Linux In An Aircraft’s Chair

Linux in the chairOver the last years I've seen Linux being used in quite a number of places from churches to airplanes. Here's an other airplane example of which I could take a picture when the on-board information and entertainment system of an A320 rebooted before the flight. Judging by the copyright notice and other messages during the boot procedure it was based on a Red Hat Linux from back in 2002 running on an Intel x86 based system with 500 MB of RAM. Each seat seemed to have it's own embedded system as the boot process did not go through the same stages everywhere at the same time. 2002, that was 13 years ago… Quite an eternity in the digital age…

One thought on “Linux In An Aircraft’s Chair”

  1. 2002 would be one of the very last version of RHL, before it was replaced by Fedora and other distributions.

    I am actually not so surprised. Embedded systems tend to have very long life-cycles, and complete OS revamps are done only if one can re-certify them for the intended usage without undue economic and technical effort. I presume these on-board systems must undergo some FAA or EASA validation — and once one is sure it is not broken, there is little incentive to fix it.

    The real killer that would require constant upgrades is whenever the system can access the Internet — like the supposedly “smart” household appliances being peddled nowadays.

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