ISS changes laptop OS

Astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) will, in the coming months, have the operating system on their laptops changed from Windows XP to Linux.
The move comes as Microsoft announced it is dropping support from Windows XP OS – something that will leave the platform open to attacks from cyber criminals, whose efforts will no longer be repelled by the Seattle-based tech giant’s security division.
Laptops affected include the ISS’ OpsLan computers, used by crew for a huge number of tasks, including collecting images, transmitting data and even watching YouTube videos.
The dated laptops were also used by astronauts this weekend when they completed a spacewalk in an attempt to resolve a problematic ammonia leak, which has plagued the space station for the last few weeks.
Keith Chuval of NASA said: “We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control.”
Ths ISS will use the Debian 6 version of Linux, which allows significant customisation that will come in useful for the space station, which needs the laptops to be able to run multiple, complicated programmes, which often need OS level integration.