International Space Station switches to Debian 6.0 instead of Windows XP.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300"]ISS crewman using a Linux Thinkpad with a cool Star Trek wallpaper. ISS crewman using a Linux Thinkpad with a cool Star Trek wallpaper.[/caption]

The International Space Station has migrated all of its computers from Windows XP to Debian GNU/Linux 6.0. This will greatly add to the security of the computers on the ISS and although it requires retraining Cosmonauts in the use of the computers; this will have many benefits in the long run. Linux is more secure and reliable than Windows and this is a good move by the people in charge. Even with Service pack 3 installed; Windows XP is too susceptible to viruses and malware. Better to run an open-source operating system that allows the crew to re-write sections of the operating system themselves and patch software the same way. This is the true spirit of open-source software and ensures that Linux will become more popular than ever before. The proprietary software that the crew of the International Space Station was using on Windows XP was easily ported to Linux with a re-write and then they could use it on Linux. This is a win for Linux and shows that Microsoft do not have a monopoly on every market. They will have to improve the quality of their software and operating systems before everyone will trust it. That is the key. But they drastically changed the Windows interface in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. That has caused a less than stunning uptake of Windows 8 installations around the world. If even the crew of the ISS will not use Windows; then it looks like a bright future for Debian Linux.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"]A view of the now Linux powered International Space Station. A view of the now Linux powered International Space Station.[/caption]

I am using Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 on my laptop and I got Apache2 and MySQL working very easily without any fuss. Much easier than setting up a web server on Windows. Unless you are using IIS on Windows 2008 or 2012. But Linux has a long heritage as a server operating system and this makes it a better choice. The nature of the scientific work carried out on the International Space Station requires a computer system that is very stable with long uptime. Linux is perfect for this; it is very stable by default. They use Scientific Linux as well as Debian; the various distributions are perfectly suited for certain tasks. Some other computers run the Red Hat Linux distribution. The Large Hadron particle collider that is run by CERN uses Linux and the robot on the ISS is also powered by a Linux distribution. The International Space Station crew will be trained by the Linux Foundation in the use of the Linux machines and they will then be able to run their experiments easily with a stable and reliable desktop OS that is easily programmable with the Python, Perl and C programming languages that are easily installed on Linux. The Universe that we inhabit is an amazing one with many sights out there that are worth the trip if we ever develop the technology to travel to other planets. Read more about our Universe here:

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