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Re: Muppets, loonies or what?

Pigeon wrote:

Found this posted on a forum I frequent.

Thought the railways thing was bad? They're talking about nuclear subs


OSS torpedoed: Royal Navy will run on Windows for Warships
By John Lettice
Published Monday 6th September 2004 13:15 GMT

Almost three years ago the naval systems arm of major UK defence contractor
BAE Systems took the decision to standardise future development on Microsoft
Windows. an immediate effect was to commit BAE's joint venture CMS subsidiary,
AMS, who specialise in naval Combat Management Systems, to implementing a
Windows 2000-based CMS system for the new Type 45 Destroyer. But this prompted
strong internal opposition from some of AMS' engineers, who had a sound
background in Unix and who had, despite resource starvation and a companywide
policy to standardise on Windows, been investigating open source alternatives
as a foundation for future combat systems.


The company's action was swift, but disappointing. Rather than respond to the
concerns I had raised, the company terminated my employment. I was dismayed. Whatever my failings, sloppiness of thought is not one of them. ... John Lettice.

One explanation for the decision might be that the Royal Navy had decided
that they actually wanted backdoors into their nuclear missile subs, and they
thought they could control the I/O sufficiently well that keeping the enemy
out was something their experts were confident that they could do. Remember that these boats only have various forms of radio for digital I/O when they're at sea, and those routes are protected by strong encryption. I could imagine RN command ordering a boat to the surface via ELF radio communication, at which time the greater bandwidth of a VHF or satellite link would transfer a set of virus payloads intended to spy on the boat's crew, and possibly disrupt the boat's operations if naval command decides that the crew are a problem. The command to disrupt the boat's systems might even arrive as an ELF signal that the boat's crew aren't made aware of. Sort of like the way anyone with an unmodified commercial mobile phone can be 'pinged' via a silent SMS message, thus giving away his/her location anytime the powers that be care to check (assuming the
phone is powered up).

So - a truly reliable combat computer system might actually be perceived as a disadvantage.

FWIW, My dad used to work in naval telecommunications. He told me some stories.

Would someone please forward this to John Lettice. I'd like to exchange email with him.

Regards, Rossc.

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