linux on a Boeing 777


Last week, at SFO, while waiting for clearance to pushback from the gate, I noticed that the headrest entertainment system had crashed and was rebooting…and it was linux!

I couldnt read all the messages – the bootup messages scrolled by so quickly – but there was at least one error message about not finding a config file?!? They had to reboot the system a few times before it finally booted up successfully. And yes, once booted, it stayed up and running for the entire flight to LHR.

Here’s the best I could do with some rushed photos, in poor lighting, while they were telling me to turn off all electronic devices.

(click images for enlarged photos)

Oh, and while writing this post, I found someone else’s photo of linux booting on another Boeing 777.

linux on a Boeing 777

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ben Hearsum
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 18:29:44

    On a related note, years ago someone stopped by #developers and claimed that there was an in flight system that was backed by Gecko, too! I don’t think anyone ever verified it but I want to believe!


  2. Robert O'Callahan
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:17:57

    Boeing 2 Gecko, anyone?

    Air New Zealand’s system used to run on Windows CE but switched to Linux a while ago. It appears to be the same vendor (Rockwell I think). AFAIK most of the systems run on Linux now.


  3. Shyam Mani
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 19:26:35

    Yup! As roc says, most of today’s in-flight entertainment systems are Linux based. This includes biggies like United, Qantas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines. Such joy to see that :)


  4. Cesar
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 20:27:29

    I remember a number of years ago being at an airport internet terminal (you know, those terminals that charge a lot of money to access the internet for a few minutes). It had a keyboard, and on a whim I hit ctrl+alt+backspace and X restarted :)


  5. Daniel Yang
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 16:14:22

    A while ago I took Korean air, they also have linux system for their in-flight entertainment system :)


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