back to article HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

The Royal Navy’s brand new £3.5bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently* running Windows XP in her flying control room, according to reports. Defence correspondents from The Times and The Guardian, when being given a tour of the carrier’s aft island – the rear of the two towers protruding above the ship’s main deck …

Signal flags

Wonder if we'll have to have a new flag signal for: "Undergoing blue screen of death. Unable to navigate or communicate until reboot and chkdsk complete".

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Re: Signal flags

Nope, that would be (Win) 10 black balls up the mast.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_shapes

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Latest != Best

When your life depends on the correct operation of a computer system, would you rather rely on a system that has been tested to buggery while running the same code for the past 10 years, or on a system that is getting several untested updates every 4 weeks?

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Facepalm

"Though the British public sector keeps bunging Microsoft ever larger sums of cash to keep up extended XP support"

Wasn't part of our recent problem due to the fact our glorious, strong and stable leader elected not to keep paying for support and patches for XP?

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Anonymous Coward

Everything should be on nix

Windows is OK for playing counterstrike or watching cat videos.

Every government system should be on a Unix variant, owned by the stare and developed by state funded research units like universities - just write a development language and make every supplier meet a set of basic standards. Apple can roll this shit out in a year, it's not beyond the realms of possibility for the government to do it in 5yrs.

It is beyond incompetence to be running Windows in a state function.

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Re: Everything should be on nix

"it's not beyond the realms of possibility for the government to do it in 5yrs"

Best one yet. Look how long it took to get started on building the carrier.

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Re: Everything should be on nix

Lovely idea, totally inoperable in practice

Firstly anyone who knows about government standards will realize that 5 years is just enough time for the various departments to decide the color of the binders for the requirements spec. When the spec does come out it will be costly, over specified and totally irrelevant to the modern world.

Secondly it is not the OS, but what runs on top of it that is the costly bit. Developments target windows because that is where the market has gone. We think governments spend a lot of money on IT, but this is dwarfed by the commercial sector.

and it is not always easy to port between OS.

Take SCADA. i am sure there will be some SCADA systems running on the QE, and they will be run on some variant of windows. Why? Because the primary protocol for SCADA is OPC and that requires DCOM as its communication back end, which is propriety to windows

Finally, you assume that UNIX variants are immune to cyber attack, where in fact any OS can be targeted with enough money and resources. It is just the that windows popularity makes it the more obvious target.

What is needed is a move to open standards and this is where government can nudge companies. If we have have open standards, porting between OS becomes easier and market can choose based on their needs and priorities. This is happening slowly because firms are wary of vendor lock in

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Re: Everything should be on nix

it's not beyond the realms of possibility for the government to do it in 5yrs.

I would suggest that it most certainly is, and I base that on the total lack of competence and success across a huge number of public sector tech projects. I love the idea of the country not being beholden to crappy companies like Microsoft, but I can't see the British public sector ever being capable to maintain the circa ten million lines of code of a significant OS, and presumably the similar number of lines of a Linux office suite.

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It needs to work and be understood

They need to know that when they press fire it will do what it has been designed to do. It it's not a mature, tested, and understood system then it's difficult to build confidence in it. These systems are incredibly complicated and take many years to develop. You don't want to press FIRE to get a message saying MS has restricted you to one missile in the latest security patch.

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Anonymous Coward

I learnt today that there is actually something called Windows For Submarines.

Holy Seamen, Batman.

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Very nice!

How many social housing units, hospital beds and school places does it add?

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Anonymous Coward

So the aircraft carrier without aircraft runs on XP

You couldn't make it up!

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Holmes

Re: So the aircraft carrier without aircraft runs on XP

Look on the bright side: 1 It hasn't sunk yet. 2 Without aircraft it doesn't matter what shit you use for flight-ops.

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Anonymous Coward

What will the F35s be using?

All 12 of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Anything involving the MOD takes forever, even small projects take 18+ months.

As it takes so long the software or hardware is out of date when ordered and then has to be updated. They can only order what is available and certified for use. New versions require recertification = time and cost, but the MOD doesn't pick up the cost. That is for vendor or supplier to pick up.

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Russia, be afraid, very afraid

https://youtu.be/9c7p45KZVPs

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Anonymous Coward

Scotland

I have searched many websites but I can't find proof. A few months ago Nicola Sturgeon was talking from some sort of Scottish security headquarters and I could see the screen behind her. It really irritated me when I saw the windows XP green start menu button. So much so I mentioned it to my mum who knows nothing about computers. I guess I was a little worried what with the recent Manchester or London attack. Theresa may talks about getting rid of the safe places online to hide but what about tor? I want more details about what gchq is doing with the 40 million they got. If 256bit encryption can be cracked now how can the military be confident this new battleship won't get hacked and shoot down our own aircraft?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scotland

So much for the old conspiracy that said the military were 50 years ahead of the general public in terms of technology. I feel capitalists got their hands on it and that's why we advanced so quickly. It's time to switch off the internet (call it a soft shutdown) to prevent the ensuing chaos that would result.

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And in a few hours time, the ship will abruptly stop dead in the water as all the terminals start displaying:

"Ooops, your important files are encrypted. If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible..... To guarantee that you can recover all your files safely all you need to do is submit the payment and purchase the decryption key. Please follow the instructions: 1. Send $300 worth of Bitcoin to...."

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MJI
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Or send a missle

The government are discussing this as an answer.

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Windows

Windows for Warships

I thought the last version was Windows 3.11 for Warships ... even if they upgrade to Windows 10, they will be vulnerable next week ... use OpenBSD, seriously ... I do not pay taxes in Britain, but as a British tax payer, I would blow a fuse.

I will repeat once more: Windows has NOTHING to do in production systems, regardless of version; nothing to do in production systems .... AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO in defense systems ... if you run Windows in production, I consider you an idiot ... you know where the down-vote button is, if that can help you feel better :D

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Happy

Re: Windows for Warships

I made a few people feel better :-) Love, dudes!

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A step up

Well, it's a step up from the type 45s which are still running windows 2000 for their weapons control systems.

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I want to know why on earth the Brits are even using Windows or any microsoft software at all. Don't the powers that be both reading the newspapers, let alone The Register?

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Windows

One thing we can all agree on...

You'll know that this OS decision was truly bone-headed if it turns out the ship is on Win XP Service Pack 1 »:)

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Maybe not XP but....

I'm pretty sure I heard mention of something called "Windows for Warships" many years agp. Sounded frightening then, doubly so now.

There is no excuse for designing Windows into any mission critical system. You might want to use it in the cafeteria cash registers or something like that but the idea of using it in a system that needs to be reliable and extensible is....

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Happy

Make Britain great again

(nice cartoon in Dutch newspaper)

http://www.volkskrant.nl/foto/collignon-2~p4368444/4532514/

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Ransomware

Well at least XP is immune to the current scourge of ransomware.

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Newer != Better

Xp is a robust system and as others have said if it goes nowhere near the Internet and isn't fed USB dongles and dodgy CDROMs whats the issue?

XP is probably the only OS that I couldn't manage to BSOD (Even NT wasn't that hard to screw up if you had a dodgy device driver)

Adding more code (and probably more bugs and holes) and making an OS look 'flat' or 'modern' doesn't always equate to better.

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Re: Newer != Better

I have seen fewer BSOD's on NT4 and 2k combined than on XP, the first NT4 system I saw was in 1998. Had been using 2k until 2006 as secondary Windows Desktop (primary was Linux, of course).

XP would bluesheen when I looked at it weird ... I dunno, it is the PlaySchool user interface that reminded you of PlayDoh or Duplo ? Is that your thing ? I dunno ... compared 2k, any sane person would say that 2k, with the memory requirements was just better ... HELLO, you have two OS', the only difference being USB2 and a fsck'ing FisherPrice ui with 4 times the memory requirements to display a ui in Primary fsck'ing Colors, you are insane ... and you could hack the XP USB2 driver to run on 2k ...

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"we are less susceptible to cyber than most.”

Cyber what? Probably Cybermen.

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Coat

Brings new meaning...

...To the Blue Screen of Death.

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XP on QE - what about PAAMS?

Given the carriers are meant to be defended by type 45 missile destroyers, shouldn't we be more worried about the OS being used to launch and track the missiles?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAAMS

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Operational? or Test Software?

Given the present state of play on that ship, I imagine there's more test software on board than operational stuff.

If test s/w is running on XP I don't see what the fuss is about.

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Coat

Re: Operational? or Test Software?

If test s/w is running on XP I don't see what the fuss is about.

Windows 10 is Swiss Cheese

Windows 8.1 is Swiss Cheese

Windows 8 is Swiss Cheese

Windows 7 is Swiss Cheese

Windows Vista is Swiss Cheese

Windows XP is Swiss Cheese

Windows 2k is Swiss Cheese

Windows NT4 is Swiss Cheese

Windows 2016 (all versions) is Swiss Cheese

Windows 2012 R2 (all versions) is Swiss Cheese

Windows 2008 R2 is Swiss Cheese

Windows 2008 is Swiss Cheese

Windows 2003 is Swiss Cheese

Anythings after, between, and before is Swiss Cheese.

Get the picture or need some more ? I could have written Windows is Swiss Cheese, but then you would have stupidly asked "Which version, Windows 95 ?" ....

As I have already written multiple times, I can easily impersonate anybody who is currently logged on to any of those systems, enterprise-wide, with local admin rights ... which I can easily gain with a malformed PDF, Word, Font, flash file ... you name it ... any system a currently logged on user has access to, I can log on to, gain local admin rights and spread ... it is dead easy. This problem is due to the fact MS think because they have proprietary software, hidden API's, they think that user x who has local admin rights on system y has these rights limited to system y, which is not the case, again, I only use standard API's ... If I can convince a domain admin to log on to my system, to troubleshoot an issue I would have created, I own the domain ... any computer in the domain, that has a session open as a user from another domain admin (from another domain) in the forest, I can become domain admin in that domain ... and so forth, here, no exploit needed ... Now, try that on a Linux box in a domain .... won't happen ... ;-)

A zero day, or a gullible domain admin and I own your enterprise. Thing is, MS do not know how I do it, it is dead simple, scriptable, no "exploit needed for the spread" ... I use published API's ... they are dumb enough to publish them ... and have not yet figured out how I do it ... been doing it since Windows 2003 ... and it works from 2k onwards ..., never tested NT4 ... it still works in 2016, i tested it ... ;-)

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Trollface

Re: Operational? or Test Software?

I can hear the teeth crunch of the many slurp shills on this site who must be calling their devs NOW, on a Saturday, asking them how I could be possibly doing it ... I'm loving it :D ... Remember, I only use PUBLISHED API's, douche bags!

Yours sincerely,

Hans 1

Microsoft MHP

Adobe MHP

Accenture MHP

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Anonymous Coward

Thanks Register for spreading the word that the ship runs XP. Mission accomplished.

Now everyone remove the "XP lookalike screensaver". The journalists have swallowed the bait.

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Anonymous Coward

Not all us lost

Some suppliers said Windows for Warships is so shit and risky that they would only build using Linux.

The console software and sonar is not Windows.

Good for them.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

cortana

well at least cortana doesn't control the weapons of the warship

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