Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Windows Operating Systems Software The Military Technology

British Royal Navy Submarines Now Run Windows 725

Posted by samzenpus
from the deep-blue-screen dept.
meist3r writes "On his Government blog, Microsoft's Ian McKenzie announced today that the Royal Navy was ahead of schedule for switching their nuclear submarines to a customized Microsoft Windows solution dubbed 'Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG)' which apparently consists of Windows 2000 network servers and XP workstations. In the article, it is claimed that this decision will save UK taxpayers £22m over the next ten years. The installation of the new system apparently took just 18 days on the HMS Vigilant. According to the BAE Systems press release from 2005, the overall cost of the rollout was £24.5m for all eleven nuclear submarines of the Vanguard, Trafalgar and Swiftsure classes. Talk about staying with the sinking ship."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

British Royal Navy Submarines Now Run Windows

Comments Filter:
  • BSOD (Score:5, Funny)

    by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @04:55AM (#26157267) Homepage
    Blue Submarine of Death
    • Re:BSOD (Score:5, Funny)

      by s1lverl0rd (1382241) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @04:58AM (#26157293) Homepage
      Having Bliss as a wallpaper below sea level would irritate me a lot.
      • Re:BSOD (Score:5, Funny)

        by TheLink (130905) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:12AM (#26157679) Journal

        How about this instead? http://www.flickr.com/photos/rowandw/2276721446/ [flickr.com]

        Seems more appropriate given the topic.

    • Re:BSOD (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hanners1979 (959741) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:25AM (#26157747) Homepage
      Considering it's a customised Windows-based solution, I would hope that they've at least made it the Yellow Submarine of Death.
    • Re:BSOD (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:06AM (#26158041)

      On my work PC (I don't work in I.T at the moment) the Sysinternal screensaver BSOD was installed as part of the build. Don't ask me why.

      I set it as my default screensaver and thought it was a bit of fun, that is until when I was away on a business trip (trying to RDesktop in) and there was no response from my PC.

      One of the I.T helpdesk muppets had noticed the BSOD on my monitor, not realised it was a screensaver and took my PC away and reimaged it.

      I wasn't happy!

    • Das Reboot (Score:5, Funny)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:16AM (#26158433) Homepage

      Just came here to say "Das Reboot" in a random place.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nah... It's actually Royal Blue Screen Of Death

    • Re:BSOD (Score:4, Funny)

      by An ominous Cow art (320322) * on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:42PM (#26163031) Journal

      We all live on a blue-screened submarine,
      A blue-screened submarine,
      A blue-screened submarine.
      etc.

  • How deep? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bryan1945 (301828) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @04:57AM (#26157285) Journal

    The last time I drove my car into a lake the windows didn't last past 15 feet. Of course my car is American, and those Brits have that funky metric system, so who knows?

    (Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ... those Brits have that funky metric system, so who knows?

      (Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week)

      Part of the joke? You know, then, the measurement system used in the US is called the English System for a reason, right? OK, just checking.

      • by Mark Hood (1630) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:38AM (#26157511) Homepage

        Actually we call it 'Imperial' units.

        Damn colonials are getting uppity again, Ponsenby...

        Mark

      • Re:How deep? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Eudial (590661) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:18AM (#26157723)

        They used to use the English system in the UK, and then the rest of the world caught up with them and they converted to metric. Right now, the countries not using the metric system are: Myanmar, The United States, and Liberia.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Couple of things:
        1. We don't call it the English System, we call it the Imperial System.

        2. It should be called the British system if you're going to call it anything.

        3. It's not the same anyway because your pints are smaller.

        4. No one here uses Fahrenheit ( what a quintessentially English name!) any more, except the Daily Mail and we like to pretend they don't exist.

        5. Most things are metric now anyway.

        But apart from that, please go on calling it the English System. It's not at all confusing.

  • by cjfs (1253208) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @04:57AM (#26157291) Homepage Journal

    The navy liked their version of minesweeper best.

  • by JYD (996651) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @04:59AM (#26157305)
    Didn't the Brits hear about what happened to the USS Yorktown [wikipedia.org] when they tried Windows as a naval solution. God save the Queen, please.
  • Won't work (Score:5, Funny)

    by this great guy (922511) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @04:59AM (#26157307)
    I mean who in a sane mind would want windows on a submarine ? It's not like there is anything interesting to see in the darkness of the depths.
  • Next generation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfc (842110) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:00AM (#26157309) Homepage
    This roll-out must be 5 years overdue, windows 2000 server?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by m50d (797211)

      It's mature and stable by now - unlike any newer MS server OS.

  • by tryfan (235825) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:00AM (#26157315)

    From "Das Boot" to "ReBoot".

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:08AM (#26157355) Homepage

    Summary fails to mention, and sort of implies the opposite; The cost saving is down to using off the shelf hardware, not switching to windows.

    • 20 posts before the first one that actually provides useful information.

      Is that a typical ratio on slashdot? I haven't been keeping track.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)
      The company I work for deploys ATC systems running linux on COTS hardware. Maintaining such systems is actually quite difficult because if you validate your system with a particular component (a graphics card for example) you might not be able to buy that same card six months down the track.

      On the OS side they will have problems as well. The version of windows they deploy will eventually reach end of life. If they deployed on a Free OS they (supplier or customer) would have been able to maintain it themse
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:59AM (#26157611)
      Summary fails to mention, and sort of implies the opposite; The cost saving is down to using off the shelf hardware, not switching to windows.

      Windows made the submarines on-the-shelf hardware, they'll be sitting pretty on some reef shelf in no time.

      Mr. Malda, I'm submitting the news article for 2009-01-19 ahead of time:
      Microsoft's Ian McKenzie announced today that the entire Royal Navy Nuclear Submarine fleet had sunk due to a Windows buffer overflow. HMS Vigilant's captain, Commander Bob Anstey, said: "I heard my 1st officer shouting 'Captain, Be SOD, Overflow!', so I yelled at him: 'Get the caulking guns ready, you SOD!' and he just gave me a blank stare and said: 'We cannot caulk this one, sir! Vigilant's a goner!' Well, bugger me!"

      In other news:
      HMS Vigilant's captain, Commander Bob Anstey allegedly accidentally fired a nuclear missile at Redmond, Washington in an attempt to complete the Windows Activation of the newly installed 'Submarine Command System Next Generation' customized Windows XP system. "It was a bug, yes, that's it. Some kind of unfortunate bug triggered the 19-step launch sequence," said Commander Anstey. Nobody at or near Microsoft could be reached for a comment.
    • by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:15AM (#26157701)

      Was custom built hardware running Ada86 custom software

      Then Mixture of SPARC's running Custom Solaris system, and custom hardware, and the same Ada software

      Now some off the shelf hardware (PC's) running custom version of Windows somewhere between Win2k and XP?

      N.B. The Sonar system however run Linux ....

  • HMS Bob (Score:5, Funny)

    by Snufu (1049644) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:09AM (#26157367)
    Tech support: "Can you tell us the problem with your submarine?"
    HMS Bob: "Das Not Boot."
  • other news (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jeek Elemental (976426) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:10AM (#26157373)

    Wolfgang Petersen is reportedly preparing to make "Das Reboot", a (very) short sequel.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:11AM (#26157379)

    Source for obvious reasons. I know the Brits and Americans are friends, but still, running an OS that is doing Bill-knows-what doesn't sound very secure in many ways (Would you want the US military running a closed source Red Hat Linux sight unseen?). Even if there is no backdoors/spying, the ability to compile the source and see what it is doing at every step will have benefits in the future, to look for holes previously unknown, to see what it is doing every step of the way, or to graft new abilities into it.

    Linux/BSD/whatever. In fact, I'm wondering why corporations run MS now, considering all this.

  • by earthloop (449575) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:13AM (#26157391) Homepage

    That'll explain this recent Royal Navy advert.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=aDHPCr5m4ko [youtube.com]

  • by Evil_Ether (1200695) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:18AM (#26157419)
    I find the words Windows and nuclear been uttered in the same sentence very disconcerting.
  • So.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by powerslave12r (1389937) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:34AM (#26157481)
    ..the Blue Screen of Death isn't just a namesake anymore?
  • by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:38AM (#26157509)

    Now I can sleep safer knowing that if the Brits are about to launch a nuclear missile from a submarine and start WWIII, a UAC window will pop up asking if they are sure about it.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:08AM (#26157655)
      You seem to be trying to launch a nuclear attack. Would you like to do one of the following:
      • Blast Russia of the face of the earth
      • Blast Iran of the face of the earth
      • Launch a single nuke at China from within Pakistani territorial waters. Let them sort it out!
      • I'm an Al-Quaida Infiltrator. I'll target London, New York and Washington please
  • Clippy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:40AM (#26157515) Homepage Journal
    It looks like you're trying to launch a nuke. Would you like me to:
    • Try to talk you out of it
    • Help you start armaggeddon
    • Hide under the table
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:42AM (#26157531) Homepage Journal

    .. British Navy submarine captains are the only officers worldwide (as of the mid 90s or so) to have the independent right to launch nuclear missiles if they lose contact with the Admiralty.

    • Not quite true (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:22AM (#26158465)
      If the UK no longer responds to messages and they have reason to believe this is due to war damage, they open their sealed, handwritten letter from the Prime Minister. This contains their instructions. There is of course much speculation as to what it contains, ranging from "Hi, welcome to the US Navy" to "I told them Iraq had WMDs, but would they listen?". Sadly, barring a takeover of the UK by pacifists, we will never find out.
    • by laughing_badger (628416) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:56AM (#26159149) Homepage
      Not independent.

      All our missile subs carry sealed, hand-written orders from the prime minister as to whether to retaliate with nukes in the event that Britain is the target of a first strike. The orders are destroyed once the prime minister leaves office and few have ever revealed which way they decided.

      It is, apparently, one of their first tasks upon taking office.

      See this report from The Today Programme [bbc.co.uk]

  • by DMoylan (65079) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:47AM (#26157559)

    'I don't know if they frighten the enemy, but they scare the hell out of me.'

    at least they're up front about it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDHPCr5m4ko [youtube.com]

  • by thhamm (764787) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:48AM (#26157571)
    "hello! i am your friendly helpagent clippy! what do you want to do? wage nuclear war? or just launch a conventional cruise missile? learn how to do that here."
  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:53AM (#26157595)
    I was talking to a retired submariner only last week, a former 1st Lt (exec equivalent), and he commented that being in a submarine is like being in prison, only with no visitors. Most submariners hate it. Think about it: you are in a steel box which is actually quite fragile, and your life is entirely dependent on the decisions made by one man. On a surface ship you may have some influence on your fate (shooting down an enemy aircraft with a gun or a missile, deciding exactly when and where to abandon ship) but in a sub you have no control at all.

    Now think about a corporate drone using Windows. Your desktop is locked down, updates are rolled out by IT. If your machine is taken over by an IE exploit, the Exchange server fails, etc. etc., there is nothing you can do about it.

    Conclusion: Windows is the appropriate operating system for submarines.

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:05AM (#26157639)

    With the Royal Navy's recruitment advert for IT crew where the guy goes on about how complex the equipment is and then finishes the advert with the punch line "but sometimes, I just switch it off and back on again".

    Perhaps this is why it's saved tax payers £22 million too, we no longer need high paid IT staff with a clue what they're doing, we can just get 16 year old school drop outs who IT qualifications are that they built their own PC and set up an internet on uncle Joes computer by sticking the AOL disc in. I mean, hey the nuclear missile launch console has failed to fire off our nuclear deterrent after Russia just obliterated Europe in a nuclear attack, just reinstall Windows and make sure you stick the latest nuclear weapons launch drivers on, if not just pop round to the local PC World store and get the Tech Guys (UK equivalent of Geek Squad) to fix it for £125.

    I can sleep comfortably knowing that our nuclear deterrent is in safe hands.

  • Secure software (Score:4, Interesting)

    by js_sebastian (946118) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:05AM (#26157649)
    When I was doing an internship a few years ago, a colleague of mine (who was working to fund her masters degree) told me the first job after her bachelors degree in computer science had been writing software for nuclear submarines.

    She worked in some high security, underground place with thick steel doors (did she? well either she told me that or it's my imagination again...) and they showed them videos of what happened when they made mistakes: everyone drowns... or the submarine gets crushed by pressure, or whatever, depending on the bug. I don't think accidentally releasing nukes was one of the scenarios though...

    Maybe they should show the microsoft programmers some of those videos.
  • by Genda (560240) <mariet@nOSpAM.got.net> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:15AM (#26157705) Journal

    In the great coordinate plain of life, we seem to have a situation where the line tracing British IQ and the line tracing the mortality of the human race are getting perilously close. I've always taken comfort in the fact that mouth breathers and knuckle draggers seemed to remain alive almost in spite of their gross stupidity. Now a bunch of twits from the dept. of silly walks decides that the most expedient means of managing a nuclear force is with an operating system whose answer to digital indigestion is at best rebooting and at worst reinstallation. I can only imagine how that might impact (and I use the word "IMPACT" in all it's most unpleasant possible meanings) a critical nuclear encounter.

    Some additional new possible acronyms;

    DBSD ----- Deep Blue Sea of Death
    BGAD ----- Blue Glass Ashtray of Death
    RBGD ----- Radioactive Blue Glow of Death
    BSOA ----- Blue Screen of Armageddon
    O-SHT ---- The Missile Ranger is Turning Blue Because Windows Has Wedged and He Can't Abort the Missile Launch!!!

  • by MadUndergrad (950779) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:25AM (#26157753)

    See, this is actually an elegant solution, as the bloat will act as a redundant buoyancy system in case of the inevitable blue-screen crush.

  • "18 Days" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dr. Evil (3501) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:26AM (#26157761)

    I think they mean that the sub was incapacitated for 18 days while a transition plan was executed.

    If it really took 18 days, they wouldn't be installing Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

    It is mysterious to me as to why they would use Windows. I'd also love to know what is being commanded with the system? Is it just the Naval IT? e.g, sending encrypted email, accessing charts, documentation etc, crew communications, hiding pornography, printing happy birthday banners? I doubt it is controlling ballast tanks and dive planes and I can't imagine it controlling reactor or launch functions.

    And if it's just the case of internal email and minesweeper games, isn't 18 days a long time? Especially if MS decided not to include hardware transition work and training in those numbers?

    What were they using before that it was so expensive?

    How can 8 years of evaluation time possibly save the military 22M pounds per year?

    Meh. I guess it's on MSDN, so it's going to be a *little* biased. Kudos to the MS sales team. Good job, don't know how you did it.

  • Warning (Score:3, Funny)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:36AM (#26157815)

    Never open the Windows in a submarine!

  • by WoollyMittens (1065278) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:39AM (#26157837)
    I can't wait for the first national nuclear emergency to occur because of Windows Genuine Advantage (tm)
  • by sepelester (794828) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:47AM (#26157903)
    Sounds like sub standard software to me
  • by ei4anb (625481) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:47AM (#26157907)
    Slashdot people often said that a Windows computer is only secure when encased in a steel box and sunk beneath the sea. So, why complain now?
  • by Bl4d3 (697638) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:02AM (#26158019)
    Everybody would be laughing out loud....
  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:03AM (#26158367) Homepage

    I would love to see a group of 100 Microsoft executives taken down thousands of feet under the ocean's surface and then informed that the entire vessel is run under a Microsoft Windows operating network. With bio-monitoring devices attached to each of them, I have to wonder how many of them would not cringe at the news that their safety was in the hands of their "no longer supported" operating systems.

    I am not sure how we could work Samuel L Jackson into this plot, but it would make a pretty funny movie, I think. "Das-Reboot"

  • by freddy_dreddy (1321567) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:48AM (#26158621)
    before flamebait-tagging me, please read.

    Given the fact that Linux is built mostly by anonymous contributors, kept on servers which are hacked every now and then (Fedora Signing Key Server Hacked in August - Red Hat Infrastructure Servers recently Hacked, Cracked & Compromised) what guarantee is there that Linux - God's gift to nerds - doesn't contain sleeping trojans written by Russians or Chinese ?

    Do the math: what would it cost to accomplish this? I think something like less than 10.000$ (including paycheck, laptop and broadband connection).
    • by OneSmartFellow (716217) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:44AM (#26159025)
      what guarantee is there that Linux - God's gift to nerds - doesn't contain sleeping trojans written by Russians or Chinese ?

      I'll bite.

      The guarantee comes from the fact that hundreds of people review the kernel sources every day, and the fact that only trusted code is committed to the official (Linus/Andrew Morton, et al) repository(s)

      You're free to run anyone's distribution as you wish, so of course you might mistakenly download one with 'sleeping trojans', but I doubt the Navy would.

      You would do well to be more concerned about using software from a company who refuses to allow you to review their source code. I'll leave it to you to figure out who that might be.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:03AM (#26158705) Homepage

    ...it looks like you're trying to fire a torpedo. What would you like to do?

    • Flood torpedo tubes and open outer doors
    • Check EFF on target
    • Match bearings and shoot
    • Detonate torpedo in the tube and die a horrible, grisly death

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

Working...