The British Royal Navy has developed a modified version of the Microsoft
Windows XP operating system for its warships. The first version, "Windows
for Submarines," is being installed on the fleets nuclear submarines.
Versions of this operating system is being adapted for surface ships as well.
selected a commercial operating system for this because it was cheaper to
maintain, and easier to train sailors in its use. It took a lot less time to
develop the new ship-wide network (everything is connected by commercial
Ethernet cables and software) using Windows, and XP is one of the more stable
versions of Windows (which runs on 85 percent of the worlds PCs). The security
risks inherent in Windows (which attracts most of the attention from hackers)
were tended to during the modification of Windows for navy use. How well the
Royal Navy version of Windows stands up to the hackers, remains to be seen.
the U.S. Navy uses Linux to run critical systems on its warships. The U.S. Army
is using Linux for its networked FCS (Future Combat System) vehicles (which are
still in development). The army is also
converting many of its Microsoft Windows applications to run under Linux.
just the better security Linux provides, but the fact that there are many
versions of Linux to choose from, and the operating system is easier to modify
(being an "open source" system, unlike the proprietary Windows.)
Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense has over 200 Linux based software
projects in development. The military uses custom made software for its most
critical applications, and it's easier to create this stuff using Linux.