Linux headed into Boeing anti-sub aircraft

Posted by daria42 on Jul 31, 2006 7:02 AM EDT
ZDNet Australia; By Stephen Shankland
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Boeing has awarded Wind River Systems a contract to embed its version of Linux -- along with a new batch of products built around the open-source operating system -- into a new military aircraft.

Boeing will use Wind River's Linux to run surveillance and other mission computing tasks in the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft, a 737 modified for US Navy uses such as finding submarines and other tasks, said Chip Downing, senior aerospace and defence marketing manager at Wind River. Linux won't be used for navigation or aircraft control systems.

Linux has made inroads into embedded computing systems such as networking equipment and mobile phones, but Wind River is trying to expand its presence in other embedded computing markets such as aerospace and military applications. The strategy is a turnaround for the Alameda, California-based company, which until 2003 disparaged Linux in favour of its own proprietary operating system, VxWorks.

The company is bridging the divide between the operating systems with its Workbench programming tool software. The company charges US$4,000 to US$11,000 for each developer's copy of the software. However, where Wind River charges a royalty fee for devices using VxWorks, it doesn't with Linux, said Glenn Seiler, senior manager for Linux Platforms at Wind River.

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