Flying with the BSOP (Black Screen of Penguin)

Derek Snyder and I are flying from Hong Kong to Vancouver/Canada on Cathay Pacific, nice airline, great service, comfortable seats, and an in-flight entertainment system that crashes at the drop of a hat. The interesting thing about this is the entertainment system is running Linux (see below, spot the penguin in the top left corner of the image [click to enlarge]).

During the 12 hour flight I was hoping to watch “March of the Penguins” but had to put up with watching “Reboot of the Penguins” instead – the flight attendants mentioned that this is not an isolated incident.

Reliability is key for embedded systems which are often expected to run for days, weeks, months or even years without being shutdown or rebooted, it’s only when things go wrong that we get to see what’s under the covers. Also interesting was the amount of time needed to reboot the Linux based entertainment system, it was a good few minutes from reset to fully running.

What's really interesting is how Linux fans tout the reliability and robustness of the operating system, and then we get to see things like this...

– Mike