[TUHS] Windows roots and Unix influence (was Re: Happy birthday, Ken Thompson!)

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Wed Feb 7 07:51:20 AEST 2018

On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 8:48 AM, William Cheswick <ches at cheswick.com> wrote:
> On 4Feb 2018, at 10:40 PM, Dan Cross <crossd at gmail.com> wrote:
> If by BSOD you mean, "Blue Screen of Death", which was NT's crash-dump
> indicator then yes: I'm totally serious. I'd find a computer crashing on an
> airplane frightening (I mean, I'm imagining that it does something
> important).
> Save design would have the plane controls on a completely air-gapped
> network from the
> entertainment stuff.  I was told that they don’t, because the captain
> needs to be able to
> stop the entertainment system during an announcement.  I could build them
> a very simple gateway
> that transmits UDP packets in one direction only, that would meet this,
> and related needs.
> There have been hacks of the avionics reported from the entertainment
> network.  It is scary,
> if true, and bush league IMO.

I'll do you one better: have the PA system for the passenger cabin separate
from the flight control system. Use an ambient mic or an all-analog audio
cable to capture whatever the captain says on the flight recorder (the only
reason I can imagine for wanting the PA system hooked up to the rest of the
flight systems in the first place). Electrically isolated it with a

Since Ron's windows computer is just a supporting device and doesn't affect
flight operations, it's much less scary than I had initially imagined:
"Yeah, every now and again the engine BSOD's. Sorta sucks when you're in
mid-air...." "Hmm. You may want a new plane...."

I do remember the Yorktown being dead in the water. I can just picture a
number of various class Petty Officer's and junior sailors running around
hopelessly while a Chief bellowed at them to "get the damned engines back
online!" and officer country turned into a weeping pool of tears, but since
no one knew how a computer works they just couldn't figure it out. Finally
someone radioed back: "send out a tug." Oops.

In respect of Warren's recent gentle nudge to bring the topic back to a
Unix tie-in, I can say that as recently as 2008 I saw an UltraSPARC machine
running Solaris on a big-deck amphib. No idea what it was there for; I have
a vague recollection of seeing a CDE screen.

Also, on a less martial track, one of the things I vividly remember about
the NT introduction were the many dire predictions that this spelled the
imminent death of Unix. NT would sweep all before it into the dustbin of
evolutionary history and Microsoft would achieve total world domination. It
seems that Linux was the rebel alliance to that galactic war, though. I'm
curious what others thought of those predictions: did they even get onto
your radar?

        - Dan C.

(PS to Gregg Levine: thank you for your kind words and you're more than
welcome. :-))
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/attachments/20180206/3ebd0d3f/attachment.html>

More information about the TUHS mailing list