back to article US Navy buys Linux to guide drone fleet

The US Navy has signed off on a $27,883,883 contract from military contractor Raytheon to install Linux ground control software for its fleet of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones. The contract covers the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River in Maryland, which has already spent $5,175,075 beginning to install Linux …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong focus.

    While everyone argues about terminology like "buy linux" , or which operating system is best for the job, meanwhile nobody is paying attention to how retarded and fucked up all these wars by all our respective corrupt piece of shit governments are.

    If linux is going to be the cause of billions of deaths of the global population by this evil fucking new world order bankster cabal, at some point, preferably before you yourself are targeted for kill list, to quit supporting motherfuckin linux, or to destroy it completely.

    But go ahead argue about the details bullshit... in 3, 2, 1

    1. John A Blackley
      Coat

      Re: Wrong focus.

      'evil fucking new world order bankster cabal'

      I think you have all the details covered.

      Mine's the one with the tinfoil hat in the pocket.

      1. Tom 13

        @John A Blackley

        I forget, is 'bankster cabal' the current code word for 'the Jooose!' or does he actually have to mention them explicitly for 1st place tinfoil hat award?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrong focus.

      buying linux serves no purpose. i use windows with metro every day and it is far more secure than free software. besides, metro hasn't killed anyone yet. you should just relax.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Wrong focus.

        You're trolling, right?

        Microsoft will sell Windows for Warships to whoever has the money to buy it. That's willingly sell, as in with full knowledge of what it will be used for.

        But hey, that's obviously the same as a bit of freely-distributable software ending up at UAV ground control because it's freely distributable.

        1. Spearchucker Jones
          Alien

          Re: Wrong focus (@M Gale)

          I'll say it up front - I'm a self-confessed, unredeemable Microsoft, Windows Phone and Windows 8 fanjob. I've have yet to see metrics for W8, but I know for a fact that Windows 7 is the most secure *off-the-shelf* OS ever built.

          That said, I acknowledge that you can take an OSS Linux distribution and harden the crap out of it by removing everything except what's needed to perform the required task. So if I were willing to forgo flexibility and extensibility for security, *non-COTS* Linux is doubtedly more secure than Windows.

          1. Chemist

            Re: Wrong focus (@M Gale)

            "but I know for a fact that Windows 7 is the most secure *off-the-shelf* OS ever built."

            I find your omnipotence awesome !

            1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
              Headmaster

              Re: Wrong focus (@M Gale)

              Wouldn't that be omniscience? Though given that, he's probably omnipotent as well...

              1. Chemist

                Re: Wrong focus (@M Gale)

                Actually I think it's more like wishful-thinking

          2. M Gale

            Non COTS Linux

            This would be, one presumes, why the US DOD is the maintainer for SELinux.

            After the amount of hardening and custom tweaking a Win box would need, you might as well roll your own!

            1. M Gale

              Re: Non COTS Linux

              My bad.

              The US NSA.

          3. Volker Hett

            FLAME away

            The trojan, in this case :)

          4. foo_bar_baz

            Re: Wrong focus (@M Gale)

            Red Hat Enterprise Linux comes with SELinux by default. Since you know it for a fact, please tell us how Windows 7 is more secure.

          5. Reallydo Wannaknow
            Linux

            Re: Wrong focus (@M Gale)

            "... but I know for a fact that Windows 7 is the most secure *off-the-shelf* OS ever built" -- sources, please? Direct, "apples-to-apples" comparisons? Benchmarks?

            One can buy Red Hat Enterprise Linux "off-the-shelf", so please provide a detailed comparison. Include virus, malware, and trojan testing, using real-life, existing "in the wild" examples.

            Otherwise, STFU!

        2. P. Lee Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Wrong focus.

          Perhaps they were burnt by a windows OEM deal where the licenses couldn't be transferred if the pc died...

          1. dssf

            Re: Wrong focus.

            Actually, you make a very good point! I don't want my tax dollars wasted on a license that is non-transferrable. Well, if it is in fact non-transferrable. Otoh, it might be ms access run-time executables getting blown up, not the native, modified-ein win install.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Aussie ambulance computers

        "Computers which co-ordinate NSW's ambulances are back online in three of the state's regions after a major virus forced staff to shut them down for more than 24 hours".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong focus.

        Metro probably has killed a few people through sheer stress.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong focus.

        Read the article carefully. They're switching away from Windows due to a malware outbreak last year.

    3. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Wrong focus.

      I do believe our AC@1850 may be on the wrong website. If he wants to discuss world peace and flower power, perhaps the CND or Greenpeace might be more appropriate.

      Or - this is a tech website, stupid.

    4. Martin Owens

      Re: Wrong focus.

      Sharks will lasers.

      1. Tom 13
        Mushroom

        Re: sharks

        Thats "frickin lasers" to you bud!

        Icon, cause you can do that if you've got enough sharks with frinkin lasers pointed at the same point.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrong focus.

      Those worried that they could become tainted by association with the military should probably stop using the Internet, as it is a commercialised derivative of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency's ARPANET. Then there's things like navigation systems that make use of GPS, a system developed for and run by the US military.

    6. C-N
      Mushroom

      Re: Wrong focus.

      Do you also hate Pb for the fact that it is useful for making bullets? Time to quit supporting motherfuckin' lead? Destroy lead completely?

  2. vagabondo
    Linux

    Cheapskates

    Someone must be falling behind with their "political contributions".

  3. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    Yuk

    One of the thoughts that has limited my contributions to open-source projects has been the possibility of something like this happening. You write some code and the next thing you know some bastard is using it to kill people and there is nothing you can do to stop them.

    It's like working for a pharmaceutical company on anaesthetic drugs and then discovering that the American government is buying them to use in executions.

    1. Chemist

      Re: Yuk

      I've worked for pharma on many drug projects - whilst I'd be VERY upset if the only purpose was death it's not - ditto with Linux

    2. vagabondo

      Re: Yuk

      Well, If you pay taxes you are paying for this stuff more directly. It is hard to support or buy any product and be sure it will not also be used by your enemies.

      1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

        Re: Yuk

        > If you pay taxes you are paying for this stuff more directly.

        That can be fixed by moving to a different country. Once you've released your code under a license like the GPL, it's irrevocable.

        1. stanimir

          Re: Yuk

          That can be fixed by moving to a different country.

          moving alone doesn't help if you're an US citizen. You have to lose the citizenship too.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yuk

          > That can be fixed by moving to a different country

          Indeed. So which country have you moved to?

    3. BlinkenLights
      WTF?

      Re: Yuk

      Wow, that's some really fucked up logic there. I suppose we should ban all open source software in case it might be used for some nefarious purpose.

      1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

        Re: Yuk

        > Wow, that's some really fucked up logic there. I suppose we should ban all open

        > source software in case it might be used for some nefarious purpose.

        No; but I think open-source projects should consider using licenses that disallow uses that the contributors to those projects would be unhappy about.

        1. Brad Ackerman
          FAIL

          Re: Yuk

          There are some open-source-like projects with a no-nefarious-use license (for varying definitions thereof), but...

          a) such licenses are, by definition, not open-source, and

          b) if the Elbonian military absolutely must have your software as a critical component of its puppy-blending missile, license terms aren't going to stop them.

          1. Old Handle

            Re: Yuk

            No, it could still be open source, it would not be FOSS (free and open source).

            1. Paul A. Clayton

              Not according to the OSD (I think)

              http://www.opensource.org/osd.html

              See point 6 ("No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor")

              While the main point of this is to expand the community by allowing commercial use, the general application means that one cannot discriminate against military use much less some difficult to evaluate concept of just war (i.e., what actions are sufficiently unjust). The military certainly does not have a monopoly on injustice--no human being acts perfectly justly.

              One also has the problem (even aside from any inability to enforce compliance) that restrictions tend to be insufficiently flexible (e.g., the classic no South African use restriction) or excessively flexible ("do not harm").

        2. Nuke
          Thumb Down

          @ Phil Endecott - Re: Yuk

          Wrote :- "No; but I think open-source projects should consider using licenses that disallow uses that the contributors to those projects would be unhappy about."

          That would be unworkably complex. Let's see just some things I am unhappy about -: out-of-town shopping centres replacing high streets, Antarctica being used for tourism, tractors used to clear rainforest, cars being used for drug smuggling, lorries being used for heavy freight insteat of railways ... do I need to go on with a few hundred more things that make me unhappy??

          As it happens, I don't have an issue with putting a rocket into a Somali pirate boat, for example.

          The point is, not my particular issues, but the fact that everybody will have loads of different ones. The thing would soon get unworkable.

        3. Giles Jones Gold badge

          Re: Yuk

          Did you not read the article? the use of Linux will already break the GPL as they will be linking with GPL C and C++ libraries and not releasing the source.

          They're getting around this by keeping all of the code private under secrecy laws and not asserting copyright on it.

          It's hardly likely anyone from the open source community will get hold of a drone to examine for GPL violations.

          1. davtom
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Yuk

            Under GPL, you only have to release the source code to a product if you also release the object code to that product, so that basically means that if they sold their munitions to a third party, then they would have to release the source code, otherwise they don't.

        4. Vic

          Re: Yuk

          > should consider using licenses that disallow uses that the contributors to

          > those projects would be unhappy about.

          No, absolutely not.

          As soon as you retain such "field of use" rights, the software is not Free. The copyright holders have unspecified and capricious rights to veto a recipient's use of the code. That's *at least* as bad a a proprietary licence...

          Free software means Freedom - even if we don't like the Freedoms someone else is exercising.

          Vic.

      2. Tom 13

        @BlinkenLights

        Do you think we should tell him weather reports were a closely guarded military secret in WWII because of their military use?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yuk

      On the other, because it's open source the communists/terrorists/mole people may also use the same software for their purposes and perhaps bring the Americans down a peg or two.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: open-source killer projects?

      "One of the thoughts that has limited my contributions to open-source projects has been the possibility of something like this happening. You write some code and the next thing you know some bastard is using it to kill people and there is nothing you can do to stop them", Phil Endecott

      Yea, not only that, open-source also contributes to global-warming and is used to exploit cheap-labour in the third-world

    6. Anonymous Coward 101
      Stop

      Re: Yuk

      'It's like working for a pharmaceutical company on anaesthetic drugs and then discovering that the American government is buying them to use in executions.'

      Or like working in a car factory and then discovering that some people use them to run people over. Or like working for a mobile phone company and discovering that some people use the phones as a rudimentary cudgel to brain people with. Or like...

      1. John Bailey
        Happy

        Re: Yuk

        "Or like..."

        Making up an excuse for not doing something one was not going to do anyway. OP is and was pretty pathetic.

        Seriously..

        ANY code can be used for nefarious purposes. If it wasn't Linux being used for this, it would be something else. The weapons would not stop being made.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yuk

      > One of the thoughts that has limited my contributions to open-source projects has been the possibility of something like this happening. You write some code and the next thing you know some bastard is using it to kill people and there is nothing you can do to stop them <

      Yup, nobody said the world is a fair place to live on.

    8. The BigYin

      Re: Yuk

      @Phil Endecott Your flawed logic is staggering. The tool (unless it is single purpose, like an M16) is not at fault. It's the human that puts that tool to use who is at fault. Baseball bats can kill people. Hammers can kill people. CDs and be used to kill people. Any chemist with time on their hand can choose to kill lots of people. Are you trying to suggest that all knowledge/items should be tagged with "Don't do bad things, m-kay?"

      And even if they were - do you really think someone who had murderous/lethal intent is going to give two figs about your petty little license? "In the interest of national security, you opinions can GTF" is the response I believe.

      Just about anything you do, for anyone at any time could potentially be turned around and used for something you don't like. So does this mean you contribute nothing?

      My, you must be a real joy to live with.

      1. Chemist
        Joke

        Re: Yuk

        "Any chemist with time on their hand can choose to kill lots of people"

        I do it regularly just to keep my hand in !

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yuk

          "Any chemist with time on their hand can choose to kill lots of people"

          Not Just Chemists! I'm sure many of the people reading this blog would be able to kill lots of people using a bit of ingenuity and a few purchases off ebay.

          That is why I am against current Gun Laws.

          If you want to go mad and kill people, you will do it anyway!

        2. Vic
          Joke

          Re: Yuk

          > I do it regularly just to keep my hand in !

          I notice "hand" is in the singular... :-)

          Vic.

      2. Tom 13

        @The BigYin: Hey!

        I'll have you know the M-16 is a fine weapon for varmit shooting. Of course if you live in Ole Blighty, you might not have any 4 legged varmits left to shoot.

        1. The BigYin

          Re: @The BigYin: Hey!

          @Tom 13 - Oh, there's a few urban foxes I'd love to take an M16 to. And a few neighbours who feed these mangy vermin.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Oh well done

    Well done AC, Collateral damage on the operating system front.

    Fire off that lethal logic in all directions at once, liquid lunch time in Redmond I presume.

    Gun triggers are often made from alloy, lets burn all alloys!!!

    There is madness in the world but FOSS is not a big source AFAIK.

  5. Crazy Operations Guy
    WTF?

    Ironic

    I find it funny that the government has full access to the Source Code for Windows, yet there are huge chunks of Linux that are unreadable (Binary Blobs all over the kernel).

    1. Chemist

      Re: Ironic

      "yet there are huge chunks of Linux that are unreadable (Binary Blobs all over the kernel)."

      WHAT !

    2. M Gale

      Re: Ironic

      Uhm, a couple of notable wifi and video card manufacturers only releasing binary drivers does not "Binary Blobs all over the kernel" make.

      In most cases, those binary drivers are additional downloads, and don't come with the distribution.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ironic

      > I find it funny that the government has full access to the Source Code for Windows

      They probably looked at it, and realised it was sh*t. Didn't you consider that possibility too ?

  6. sueme2
    Linux

    linux gpl

    Linus himself said ( it think he said ) Linux can be used for ANYTHING. Even nuke Australia if you want to. So? if they retain copyright on their mods, what are they doing wrong? They OWN the software, it is theirs for whatever purpose they want. Just as my software is mine for my purposes, and I retain my copyright. If you are smart, you do not use an injury prone operating system in anything that goes bang. So what else are they going to use, Nintendo, PS, or Xbox? iPod??

    1. Rich 2
      Happy

      Re: linux gpl

      While I agree with what you're saying, why not use BSD or some other non-GPL OS. Apart from being better designed, and simpler, there are no GPL worries to get in the way.

      Of course it's not just the OS that's an issue when it comes to GPL, but it's a good start and there are many alternatives to GPL libraries and applications anyway.

      1. Joe Cooper

        Re: linux gpl

        They seem perfectly comfortable with GPL and even have a policy about proper use of it rather than just doing whatever and marking it classified.

      2. Jordan 1
        Joke

        Re: linux gpl

        Their drones probably require a proprietary blob that isn't available for BSD and can't be effectively wrapped.

        Imagine if one of those things crashes. They'll pull the black box to see what happens, and all they'll see is:

        [20.209801] rudder: module license 'NORTHRUP' taints kernel.

        [20.213241] Disabling lock debugging due to kernel taint

  7. Crazy Operations Guy
    Devil

    From next year's headlines

    Thousands of Linux machines infected with new spy malware; targets vulnerability in out-dated version of kernel.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: From next year's headlines

      Corporate servers managed under a change control regime likely already fall under this description.

      According to your rationale, we should already being such headlines. Probably should have seen such headlines years ago.

      1. seven of five

        Re: From next year's headlines

        But the average ERP system does not chuck around 70mm rockets, so it is less prone to do the headlines...

      2. Tom 13
        Black Helicopters

        Re: we should already being such headlines.

        No you wouldn't. Breaking Linux like that would require State Sponsored Malware Teams with programmers of the highest caliber. And they'd be doing their damnedest to make sure the viruses stayed hidden until they needed them.

  8. Maurice Tate

    FULL SOURCE CODE is the key. Take out what you don't need, get a small, fast kernel with very few holes, as opposed to a proprietary OS bloated with bells and whistles and full of holes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err...

      A bit like Windows then, if you're anything like an important customer...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahem...

    Surely they'll be a bit peeved when the new drones are delivered in kit form and they have to put them together themselves.

    (Do you see what I did there?)

    1. M Gale

      Re: Ahem...

      Same as my last Windows gaming rig, then?

      (and with the proliferation of online activations, Internet required for single player, half the game being an extra download, and Steam, it'll probably be my last Windows gaming rig in another sense)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahem...

      Well, I've just got back from the pub to see one upvote and three downvotes.

      It. Was. A. Joke.

      Get a sense of humor.

      Linux pays more than 75% of my wage, by use of OS on a daily basis. I am a linux fan, but I do like to have fun poked at me...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahem...

        I wouldn't worry about downvotes too much, they can be bought and are probably already forming part of a "marketing push" for brand x or OS Version 8 etc.

        I would consider posting as your own identity where possible so the amount of AC trolls is reduced and we can keep this above faceless corporate psychology.

        Oh and if it helps

        haha.

        ha.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ahem...

          @Powernumpty - I don't care at all about downvotes, I really care about people getting a perspective and realising that having fun poked at them isn't a threat to their software of choice.

          As for posting under my name - I stopped posting under my name a couple of years ago when in an thread about security, someone said that from my posts and name they thought they knew who I was and that they'd check out my and my employers security. I took that to be a threat and will not post non-anonymously any more. As it happens, I've been commenting here since you had to send a personal email to the author.

  10. Fibbles
    Coat

    The only reason they're switching to Linux is because they were sick of being reminded that they were 'performing an illegal operation' during missions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm...

      We need a badum-ching icon.

  11. arrbee
    Meh

    "The US government can directly combine GPL and proprietary/classified software into a single program arbitrarily, as long as the result is never conveyed outside the U.S. government..."

    So that does mean:

    a. they will only fire missiles with embedded GPL code at US government targets, and

    b. they will not be selling any weapon systems containing GPL code to other countries ?

    1. ricegf
      Linux

      Gnu GPL

      Well, it means that if they mod the kernel, and then convey a weapon with that kernel to another country, they would have to offer source code for the modified kernel. However, applications (flight control, navigate, fire control) that contain no GPL code would not be covered by the GPL merely because they run on the Linux kernel, thus, the "all-GPL" weapon system you envision isn't necessary at all.

      By the way, I believe that major government to government weapon sales typically include both source code and development stations, so the purchasing government can incorporate unique requirements and provide independent maintenance. So a GPL kernel is probably no change from business as usual.

    2. EvilPixieMan
      Mushroom

      @arrbbee - distribute source with the binaries

      > So that does mean:

      > a. they will only fire missiles with embedded GPL code at US government targets, and

      > b. they will not be selling any weapon systems containing GPL code to other countries ?

      Interesting point. AFAIK, the obligation to provide source is to those that you distribute to. In most cases where mass distribution is involved its simpler just to publish the source openly, and in most cases where you mass-distribute, even if you provide the source with the software, any of the recipients can publish more widely. That's why providing source is usually just taken to mean "publicly" but as far as I know the obligation is only to downstream recipients of the (binary) software.

      If they just package the source code with the device they'll meet their obligations.

      a. Said missile coming in over the border carries "full source code on board" - the "recipient" may not get much time for a review of the code, but may consider source code distribution requirements met :)

      b. Weapon system sold to foreign country comes with source, and customer is then unlikely to more widely publicise it, since it might compromise the expensive piece of kit they just bought.

      1. Vic

        Re: @arrbbee - distribute source with the binaries

        > AFAIK, the obligation to provide source is to those that you distribute to

        That is often not the case.

        The GPL gives you two ways of conveying source; you can ship it *with* the binaries, in which case you only have to distribute to your immediate downstream, or else you can ship it with a promise to distribute source to *any third party*.

        IOW, if you want to restrict your source shipment to your customers only, you must distribute source with every binary you ship.

        > If they just package the source code with the device they'll meet their obligations.

        Yes.

        Vic.

  12. Mikel
    Linux

    Glad to see it. Minor nit.

    Mikko Hypponen is indeed an F-Secure security researcher. But calling him that is a bit of an understatement.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikko_Hypp%C3%B6nen

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Combining GPL + proprietary in a single program?

    So the DoD say that you can combine GPL and proprietary in a *single program*. As well as, say, in the sense of application mixing (eg using gcc to compile missile.c). Is that first claim really valid? I wonder what rms thinks of it.

    Note I'm not making a political argument here - just one about mixing free and non-free in a single program.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Combining GPL + proprietary in a single program?

      The GPL restricts distribution, not use, of software.

      You can mix and match as much as you like with as much as you like, so long as it's not being sold on.

      Besides, those more cynical of us might say that the law is whatever the people with the guns say it is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Combining GPL + proprietary in a single program?

      If you incorporate OSS in something you're distributing to other users then you need to provide the source for that code, but if you're not distributing it to other users there's nobody to whom you have to make the source available. If your software uses OSS libraries you need to make their source available, but not the source for the bit you wrote, unless it's modified OSS.

      1. David Hicks
        Linux

        @AC 13:48

        "If your software uses OSS libraries you need to make their source available, but not the source for the bit you wrote, unless it's modified OSS."

        This is false, depending on license. In fact your whole post is false, depending on the license.

        The GPL does not allow you to link to libraries without your code also being under GPL.

        The LGPL does specifically allow this.

        BSD/MIT license lets you do whatever the hell you want.

        AGPL requires you to distribute the source even if the program is a hosted service (like a website).

        They are all different and all have different rules, and all OSS inclusions and links need to be considered carefully if you wish to use them from closed source code.

        I'd also like to say here that the DOD should be *extremely* careful about the circumstances in which they give source or binaries to contractors to work on. They could find that they've given redistribution rights to their entire codebase to the contractor or (if they make them sign away those rights) that they've violated the GPL by imposing a closed/stricter license on top.

    3. ricegf
      Linux

      Re: Combining GPL + proprietary in a single program?

      Compiling proprietary software with gcc is no problem - it's LGPL, and so that use case is specifically permitted.

      The GPL is "compatible" with various other licenses, but mixing GPL and your proprietary code in a single binary, and then conveying that program to a third party, would require use of a compatible license for your code. If the program is kept within the DoD, however, the proprietary license is fine. That sounds like the DoD strategy here.

    4. Vic

      Re: Combining GPL + proprietary in a single program?

      > So the DoD say that you can combine GPL and proprietary in a *single program*.

      Yes.

      > Is that first claim really valid?

      Yes.

      Vic.

  14. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I don't know...

    I just want my huge Linux-running autonomous helicopter toy! (and nobody's used this icon YET?)

  15. ZagZee
    Linux

    Penguin Nose Art

    Need samples of the Penguin nose Art these new drones are going to have.

  16. JaitcH
    FAIL

    We need new OperSource software conditions

    This software cannot be used for any military purposes.

    The only trouble is the US government regards international treaties as well as it's very own Constitution with utter contempt.

  17. TRT Silver badge

    Did you know...

    you can run an entire Nazi space death machine using iOS? I saw a documentary about it last night.

  18. Antoinette Lacroix

    Finally

    a good reason to write serious malware for Linux. It was about time.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least this puts paid to the OSS zealot who claims "using Linux doesn't cost anything". Only a few tens of $millions, bargain.

    1. ricegf
      Linux

      The "OSS zealot" almost certainly meant no licensing fees. Developing a product always requires funding. Depending on the product, generic OSS or a tailored proprietary solution may be most cost-effective. That's also why many corporations pay for Red Hat Enterprise or SUSE Linux Enterprise when Fedora and OpenSUSE require no license fees - they judge the value-adds as worth the cost.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A _proper_ zealot genuinely believes FOSS means free in both ways, as well as 'not evil', etc.

    2. Martin Owens

      It's Free as in Freedom, not Free as in cost. Once again it must be slowly explained to the hard of reading:

      Time costs money

      Asking for something to be made will cost you money or time

      Thus if the DoD was taking standard Ubuntu and sticking it on a single netbook, they would have burned hardly any money at all. On the other hand, developing a oll-your-own distro with all the bells and whistles that one's military hardware may want... that takes a "bit" more money than that.

      Again: The problem with proprietary is not that they charge money, it's that they restrict freedom. They do this in order to sell the exact same work they've already been paid to do, over and over. Regurgitated software for every mark who walks in the door.

  20. nixternal

    This is pretty cool for 2 reasons. 1) I was stationed at Pax River in 1994 where I met my x-wife. Her father worked on the drone project and he was the one who got me in to Linux back then. 2) My x-wife is part of this project and one of the main people in charge of this contract.

  21. winrez

    Great now I feel safe

    1) Why is the USA still using Windows XP ( the counseled should be fired) since we have Windows for legacy PC's

    2) don't they have to release the source code even if they didn't

    it wouldn't be to hard to find security holes or submit a back door

    the disgruntled worker and we will see them attacking the USA

    1. Jordan 1
      Linux

      Re: Great now I feel safe

      1.) Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs **IS** Windows XP. Running Windows FLP when the system supports Window XP provides no real advantage.

      2.) No, you do not have to distribute the source code when you make modifications to programs you don't plan on sharing.

      There are moles in every government. The choice of operating system does not change whether someone will try to leak information. If anything, using Linux makes it less likely that anything that was leaked would be useful, since the source code to Linux has been publically available for years, with relatively few holes found.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sunk by Windows NT

    So, OK, it's old (24/07/1998), but I couldn't resist this:

    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/1998/07/13987

    Windows for Warships, NT edition....BSOD...limp back to port....

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    We have to ask ourselves

    When Jesus comes back out of low earth orbit, with his mighty sword of righteousness, to behead all the christians and jews he doesn't like, what operating system will he use?

    1. Jordan 1

      Re: We have to ask ourselves

      If he uses BeOS, most of us are fucked.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Alan Brown Silver badge

    I seem to remember

    All the fanbois dissing linux security back in the day, and bigging up Win NT's security credentials as a reason why it was more secure for Internet use.

    (Security credentials which were only valid until the second a network port was activated.)

    There are a lot of attacks targetting Linux boxes, but most of them fail miserably because

    1: They can only get user-level privileges

    2: Patches tend to get issued almost as soon as the vulnerability is discovered.

    Even having said that, for safety-of-life critical stuff I'd try and avoid using x86 hardware. Low hanging fruit and all that...

  26. David Hicks
    Linux

    Contractor's rights?

    Surely if they give the source of this mixed license application to a contractor, the contractor (as a wholly separate entity) is entitled to modify and redistribute?

    And if they make the contractor sign away those rights it's a GPL violation?

    I'd be interested to know a real legal opinion here, but it sounds to me like it's not a proper licensed use of GPL code, and that any copyright holder that had a problem with it might have a pretty good chance of a successful lawsuit here.

  27. Claverhouse Bronze badge

    One may despise drones

    but it's probably better to have them guided by a proper OS and not something that flakes out like a mad thing under stress.

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