Linux failing to boot screen on the plane

I’ve seen Windows Blue Screen of Death, stalled boot process or simply application error dialog on many big information screens in shops, airports and other places as well in other systems such as cache machines, airport self checking systems or photo print kiosk.

Today coming back from US on NorthWest Airbus A330 we got stalled Linux boot screen on the main display when we landed. This must be some older kernel as it was in pseudo text mode black screen with penguin in the top left corner.

It is always fun to learn what is inside of these closed systems via error messages they might throw up. Too bad you can’t see if MySQL is inside the same way. In the Internet however you can frequently learn smaller sites are powered by MySQL when they print MySQL error messages to the screen in case of problems.

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Comments (5)

  • Kevin Burton Reply

    Wait…… how is it a closed system if it runs Linux?

    The penguin means it runs framebuffer instead of X….. framebuffer is cool.

    I’ve been on a number of A330’s …. nice jet. Even nicer to know it runs Linux.

    May 4, 2007 at 4:04 pm
  • peter Reply


    I meant the system about which you would not really know what is inside. Linux is Open Source itself but it does not mean the system which it runs on is open it well may contain number of special components.

    May 4, 2007 at 11:08 pm
  • Dane Reply

    I’ve seen this too. This happened while I was on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Paris. All the cabin monitors displayed a black screen with a boot error and a penguin in the top left corner. When we landed I talked with the support engineer who arrived to fix the problem: he said they used a custom Knoppix distribution for the in-flight media server.

    May 5, 2007 at 8:42 am

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