Linux for the International Space Station Program
The success of Linux is grounded in the fact that the work created by one group of people is not owned by any other group of people. Reliability, performance, portability and affordability are the four characteristics which convinced ESA to use it for real-time spacecraft control software. Important work still needs to be done; hopefully, the coming kernels will be POSIX compliant, plug-and-play will be truly available and multimedia capabilities will be extended beyond user expectations. I am almost certain that Linux will run onboard the International Space Station or in any of the ISS components' ground control centers around the globe. Linux has earned its excellent reputation and can successfully compete with all other available operating systems.
Guillermo Ortega works in the guidance and navigation area of the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands. He has been working with Linux in space projects since 1994. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
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