ISS – Ivan knows best
International Space Station broken by Americans
What, I wonder, would NASA make of Elijah Jacob Shalis International Space Station theory?:
For a while I believe the Russian module controlled the station and all its aspects and there were no problems. A few months ago those tasks were transferred to a US module and NASA ground control. It looks like the Russians have superior technology still.
Absolutely. If I was building a space station - or a nuclear reactor for that matter - I'd want the Russians at the helm. Safe as houses.
Uncannily, we now have a message from one Anton R. Ivanov. He knows what the problem is:
Re:"The IBM Thinkpad laptops to which you refer, called PCS (Portable Computer System) are used throughout the station. They are indeed 486 based laptops. However, they are running Sun's Solaris OS for x86, and the OpenWindows WM, and a custom application that provides a graphical interface to the various on-board systems.
Well... it is either bound to crash or this is a lie. If they are using an older version of Solaris the support for PCMCIA does not stand a chance in real life and the drivers for the 3COM cards seen on the shots presented on the Reg web site are extremely buggy. If they have violated Nasa rules and have updated them to a recent Solaris it blows up on classic 486 (or IBM-BL) or whatever is used on the ThinkPad.
Either way it is complete FUBAR.
That is besides the fact that due to the fact that Solaris does not have working APM support and the bloody thing will overheat especially in low gravity. Convection with no gravity anyone? Part of the standard university level physics course (not in the USA). If there is no convection you can start frying eggs on the CL graphics chip that these machines use very soon.
As for NASA, one of their boffins chipped in his two bits worth regarding ISS technology here.