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ATC Computers? What Operating System They Use?  
User currently offlineWardialer From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1183 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks ago) and read 7509 times:

What operating system does the ATC use?? Do they use Linux, UNIX, or Windows-based ???

58 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWardialer From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7465 times:

Something weird happened here to my post. So if its a double Im sorry.

What operating system does the ATC use on there computer systems? Is it UNIX, Linux, or Windows-based???


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 7293 times:

I would put my money on Unix for some and some closed source for others (OS/400, S/390...)

For newer systems, Linux and Windows. But these systems are very much altered from their original incarnations. To start with, anything non-essential is stripped out.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineMrFord From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7274 times:

I know that for NavCan, here in Canada, they use a brand new system based on Windows NT/2000 OS that run on a Pentium II-class PC.

Some computers run on Linux too, as most of the servers. It looks like a relativly standard Gigabit Ethernet network, but with a lot more redundancy than your normal NT network !

Here's some interesting links about those systems :

Integrated Information Display System (IIDS) - Extended Computer Display System (EXCDS)

http://www.navcanada.ca/contentdefinitionfiles/TechnologySolutions/products/IIDS/excds/IIDS-EXCDSen.pdf


Gander Automated Air Traffic System (GAATS)

http://www.navcanada.ca/contentdefinitionfiles/TechnologySolutions/products/StandAlone/gaats/GAATSen.pdf


Converging Runway Display Aid (CRDA)/Visual Aircraft Spacing Tool (VAST)

http://www.navcanada.ca/contentdefinitionfiles/TechnologySolutions/products/StandAlone/vast/CRDA-VASTen.pdf


Northern Airspace Display System (NADS)

http://www.navcanada.ca/contentdefinitionfiles/TechnologySolutions/products/StandAlone/nads/NADSen.pdf


Scheduling and Sequencing System (SASS)

http://www.navcanada.ca/contentdefinitionfiles/TechnologySolutions/products/StandAlone/sass/SASSen.pdf


You can check at http://www.navcanada.ca/NavCanada.asp?Language=en&Content=ContentDefinitionFilesTechnologySolutionsproductsdefault.xml, this is where I found those brochures, you'll also find a great demonstration of the CRDA/VAST system used at YYC for simultaneous convergent runway usage.



"For radar identification throw your jumpseat rider out the window."
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7267 times:

Check this out.... Maybe if you know which computers, you'll know which OS...

http://www.faa.gov/apa/pr/pr.cfm?id=706


User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7256 times:

At LAX they are using at least one Windows 95 box. At least that's what took out their radio system.


At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineWardialer From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7221 times:

But what are they running as far as storing Clearance Delivery, flight plans, Time of Departures, and that sort of thing???

Would they be running a UNIX-like system such as HP-UX, Solaris, or BSD???

GREAT INFO HERE.


User currently offlineMNeo From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2004, 776 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7213 times:

i belive i have seen pics of ATC towers having windows based systems. it would seem more logical for them to have a DOS based product as it will run better on slower machines.
also i would have to say that those systems are old (95) because of the uncomplexity of the software.
i think that Unix or Linux would be a little too complicated to operate if something happened to the computer compared to just about everyone knowing how to reboot windows.
You have to remember that ATC systems are not anything complicated that requires XP with a P4 system. most of them are pretty simple with non-complicated graphics. and dont compile expensive amout of info.

BTW i really dont know what they use im just making anm educated guess



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User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7201 times:

Regarding http://www.faa.gov/apa/pr/pr.cfm?id=706


An IBM RISC 6000, model H-50 computer.

Nowadays known as IBM eserver pSeries, these can run AIX (IBM flavor of Unix) or Linux.


The new G3, a System/390 computer,

Nowadays known as IBM eserver zSeries, these can run zOS (formerly S/390) or Linux.

h




"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineVidens From Argentina, joined Mar 2004, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7154 times:

Back in 1996 I met a guy that wrote ATC code for a living. This was for the EZE tower in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I seem to recall that the system was running UNIX, but I might be wrong...
Is the software written for these systems custom written code, or is there an off-the-shelf software that airports can buy? If so, does the software get customized for the airport that it's going to be running for? What about certification of the software and/or systems?



Travel? Why would i travel if I can watch it on TV?
User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7146 times:

Videns,

It depends, LM has off the shelf systems that can be installed fairly cheaply (well compared the the billions that the FAA wastes away with little results). But for upgrading systems like we are doing in the US it should be pretty custom, but not quite on an airport to airport basis though.

Edit: That's LM, I hate this stupid forum acronym software

[Edited 2004-10-25 00:19:18]


At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineContact_tower From Norway, joined Sep 2001, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7088 times:

Here in Norway the AFTN interface use OS2 (which is crap btw), but apart from that, it's pretty much Windows XP Pro. Edit. on systems newer then 3 years.

I work TWR/APP, and if I want to i can actually minimize the radar software, and get into the Windows inviroment.
We have tought of a good way to scare the shite out of our boss the next time the CAA is on inspection: Minimize the radar software on the director scope (seldom used), and launch Windows Pinball!!!!!

I'm afraid both him and the inspectors would have a fit!  Big grin

(More on that radar system here: http://www.terma.com/page.dsp?page=381 TERADS-TWR illustration taken by yours truly! )


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 12, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 7048 times:

OS2 (which is crap btw),

From a useability standpoint, I would agree. But OS/2 was a very stable offering and is still in use today by many banks.

I think with XP Pro you are only thinking of the client side (the thing in front of you). The server side uses other stuff. XP could not handle ATC servers.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineCWUPilot From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7030 times:

Here's the official answer from the tour of Seattle's ARTCC:

All Air Route Traffic Control Centers were using a UNIX based system however they are now gradually being replaced with a Windows based system. They all must use the same system in order to work with eachother. Air Traffic Control Towers and TRACONs are a different story.



"The worst day of flying still beats the best day of real work."
User currently offlineContact_tower From Norway, joined Sep 2001, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 6916 times:

"I think with XP Pro you are only thinking of the client side (the thing in front of you). The server side uses other stuff. XP could not handle ATC servers."

Correct, however, the local servers for the radar system runs a microsoft server OS thingy. The server side consist of 2 servers, or "RAFTS". Just off the shelf servers, with some specialist interfaces to the radar extractors/trackers.
The system we run is by noe means demanding on the computer hardware/software, and do not need much computing power.

As for the OS2 beeing stable, it's actually (in the real life operational inviroment) the source of MUCH MORE problems then the various Windows platforms.

True, when the system was aquired in the mid 90s, it was better then all MS products. According to the techs at the central AFTN hub, the OS2 is source of much grief, in part because of the problems the systems has when interfacing with other systems.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 15, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6872 times:

As for the OS2 beeing stable, it's actually (in the real life operational inviroment) the source of MUCH MORE problems then the various Windows platforms.

Yes, well, I should have said "WAS a stable offering". It's 10 years old and most any system that old on a microcomputer platform will age. At the time, I'm sure it was great. Byt Windows surpassed it years and years ago.


microsoft server OS thingy.

LOL Big grin Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003 I would guess.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6814 times:

We have tought of a good way to scare the shite out of our boss the next time the CAA is on inspection: Minimize the radar software on the director scope (seldom used), and launch Windows Pinball!!!!!

I would have solitaire running. Big grin



At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineFanoftristars From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1608 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 6639 times:

God help us if Windows XP was running our ATC!

"The program 'Air Traffic Control' has unexpectedly quit. Would you like to send an error report to Microsoft?"

Now if they really wanted to get ATC rolling, they'd buy them all G5 iMacs with OSX! lol



"FLY DELTA JETS"
User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6626 times:

That would only pop up if they allowed the XP computer to become spy ware infected, or they did a crappy programming job on the software package.

Windows XP is pretty damn stable when it's well deployed. I can get 60 days plus (rarely go more than that because I like to keep my patches up to date). But a non-internet connected computer should be able to run damn near forever if the application that they are running is programmed well.

Edit:

And as I noted the LAX radio system is run on a Windows 95 computer. The only ill effect that they seem to have is that they have to reboot it monthly (the kernel has a bug, where it WILL stop working at 49.7 days, it's been patched, the FAA never applied it).

[Edited 2004-10-27 00:10:02]


At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineF9Widebody From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1604 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 6622 times:

God help us if Windows XP was running our ATC!

"The program 'Air Traffic Control' has unexpectedly quit. Would you like to send an error report to Microsoft?"

Now if they really wanted to get ATC rolling, they'd buy them all G5 iMacs with OSX! lol


Yes, and spend millions in the process.  Insane

[Edited 2004-10-27 00:32:42]


YES URLS in signature!!!
User currently offlineMrFord From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 6411 times:

I saw an article a year ago about uptime performance of different OSes and, for all you M$ haters, they got a Win2000 Server box running Web services running for a whopping 2 years and still running strong.

No Service Packs, no patches, nothing, just the original Win2k installation, and it never rebooted since that. Talk about stability hehe.

The main problem with IBM OS/2 wasn't that much about it's stability, but the fact that about every error conducted to a complete system lockup. The beauty of NT or UNIX systems is the possibility of shutting down a faulty program without affecting the OS.

MacOS X may be great, just not designed to handle those kind of tasks. It's made to be pretty  Smile and run graphic softwares. Why bother to write a program for OSX when you can use BSD or Linux and write it in x86, and run it on much less expensive hardware...



"For radar identification throw your jumpseat rider out the window."
User currently offlineStealthpilot From India, joined May 2004, 510 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 6384 times:

Hmmmmm I would feel more comfortable with a non windows machine running something as important as ATC.!!!!!
(Sorry for the windows bashing, just an opinion….. Smile )



eP007
User currently offlineWardialer From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1183 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 6360 times:

I can't imagine that they would be using Microsoft Windows-based systems. No way. I highly DO NOT recommend it.

A UNIX system is much much more reliable than any NT, Win2000, XP out there. I would be running Solaris, AIX, or even HP-UX (considering the really high cost for commercial UNIX).

Do not trust Windows and never will. Sorry but thats the fact.

And one other note about time, UNIX systems even have built-in UTC Clock.

And one more final note here: Yes its true, that Windows NT/Windows 2000 are a bit more stable than WindowsXP systems.

[Edited 2004-10-31 08:33:43]

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 23, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 6329 times:

Do not trust Windows and never will. Sorry but thats the fact.

If you ensure that the installation is clean and secured (no user can install progs and so on) Windows 2000/XP is very stable. If you make a custom build of Windows XP with most of the stuff stripped out it becomes very very stable.

I don't really see how you can clump NT and 2000 together, and separate XP. XP and 2000 are much closer to each other than NT (4). If nothing else, the scheduler has closer similarities.

Yes Unix is very stable, but it's also quite costly since the vendors charge through the nose for it and the hardware.

As MrFord says, Windows can be extremely stable. As with all OSs, it's about correct installation and usage. Most people have a rather bad view of Windows but these people also install and uninstall 100 programs over a few years, then expect the system to work as normal.


Finally, the point is not the stability of individual workstations less relevant than the resilience of the entire ATC system that counts.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineAirplay From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6328 times:

I don't know the answer for sure either, but I'm having a hard time believing that critical ATC functions would be relying on Windows based operating systems.

Aircraft systems that are considered "critical" must use software and operating systems that meet the appropriate level of reliability and I have yet to see ANY microsoft operating system to be installed in such applications.

So why would a function as critical as air traffic control be using an operating system that is any less reliable or vulnerable to hacking? It just doesn't make sense.

I don't think this question will ever be answered on this forum. For one thing, we haven't heard from anyone in the know, and even if we did, it is really a question of security. It would be irresponsible to reveal details of the ATC system such as the operating system(s) of various equipment. The information could easily be used for other than innocent purposes.


25 Post contains links Starlionblue : I don't know the answer for sure either, but I'm having a hard time believing that critical ATC functions would be relying on Windows based operating
26 Gigneil : I can get 60 days plus (rarely go more than that because I like to keep my patches up to date). We have many large UNIX machines with thousands of da
27 Airplay : First of all, ATC computers are not aircraft systems. No shit sherlock...but if so much effort is put into critical aircraft systems to make them safe
28 PPGMD : I can't imagine that they would be using Microsoft Windows-based systems. No way. I highly DO NOT recommend it. And exactly how many large Windows dep
29 Starlionblue : PPGMD has it right. It's not the OS. It's the installation and the administration that make the difference. Windows can be very secure and very stable
30 Gigneil : Edit: Also OS X is BSD based it's not BSD, they still run a Mac kernel, they simply use BSD code for IO and memory management. Incorrect. It runs a Ma
31 PPGMD : Windows can only be very secure and very stable at significant added cost. Many major corporations, including FedEx, are trying to replace it even on
32 Starlionblue : As PPGMD says. Making ANY system extremely reliable is expensive, regardless of OS. Sure, mainframes and their OSs are very stable (MTBF is over 25 ye
33 Post contains links Dreamer : Airplay is right, Way behind the scenes you will find the real computer systems that will never fail. I know that in Norway there is a system that run
34 Post contains images Starlionblue : They are either Nonstop, or Unix or OpenVMS Let's not forget IBM zSeries mainframes or iSeries minis (formerly AS/400) The main reasons the backend sy
35 Gigneil : I think the acceptance of Windows will increase in this space I don't. The thing you're missing out on is that those machines are specifically optimiz
36 Starlionblue : Ever heard of Windows 2003 Server Web Edition? A stripped down version of Windows 2003. And there are embedded editions of Windows. All optimized for
37 Videns : This is maybe a little bit off-topic, but what worries me most is software written by I certain company... Rockwell. One of the things I do for a livi
38 Dreamer : Starlionblue, Gigneil, You are right, there are only two systems that can compete in that world, IBM syplex and Nonstop Himalay. There is still miles
39 Post contains images Starlionblue : I definitely agree that Windows is not there today for large backends. I'm just saying who knows about the future... And yes of course scaling linearl
40 Post contains images Fanoftristars : I can't believe the level of intelligence we have here in this forum. It amazes me. I was mostly joking about Mac OSX for ATC, but since we're on the
41 Post contains images Starlionblue : Well, some of us work in this field for a living For example, I'm a Sales Engineer at a company in CPU Workload Management software and I used to work
42 Beowulf : Hi everybody, OS/2 was a very good system. The servers and PCs we ran on OS/2 worked like a charm. As for Windows system, I think they might be using
43 Gigneil : OS/2 really was quite fabulous, but IBM was never very good at marketing it. If I'm not mistaken, Delta uses a fair bit of OS/2. N
44 Wardialer : I would like to know what NORAD uses for their radar based machines. Does anyone know? At LAX probably their using HP-UX 10 commercial UNIX, but I don
45 PPGMD : At LAX probably their using HP-UX 10 commercial UNIX, but I dont really have a clue. Then it would probably surprise you that Windows 95 is used to be
46 Wardialer : Does anybody know what NORAD systems use?
47 Woodreau : Couldn't tell you about NORAD, but the computers that we use on Navy ships (and on AEGIS ships) are the AN/UYK-7, AN/UYK-43/44, AN/UYK-20 computers, t
48 Post contains links Ryan h : ATC running under windows worries me a bit. I could imagine with a plane on final approach and then suddenly the computer crashes with the blue screen
49 Post contains images Contact_tower : I have worked with several ATC systems in Norway and Sweden, and the majority was Windows NT and later on XP based. I have as all controllers experien
50 Wardialer : Woodreau - Yes, some one infact sent me an article about those ssytems. They do indeed generate alot of heat. And are you familiar with the TAC-4 Syst
51 Gigneil : And most banks have already upgraded (or in process) to upgrading to Windows XP on the desktop level, and Server 2003. For basic employee services lik
52 PPGMD : If there are, I'd be shocked. Well be shocked. Because there are, can't name names because I would break my NDA and my client's trust, but the one I w
53 Starlionblue : For basic employee services like email, file, and print. There are no large financial institutions with Server 2003 for the actual banking functions.
54 Gigneil : For a while Windows held a spot in the top 25 super computers (13 if I remember correctly), and it had the lowest transactional cost of all the super
55 PPGMD : It would be almost 2 years ago now.
56 Gigneil : In 2002, there was a Windows supercomputer at position 80. N
57 Woodreau : Wardialer, No I'm not familiar with the TAC-4 systems. I'm just a console operator and a decision maker and kick techs in the butt when stuff doesn't
58 PPGMD : Microsoft was very specfic that they were in the top 25. Probably a different list. *shrugs* I would have to get a hold of my MS rep and see if he kno
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