vintage computers in active use

Swift Griggs swiftgriggs at
Fri May 27 10:41:07 CDT 2016

On Thu, 26 May 2016, Toby Thain wrote:
> We're pretty much already there.

Agreed. You should hear one of my buddies talk about the air traffic 
control software he wrote which was replaced with some horror.

> Audits of the F35 software found:
>  * single points of failure (grounding global fleet)
>  * security issues
>  * that software is the single biggest risk to the project

One of the principles of Unix: KISS, has been nearly completely lost. 
Nobody calls a meeting anymore to say "What can we get rid of? How can we 
simplify this? What is the *right* thing to do here?" It's more like "how 
big of a kickback will I get if I put in this nasty thing this vendor 
wants to sell?" or "Does the new system have buzz?"

I worked on a gaming system one time (gambling) for embedded Linux 
systems. I recognized a few really critical bugs that might have even been 
exploitable. Neither the code shop or the clients gave a hoot. They 
responded with platitudes when I said "Can we go back and fix the most 
critical of our 300 bugs before we move on to new features?" The answer: 
"Not now, maybe later." That's one more lesson at the school of hard 
knocks, I guess.

> It's not clear how much Microsoft is already in that loop.

My guess is "a lot". The military seemed to have drank nearly the entire 
bottle of M$ kool aid, especially the Army.

> While the existence of such projects is ... questionable to begin with, 
> one might think the continual under-delivery (across all military 
> boondoggles) might give taxpayers pause.

1 TRILLION (with big fat "T") dollars went into the F35 development 
(that's nearly half of one years tax revenue for the entire country), the 
results thus far have been pathetic if the news is to be believed. At 
least most of that money, boondoggle or not, is spent in the USA, I guess. 

However, I pine for the days when modest efforts produced the incredible 
SR-71 Blackbird (my all-time favorite aircraft). It was produced 
relatively quickly compared to the F35. Wikipedia says they started 
designing it in 1960 and it was flying by 1962. I'm no aviation expert by 
a long shot, but still that seems infinitely better than the current 
circus around the F35. I know that they aren't the same type of aircraft, 
and that the F35 is more "sophisticated" (but still way slower). I also 
understand that they had a zillion different design goals and basically 
were trying to please too many masters. I'm not sure who the blame rests 
with, but I'm right there with you calling the F35 a boondoggle. It hasn't 
seen battle yet (and I hope it doesn't have to) but I'm a little worried 
about the fact that it's beaten (badly) in simulations and exercises with 
much older fighter aircraft with much more "primitive" tech, including 
Russian aircraft, too. 

Aviation guys, am I all wet about the F35?


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