Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

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Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby GarryRicketson » 2015-10-23 05:27

NASA, uses linux, and uses computers that can run linux, and there is a reason,

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/155392-international-space-station-switches-from-windows-to-linux-for-improved-reliability
And this one ,
http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/78141.html

Then there is more then just NASA,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_adopters
More and more people and organizations are starting to realize just how much more reliable and user friendly a unix like system is, Debian and other linux based distros , for many it is economics, as well as the reliability.
So any way, guess that is about it, it is easy to see when people make comments like
""Linux fails dramatically",...or "Linux just simply doesn't provide a working tool for me."
It is obvious they don't know what they are talking about, it is in reverse, Windows fails dramatically, and that is why organizations like NASA, and others decide to use linux.
I tried windows a couple of times, but couldn't get anything to work right, and it crashed so easily, so that is why I all ways stayed with linux, it is not worth the waste of disk space, nor the time, to try using the inferior OS.
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby thanatos_incarnate » 2015-10-23 06:00

Good times! Between big agencies like NASA and cities like Munich going Linux,
it spells good prospects for interoperability. It's just sad that this all happens
now that Linux is gaining traction financially. It seems that everything in capitalist
society becomes good or tolerable once it has a larger user base or lobby.
This actually frustrates me because people will not adopt Linux or tolerate
a certain ethnic minority (to dare an analogy here) because it's the right thing
to do and because morally/technically/for whatever reason it might be the right
thing to do, but only because things now have lobbies with suited salesmen.
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby dasein » 2015-10-23 08:35

GarryRicketson wrote:NASA, uses linux, and uses computers that can run linux, and there is a reason,

Well, yeah. They are rocket scientists. :mrgreen:
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby alan stone » 2015-10-23 11:52

dasein wrote:Well, yeah. They are rocket scientists. :mrgreen:

Considering how NASA, like all gov. agencies, is funded I'd say they're racket scientists. :mrgreen:
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby andre@home » 2015-10-23 17:00

GarryRicketson wrote:NASA, uses linux, and uses computers that can run linux, and there is a reason,
.............................
So any way, guess that is about it, it is easy to see when people make comments like
""Linux fails dramatically",...or "Linux just simply doesn't provide a working tool for me."
......
It is obvious they don't know what they are talking about, it is in reverse, Windows fails dramatically, and that is why organizations like NASA, and others decide to use linux.
I tried windows a couple of times, but couldn't get anything to work right, and it crashed so easily, so that is why I all ways stayed with linux, it is not worth the waste of disk space, nor the time, to try using the inferior OS.
Nice to read about that switch to Linux...

But I do not completely agree on the other remarks.

As well that it cannot always be true that people say:
""Linux fails dramatically",...or "Linux just simply doesn't provide a working tool for me."
it is also not the complete story that "Windows fails dramatically" and maybe for your case "and it crashed so easily,"...
That may be true for Win3.1/95/98 but not for most NT-based systems and derivatives from that (like Win-NT, 2000, XP, 7).
On my work and private those systems hardly crashed. I think they learned from Linux.... ;)
So one cannot state that Windows is always bad/dramatic.

I use what I need... so Linux and Windows.
From Win7 I found that the hardware recognition of some older hardware was great and new stuff, drivers came pretty fast. And very stable.

What i like about Linux, its Open Scource character, its transparency to most things (let's limit it to want I may understand...).

The way MS will operate Win10 (MS getting access to your PC more then ever), will mean that Win7 will likely be my last Windows system.
I started with Red Hat in the 90-ies, was "off-line" with Linux for some years and started >4 years ago with setting up a data server (via webdav Debian 6, recently Debian 8.1) for my son, challenged to get it done as a starting documentary photographer, soon stumbling around on his usb-hard-drives... we even have a mirror server on a safe distance in his home 180 km away...

So it will be more and more Linux for me in future, very likely Debian to stay in line with the server know how.
But...Scientific Linux .. from your NASA link.. never looked into it so far, as a scientist I should....

Let's not make it black and white, if Linux was so "indeed easy" as Windows... more people would have already switched.... at least for a big part true...?
Although in my surroundings several people switched from WinXP to Linux Mint... 8) but it's the minority....
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby dasein » 2015-10-23 18:54

andre@home wrote:But...Scientific Linux .. from your NASA link.. never looked into it so far, as a scientist I should....

I had a similar urge once. I found the Scientific Linux (SL) experience to be underwhelming.

On the off chance that you might find them useful, some random anecdotes in no particular order:

- At its root, SL is similar to CentOS--it's just RHEL compiled from source and rebranded. However, as RHEL respins go, SL is much less complete than CentOS.

- SL does have some science-oriented applications installed by default. But AFAIK, there's nothing in SL that's not available in Debian (or CentOS, for that matter). Edit: Maybe I'm wrong here. I have a very dim recollection of some CERN-written groupware widget that manged network shares with other SL installs (both local and remote); but (a) I never played with it, and (b) I could easily be remembering wrong.

- Because it's an incomplete port of RHEL, extending the features/functionality of SL (even something simple like installing an alternate DW/WM) typically involves enabling and managing multiple 3rd party repos.

Predictably, those 3rd party repos present inherent inconsistencies among themselves. Installing packages from any two almost always involved installing one package, disabling the first repo and enabling the second, installing the other package, etc. I found the experience to be eerily reminiscent of the "dependency hell" days of old.

I finally decided that the time demands imposed by said repo management far outweighed any purported benefit of SL itself. I had planned to test-drive SL for a full month of everyday use; I ended the experiment after just a couple of weeks.

- The best part of the SL experience is their user forum, which has a small but very knowledgeable user base. And because it attracts an inherently egghead user base, the incidence of (and need for) RTFM is near zero. Or at least it was back in 2012/2013.

YMMV, and all that.

Afterthought: All of these anecdotes/experiences were on SL v6. I've not seen nor touched SL v7.
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby andre@home » 2015-10-23 20:16

Thanks for your very interesting share of experiences!
Now at least have some more thoughts on what to expect. It was certainly not on top of my priority list... but now certainly no.
Will look for some more reviews that may add on your story.
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2015-10-24 12:57

It's all great, but I'm curious: Why are they switching to Debian 6 instead of Wheezy or Jessie? Maybe because of GNOME Shell not working on some older hardware (like mine)?
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby GarryRicketson » 2015-10-24 13:23

Why are they switching to Debian 6 instead of Wheezy or Jessie?

Did you look at the article ?
By Sebastian Anthony on May 9, 2013

Actually , it was not really "news", this was back in 2013, when it was written, Jessie, nor Wheezy had been released yet.
Debian 6.0.0 was initially released on February 6th, 2011, https://www.debian.org/releases/squeeze/,
Probably most people don't care. or have much interest in this, but to me it is a little but interesting, : From : https://www.debian.org/News/2011/20110205a
No longer news, but history, on Debian 6,
Another first is the completely free Linux kernel, which no longer contains problematic firmware files. These were split out into separate packages and moved out of the Debian main archive into the non-free area of our archive, which is not enabled by default. In this way Debian users have the possibility of running a completely free operating system, but may still choose to use non-free firmware files if necessary.

Then there is more on all the releases,past and present here:
https://www.debian.org/releases/
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby Wheelerof4te » 2015-10-24 13:35

I did look at it, but not the date, sorry. Hope they have upgraded :lol:
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby dasein » 2015-10-24 13:55

Wheelerof4te wrote:It's all great, but I'm curious: Why are they switching to Debian 6 instead of Wheezy or Jessie? Maybe because of GNOME Shell not working on some older hardware (like mine)?

I''m not NASA (would that I were!), but my guess is:

1) NASA actually began their switchover a year or two ago, IIRC.

2) NASA has oodles of legacy hardware. (Remember, it's not uncommon for NASA to build a rig, launch it, and then have to wait around for two years before they can actually deploy it.)

(Aw, snap. Beat to the punch. Oh well, no sense in wasting the electrons.)
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby GarryRicketson » 2015-10-24 14:11

Well , I don't know about that if they have "upgraded", but I am sure their "techs" and "rocket scientists" keep the systems as stable and reliable as possible.
As far as the "myth", that using the "shiniest" newest, most recent "upgrades" , and so many people are mislead into believing they have to have the newest most recent,.in order to have a stable system,...
Well it is a "myth",..mostly promoted by business men, not just in the computer industry, but everything. Think about it, what would happen if they designed autos to be reliable, easy to repair and used material that would last for 50 + years,like they used to do ? Once all the people but their car, there would be no need to buy another for the rest of their life, their would still be some market for parts, being mechanical , parts where out, and then people do "crash" and totally wreck them, so there would some market for new ones, but really, it is simply a economic thing, industry produces mostly throw away junk, and designers, engineers , deliberately design the junk, to be really neat, for a little while, then it needs to be replaced with something newer and "shinier", more sales are guaranteed if the products only last and are use able a little while, of course this also helps make sure there are more jobs available too.
Kind of drifted into another topic,
But anyway, I would think that the computers, and Operating system used in something like a "space station", would be designed to be long lasting and reliable, as well as the mechanical equipment, I mean, way out there some where in space, it really would not be very practical to just run down to the "wal-mart", and pick up another piece of junk , with the throw away , self destructive OS pre-installed, every time the "newest shiniest" thing ,degraded into trash, would it ?
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Just another example, we have 3 cars, 2 a Neisan and a Jeep "liberty", these are pretty new, and when they break down , it is a real head ache, being that we are in a very rural area, and both of these vehicle depend on very modern technical equipment, that no one in the area has, in order to diagnose the problem,etc.
I also have a old volks wagon, 1978,... do you know which one of the 3 vehicles never breaks down and is the most reliable ? The volks wagon, oh, it does need regular maintenance, valves adjusted, oil change, etc,..but it is the most reliable, it all ways still runs, and is available when the other 2 are broken.
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby dasein » 2015-10-24 15:17

GarryRicketson wrote:...the computers, and Operating system used in something like a "space station", would be designed to be long lasting and reliable, as well as the mechanical equipment, I mean, way out there some where in space, it really would not be very practical to just run down to the "wal-mart", and pick up another piece of junk , with the throw away , self destructive OS pre-installed, every time the "newest shiniest" thing ,degraded into trash, would it ?

Exactly. NASA's ground computers are probably relatively recent vintage, but when we're talking about systems deployed in outer space, reliability isn't just the most crucial thing; it's the ONLY thing.

Mindless consumerism and SNS simply to not play well when your deployment schedule is measured in years, often decades.

Trivia for today: Next time you hear someone whine about not having the latest ShinyShinyNewThing, or coveting the newest, fastest CPU, remind them (and yourself) that the Hubble Space Telescope runs on a 486.
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby No_windows » 2015-10-24 16:12

dasein wrote:
Trivia for today: Next time you hear someone whine about not having the latest ShinyShinyNewThing, or coveting the newest, fastest CPU, remind them (and yourself) that the Hubble Space Telescope runs on a 486.


Most people now, probably don't even know what a 484 is. I recall, about 10 years ago, mentioning a 486 and the person thought I meant mhz.
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Re: Why does NASA use linux instead of Windows ?

Postby GarryRicketson » 2015-10-24 16:19

about 10 years ago,

Closer to 25

The 486 was introduced in 1989

This turned up some interesting results, apparently they have had some problems, as well, but were able to recover. Rather then posting a bunch of links,
Hubble Space Telescope runs on a 486
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