office? (2, Interesting)

jours (663228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366089)

> TFA says that the systems run Microsoft Office, not StarOffice

Yeah, the two articles don't agree on that. But the system is based on the Panasonic eX2 [panasonic.aero] which is Linux by all accounts. And simple math (500+ seats times $299 per office license) tells you a single plane would have an IT cost roughly equivalent to that of a mid-sized company.

I think the smart money's on StarOffice here...

Re:StarOffice or Microsoft Office? (1)

Bloater (12932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366221)

Perhaps they use "Microsoft Office software" as a descriptive term for software that processes Microsoft Office files.

A380? (0)

n0dna (939092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365667)

Hasn't every single customer canceled their orders for these things?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/03/business/worldbu siness/03airbus.html?ex=1330578000&en=10af4fc9a19a 34e5&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss [nytimes.com]

Why not put this system in planes people might fly in?

Not according to the article you link to (2, Informative)

fantomas (94850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365793)

Not according to the article you link to. That's talking about freighter version.

Re:A380? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365807)

Did you miss the part in the article where it was specified it was the freighter version, not the passenger liner version, which had no customers?

Re:A380? (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365827)

That's for the cargo version of the plane. Note that your article states that Airbus had diverted resources to work on the passenger version of the plane, which is the subject of the current article.

Wow, so many licenses! (0)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365705)

With that many linux users on each and every flight, Linux stock should be soaring. Imagine when every airline passenger clicks the EULA and authenticates with a license key that doubles as their credit card number, WOW! Torvalds will be richer than Gates in no time!!!!

Re:Wow, so many licenses! (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366103)

You're obviously joking, but just for the sake of saying it: the GPL covers distribution, not use, so those passengers don't need to agree to anything at all, let alone a license.

But hey, here's a question: Let's say the airline makes a bunch of modifications to the GPL software they're using. I understand that they do not need to release those modifications unless they distribute the software. Does making Linux-machines available to their customers count as distribution?

Re:Wow, so many licenses! (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366151)

But hey, here's a question: Let's say the airline makes a bunch of modifications to the GPL software they're using. I understand that they do not need to release those modifications unless they distribute the software. Does making Linux-machines available to their customers count as distribution?

I shouldn't think so.

The software stays in one place - the airplane's computers. The passengers do not download the binaries, they just use the software while flying.

Re:Wow, so many licenses! (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366179)

"Let's say the airline makes a bunch of modifications to the GPL software they're using. I understand that they do not need to release those modifications unless they distribute the software. Does making Linux-machines available to their customers count as distribution?"

No.

Re:Wow, so many licenses! (2, Informative)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366379)

It wouldn't count as distribution any more than making Linux available to your employees would be distribution. The aircraft and the on board systems belong to the airline, the airline is making them available to customers, if they would let you take the machine home then it would be distribution. Even if you were using windows and the associated MS back office kit, you would only need to have licenses for each seat, not each new user, and you certainly wouldn't need to have a license that covers distribution (again, unless you give the kit away at the end of the flight..).

OT - Does anyone know when they started making you give back the earphones you used to get in flight? I remember when I was a kid that you could keep them, now you have to give them back... (not that I want them but it was a fond memory of sorts.)
 

Re:Wow, so many licenses! (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366401)

I don't think so, at least not under GPLv2. They've only distributed copies to each machine, not given copies out to customers. I'm not sure how this changes under GPLv3

Slashdot Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365713)

I love how slashdot ignored the Boeing 787 rollout last month, while it posts this insignificant bit about the Airbus A380 just because of the minute Linux connection.

The A380 has a lot of problems and issues. This is hardly the most newsworthy of them. Editors, please get some priorities.

Re:Slashdot Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366423)

I love how slashdot ignored the Boeing 787 rollout last month, while it posts this insignificant bit about the Airbus A380 just because of the minute Linux connection.

Evidently you've stumbled onto the wrong website. This is the one you wanted. [everythinggirl.com]

think of the power regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365759)

While this is sweet and all, I really don't want to know the kind of power-quality all those system's are going to have on the power grid of this plane

to keep it cheap they will use commodity parts which means single-phase PSU, which means a hell of alot of THDi and an increased possibility of imbalanced loads (ie neutral current). Aircraft power generation does not have much headroom (each 3KVA of power adds another KG in weight which isn't good for aircraft). and since the local grid doesn't have much capability (~600kVA... with electrical actuation as well) the distortion from these PC's are going to have a biig influence on the system

finally (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365775)

nerds can join their own version of the mile high club!

I for one... (1)

Marrshu (994708) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365809)

... welcome our new linux-carrying plane overlords! Wait? Wrong Meme? ...oh

Yeah, but does it run linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366495)

"linux-carrying plane overlords"? Imagine a beowulf cluster of those...
Now mod me "+5 Funny", you insensitive clod!

Nothing To See... (1)

excelblue (739986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365847)

I'm a frequent traveler and have already seen the KrisWorld systems that were in place on the Boeing 777-300ERs that Singapore Airlines have. It's really just an entertainment system that runs on top of Linux and nothing much more. It doesn't offer more than what other in-flight entertainment systems offer. To add on, I saw this back in 2006, so the system isn't new. I wouldn't be surprised if they used the system on their new A380s, as it does the job.

Though, I have to say that my main impression of the system was ingrained into me when it crashed in the middle and rebooted with a little penguin logo at the top-left. This actually happened two times in flight. It makes me wonder how badly these things might damage the reputation of Linux in general.

Re:Nothing To See... (1)

aaron alderman (1136207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366333)

> It makes me wonder how badly these things might damage the reputation of Linux in general.

Don't worry. There's a Linux consultant/technician on board.

Please (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20365929)

Tell me these are networked with the computer helping fly the plane. ;)

Re:Please (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366057)

At least the machines aren't running Vista, or you might see something like:

"User 'captain' is attempting to take control of the system. Cancel or Allow?"

(passenger hits "Cancel," airliner falls out of the sky)

Re:Please (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366235)

But it also sucks if just before landing you find out that your kernel doesn't have the right drivers for your landing airbrakes ...

Thin clients (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366201)

When I flew on a Boeing 747 just a year ago, they still had the "old" SNES-oriented systems at every seat (think staple games, SNES-influenced controller, oldskool graphics), but from my sleep-deprived eyes they appeared to be used as thin clients to the usual Linux setup that some have already mentioned here (I watched as the console at the seat next to me, um... crashed, and promptly rebooted with the usual Linux startup stuff that some have mentioned above).

ODF (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366209)

This could help with the uptake of ODF (and possibly odf compatibility in MS products), if enough people do their work in transit on these machines.

Didn't these guys learn anything from "The Net"??? (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366363)


    Surely, someone will r00t the terminal, take over the plane's guidance systems, and from there, the entire air traffic network!!!

Re:Didn't these guys learn anything from "The Net" (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366447)

This is one thing I liked about Die Hard 4 (besides Bruce Willis killing a heli with a car) --- the fact that they actually acknowledge that not all computers in the universe are connected to the public internet. I like how they had to physically break into the power station to hack the computers controlling the grid.

Keyboards? Mice? (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366439)

Lord, I don't know which would be the worse nightmare - being behind the guys taking full size keyboards and though a TSA checkpoint on a bad day, or sitting beside them when they try to use the full size with number pad keyboard on typical tray table.

Virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366509)

Good, now it's less likely that someone will put a virus on the plane's computers.
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