15 Weird/Surprising devices and Systems that run on Linux

15 Weird/Surprising devices and Systems that run on Linux

It’s incredible to see how Linux runs on devices of various sizes, power and built for diverse purposes. Linux is, like technology itself, deeply integrated in our daily lives and we don’t seem to even realize it! While looking into supercomputers I was pleasantly surprised to find different/weird devices that run on Linux: Weird, in a sense that they run on Linux and we never expected them to do so!

We expect that you already know that Linux is running on 94% supercomputers and on various high-end computers and devices in science centers for research purposes. Also the popular Android operating system too is based on Linux kernel. This implies all the Android handsets (currently claiming major share in smartphone market) and tablets are in turn employing Linux at heart! Now let’s investigate some places you might not have expected to be running on Linux.

1- 2013 Cadillac XTS: Cadillac XTS 2013, launched this year back in May employs what it calls a game-changing infotainment intender known as the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) for recognizing voice,. It will be interesting for you to note that while other cars running on same technology also accept commands (or addresses), CUE is smart enough to capture the entire address in one go without having you to break into segments. i.e. if you are off to 22, 870 Main Street, Carolina , USA you can speak the entire address in a single go. A more interesting feature is perhaps the integration of local searches. You can sit in your new car and simply command the car to take you to a place where they serve (let’s say) hot chocolate, all you need to do is to say “I want to have hot chocolate”! Also the advance CUE system has versatile music players that can play a song, tune on radio etc with your voice command! And not to forget, the whole system runs on Linux!

2- Large Hadron Collider: Large Hadron Collider is by far the most powerful physics project in the history of the known universe starting functioning in 2008. The large Hadron Collider took over 20 years to build and the hard work of half of all the world’s astrophysicists. The $10 Billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is powered by Linux.

3- Sans Francisco High-tech traffic control system: Last year San Francisco deployed a completely new Linux-based traffic controller computer that meets the latest Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) standards. The system is built around an advance Freescale PowerQUICC II Pro processor, the “2070LXN2 NEMA” offers several keypads, an 8×40 display, plus Ethernet, USB, serial, and SDLC connections. Linux is used in the system as it enables an open architecture system, as well as a more robust, flexible, and expandable platform that is compatible with multi-vendor application control software.

4- Nspire CAS CX Calculator: A simple yet powerful ARM based graph calculator that is powered by Linux.

Nspire CAS CX Calculator

5- Air Traffic control system: Back in 2006 Federal Aviation Administration (United States) migrating computers that manage air traffic flow to Linux. The software runs an Enhanced Traffic Management System, which predicts traffic surges, gaps and volume across the US airspace.

6-Japanese High Speed Train: The illustrious high-speed train in Japan uses Linux for its computerized system that is responsible for managing train arrival and departure of trains.

7-Lockheed Martin’s Nuclear submarine: U.S Navy posses nuclear submarine that runs on Red Hat.

8-130 mph Linux Motorcycle: Mavizen’s top of the range model the TTX02 was the first electro racing bike with board-computer, USB, and IP address, enabling monitoring and tuning via integrated WLAN. The 130 mph racing machine ran on Linux system.

9-TiVo: TiVo the famous digital video recorder, developed and marketed by TiVo, Inc. is the most advanced and innovative DVR ever built to date! TiVo’s software incorporates the Linux kernel and GNU software.

10-Delaval’s Robotic System for Milking cows: DeLaval, a Swedish company, founded back in 1883 is a leading producer of dairy and farming machinery. They have developed robotic system for milking cows that is powered by Linux. The milking robotic system is known for providing high efficiency and meeting milking hygiene and reducing labor costs.

11-Wireless routers: A number of wireless routers from well-known companies like Buffalo, Linksys, Asus, Netgear, etc. run on Linux.

12-CCTV: ZoneMinder and a number of other closed circuit security systems use Linux.

13-Fridges & other Smart Home appliances: Electrolux Frigidaire Infinity i-kitchen is a “smart appliance” refrigerator that is powered by Linux. The fridge runs on an embedded 400 MHz Freescale i.MX25 processor with 128 MB of RAM and a 480×800 touch panel. The fridge is not only responsible to preserve your food but will also give you information such as current time and temperature. Te fridge is aided with a number of versatile apps like: notes, calendar, contacts, photos, tips and recipes.

According to the manufacturer: From annotating a phone number to controlling its internal temperature, all the functionalities are just a finger touch away from you. The Notes application avoids spreading the famous Post-it notes throughout the refrigerator all the while taking its functionality to a new level, marking messages as unread, reminding you of birthdays and appointments. Through Photos it’s possible to use your refrigerator as a digital photo frame and Recipes brings more than 600 recipes published by a famous Brazilian magazine!

14-SmartTv: Ubuntu is powering Smart Tv. You can read on complete details in our post here.

15-Sony Play station: Who doesn’t know about Sony’s Play Station? ) PS3’s was specially designed so as to allow easy installation of Linux on the system. PlayStation hardware powered by Linux has been occasionally used in small scale distributed computing experiments. This was thought to be a fatal combination of software that was easy to install and PS3 made the best high-performance cheap device. Sony also released a Linux kit for its PlayStation 2 console [ Note that on April 1, 2010, Sony disabled the ability to install Linux “due to security concerns”]

It’s because of the Linux open source policy that allows a user to develop on an`d posses source code that one can secure later.This eliminates the dependency on any software provider and the long-term maintainability. Thanks to the high customization Linux kernel offers that it can run on small and large devices equally effectively!

  • ddevine

    It’s kinda the point of Linux that you should *never* be surprised that it runs on anything and everything.

  • joker159

    very interresting !

    we don’t have to wait that linux take the 1st place in desktop because it’s already everywhere :)

  • Correctionmotron

    It’s wrong, the TI Nspire Cas CX is powered by some ATI operating system, it says in the info.

  • http://twitter.com/Kompulsa Kompulsa

    Double-check. ATI’s traffic control system might be Linux-based. “Linux operating system” means based on Linux. It isn’t always called Linux.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.murcott Stephen Murcott

    Cool to see how diverse these devices are, great use cases.

  • لا دری

    Platelets donation devices (NHS) operating on linux too. The last
    time I was there I got a glimpse of the booting screen and wow! it was a
    dmesg screen!

  • pHerret

    Several years ago I was in the Sands Casino in Atlantic City, NJ (now gone, sadly), and there was a brief power failure. When the backup generators kicked in, I watched bank after bank of WMS brand video slot machines boot up into Linux. These were mostly penny and nickel slots, though there were higher denomination versions elsewhere in the casino, and they all had very fancy high end graphics and sound. Many also featured complicated bonus rounds and sub games. I don’t know if WMS uses (or used) Linux exclusively, or if other manufacturers also use Linux, but I have to say that I was very pleased and quite surprised (though I shouldn’t have been) to witness this. I just wish I could have spent some time reading the boot messages (they all booted in verbose mode), but they booted way too damn fast. Neat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amberlauer Amber Lauer

    Those multitouch game machines in bars are also run on linux.

  • Dennis Lockhart

    Yup, I’ve seen the same thing when the video displays on airplanes reboot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vikko.okviandho Timothy Belthsazar Liem

    Linux.. Linux everywhere..

  • Andyj

    Isn’t/wasn’t Google running Linux? They started off running something like 16,000 small Red Hat machines didn’t they?

  • vinob

    Yes Japanese made (Panasonic & alot) Video Displays

  • debrouxl

    Correct. While a third-party port of Linux recently made headlines (hence, probably, the confusion), the Nspire series uses a Nucleus-based OS, nearly entirely closed-source.

    The Nspire series is by far the most powerful set of calculators on the market (though they’re much less powerful than the RPi and are sold at much higher price tags…). TI actively fights native code development on it. They used to allow native code on TI-Z80 and TI-68k calculators; on the Nspire series, users have to resort to arbitrary code execution exploits.
    In today’s marketplace, whose standardized tests disconnected from real-world usage forbid CAS usage, or even restrict the set of available functions, from the manufacturers’ POV, openness is a threat to the business model. They should know that openness doesn’t necessarily yield threats, and most of all, closedness does in no way prevent threats to the business model from striking…