Airborne Linux Hackers Unite!

Virgin America calls its new in-flight entertainment system “Red,” but it is really a gigantic sociological experiment in airborne distributed computing.

First consider the idea of a plane full of networked, Linux-based computers. (There will be one in each of the seat backs of the A319 and A320 jets that are to inaugurate service between San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles and Washington this week.)

Each of the 149 seats will come with a 9-inch touch-sensitive display, a keyboard that can be removed from the armrest, a 110-volt outlet, an Ethernet jack, and a U.S.B. port. Fliers can use the system to watch free satellite television channels, pay to watch movies, listen to thousands of MP3 music files, and even order food.

Read the full NYTimes article.