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U.S. Military Drones Are Going to Start Running on Linux

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Raytheon is making a bold move: it's dumping the proprietary operating system Solaris in favor of Linux for the control systems of its U.S. military drones.

According to a May 2nd Avionics Intelligence report, Raytheon entered into a $15.8 million contract with the U.S. Navy earlier this month to upgrade their control systems to Linux. The first vehicle to be upgraded will be the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter, pictured above.


The switch is supposed to make for a more intuitive control system and should make future software upgrades more straightforward—saving money in the long term. Still, it's a an impressive amount of trust to place in an open source OS project, and a move that will likely irk Oracle, the developers of Solaris.

In fact, in October 2013 Oracle published a white paper arguing that open source software is unacceptably risky for military applications. Clearly, the U.S. Military and Raytheon disagree. [Linux Gizmos, The Register]


Image by Raytheon