Article By Giuseppe Sanna
We all know the incredible versatility of our beloved Linux. To our great pleasure we can find it in the PC of the school of our son, or on the netbook of our secretary, in the terminals of the Internet Café of Madrid but also, for the amazement of many, in the most common security devices or in the more sophisticated satellite receivers. But I am quiet sure that you have never heard of Linux distributions for the space. That’s right! What reaction would you have in discovering that many of the satellites scattered in outer space have entrusted our beloved Linux? Shocked? Then, you have not heard anything! The future of Linux and its philosophy is finally conquering the space my dear.
In fact, the famous NASA for some time now consider the Linux distributions as an alternative to operating systems specially created. In favor of this choice, there are several reasons. First, the enormous versatility of the Linux distro and its kernel that allows modification for any purpose, and also, remember that Linux is free! And surely a Linux developer would cost less than any other! Some of the projects that comprise our most famous penguin are: the ST8, the Spacebus, Beowolf and the NASA Open Portal! The ST8 is the solution for the spacecraft of the future. As you can well understand, send a bare PC or smartphone space impairs its functioning. One reason for this failure are often the radiation. These, in fact, damage the device! In this system the idea is, thanks to some special hardware, to do an auto analyse of the whole system to find any problems arising from radiation. When we speak of Beowolf, we talk about a system with 20 StrongARM CPU, and a Linux kernel 2.4.4. But I refer you to the online documentation to understand the great benefits of this project. These projects, thanks to the OpenSource portal dedicated to the integration and beyond, have collected and collect an huge success!
But what is this open source portal of the famous U.S. federal organization? The site is accessible at the link “http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/opensource/“. It’s a portal totally dedicated to NEWS and pictures, videos and sounds that have to do with the philosophy of Open Source and NASA itself. You can also have all the information you want on the projects of on past, present and future missions, who have to do with our beloved Linux.
Not only! You can even follow everything that has to do with this site thanks to the systems of social networks now ubiquitous everywhere. We can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Youtube, Flickr, iTunes and more. Not only that, we can even download applications for our PCs and smartphones.
All this can only make us curious! Excite and at the same time, let us see with pleasure that the NASA is not looking only to aliens but also solutions for all the problems that we have had in the last decade!