NASA contractor United Space Alliance migrated to Linux from Windows

NASA contractor United Space Alliance migrated to Linux from Windows and went to The Linux Foundation for help with training.

logo nasa, NASA contractor United Space Alliance migrated to Linux from Windows

It’s hard to get tech support 400 kilometers away from the Earth, which is why Keith Chuvala of United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor deeply involved in Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) operations, decided to migrate to Linux. As leader of the Laptops and Network Integration Teams, Chuvala oversees the developers in charge of writing and integrating software for the Station’s “OpsLAN” – a network of laptops that provide the ISS crew with vital capabilities for day-to-day operations, from telling the astronauts where they are, to inventory control of the equipment used, to interfacing with the cameras that capture photos and videos.

“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could.” With the transition to Linux looming, Chuvala turned to the Linux Foundation’s Linux training program for help.

Expert training produces seamless Linux migration

With a goal of getting his team up to speed on developing applications in Linux, Chuvala was looking for solid training that would address various skill levels. The Linux Foundation’s training staff arranged two courses geared specifically for the USA/NASA team’s needs: Introduction to Linux for Developers and Developing Applications For Linux. Both training sessions were adapted to provide tailored instruction for the diverse group.

Dominic Duval, the Director of Enterprise Training, was able to leverage the group’s mixed backgrounds, augment their existing knowledge with Linux-specific skills, and prepare them for developing apps related specifically to the needs of the ISS. Chuvala was extremely pleased with the expertise and flexibility Duval provided the team. “Initially, I was worried about some of our real techie guys getting ‘bored,’” said Chuvala. “But that was not the case at all. Likewise, the new people were sufficiently challenged.”

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