[mythtv-users] Virgin Atlantic also uses Linux PVR on flights

Yan Seiner yan at seiner.com
Wed Sep 19 21:29:22 UTC 2007

Andrew Morley wrote:
> A couple of years ago, when I used to frequently use Virgin Atlantic 
> I discovered their in-flight systems run Linux.  Here's what I wrote 
> at the time (on-board the aircraft), to my colleague who had 
> suggested to Virgin that they open up the source of the V:port system 
> to on-board hackers to fix the (then many) bugs....

I think all the Airbuses use linux for its in-flight video system.

> Here's the really important news for you
> 3133t h4ck3r5.:  I managed to crash the v:port client and get it to reveal
> that it runs Linux.  So Dave's idea of opening up the source to v:port
> isn't totally unreasonable.  I was not, however, able to open up a shell
> and gain root access (how the hell would I type commands?).  Neither was I
> able to access the aircraft control systems and fly the plane from my seat,
> you'll be surprised to hear!
> Crashing v:port.
> It seems to involve playing space invaders and exiting in mid-game.  It
> seems to be necessary to have advanced further than the first 'boss ship'
> stage in the game.  You then exit the game.  The screen then goes blank
> while the normal is supposed to load.  I pressed some keys while this was
> happening - don't know if this was significant.
> Anyway, it gets into a state where most controls don't work, except for
> volume, brightness and, oddly ch +/-.  The latter (which normally seems to
> do nothing) switches through different video channels!
> This is rather interesting as it suggests to me that rather than streaming
> the video over ethernet (like MythTV), there may be some other way in which
> video gets to the client - possibly without involving the CPU.  (Seeing how
> the processor struggles with space invaders suggests that the CPU isn't
> terribly powerful).
> After a little while in this state (a watchdog timeout?  A process
> watcher?), the display changes to "Loading entertainment system".  This
> persists for a while and then (another watchdog times out?) the screen
> flickers and.....
> Tux appears (that's the Linux penguin) and a normal Linux boot process
> happens with text scrolling up.  Sadly I can't read fast enough to give you
> a blow-by-blow account of the process, but the last command seems to be
> "./airsurf".
> Next (presumably once 'airsurf' loads) a progress bar marches across the
> screen, incredibly slowly while it loads the main app, fonts and
> configuration.  Once all that has happened, the normal gui appears,
> inviting me to choose my language.
> I managed to make it reboot twice, but I didn't have the patience to do it
> again.  The ch +/- keys being active mode is particularly worth exploring.
> BTW when I wasn't crashing it, I watched "Nighty-night" a BBC comedy series
> - Among the most sick comedy I have ever watched.
> The time on those long trips to Japan just flew by!

Interesting.  I was too busy watching my kids on those long flights from 
PDX to NRT (entertainment is watching a 7 and 9 year old on a 11 hour 
flight in sardine class....)

But I do remember seeing the tux go by when they disconnected from the gate.

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'man' is short for 'manual' because it's very short, for a manual.

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