US Navy Catamaran Uses Mozilla as Part of its Command and Control System

Monday April 5th, 2004

Computerworld is reporting that the US Navy's HSV 2 Swift catamaran uses Mozilla technology. The Swift, described as the most technologically advanced vessel produced to date, uses Mozilla as the user interface layer of its COMBATSS command and control system. Thanks to Jesse and Lee Marzke for the news.

#1 Sad day

by gbpa005

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 1:02 AM

What a sad announcement! Like everything, Mozilla can be used for good or worse. Finally, it is misused for millitary purposes.

#2 Re: Sad day

by berkut

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 1:19 AM

How is it missused? It's being used as a user interface layer which is the point of Mozilla to be more that just a browser...

#22 Re: Re: Sad day

by schapel

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 11:00 PM

If you read the article, you'll see that Mozilla is being used as just a browser. The "user interface layer" is not an application built on the Mozilla application framework.

#3 Re: Sad day

by Gnu

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 2:37 AM

We must remember that the internet has its roots in military application. Like it or not, many of the modern conveniences we enjoy are thanks to military development. I'm as vehemently opposed to abuses of military power as any right-thinking world citizen should be, but I can't see this as anything but a positive endorsement for Mozilla technology being used in critical real-world applications.

#4 Re: Sad day

by Jens_B

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 3:43 AM

Oh, come on... Although I'm against militarism, war and unneccessary military operations, I would never find it "sad" that military forces use general-purpose tools (for "bad" things) I normally use for something else ("good"): Think of screwdrivers, electric light, computer keyboards, cell phones, GPS (and the internet, as Gnu pointed out below)...

Btw.: Would be interesting to know how the "Mozilla=Communism"-people react to Mozilla being used by a democratic/capitalistic state's army :-)

#5 correction

by Jens_B

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 3:44 AM

meant "above" instead of "below", naturally

#6 Re: Re: Sad day

by Gnu

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 4:12 AM

Besides, this ship looks as if it were designed for domestic defense, not offensive maneuovers. There's a bit of a difference there.

I just think it's incredibly cool. This is, like, one step shy of Mozilla controlling a nuclear power plant reactor or an air traffic system. Seeing it used in such mission-critical devices is a huge boost in gaining a foothold in large corporate environments, where Mozilla really needs the biggest push and holds the most potential.

#12 Re: Sad day

by roseman

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 11:58 AM

the military also uses toilet seats. i hope you do not now object to toilet seats...

#7 Navy to support Mozilla development?

by durbacher

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 4:45 AM

Having the Navy as an active supporter of Mozilla development (money- and developer-wise, just like IBM) - e.g. to make it more stable and secure - sounds funny. However, I don't think they are interested in developing it, they are more like just using it as they use other tools (you know, screwdrivers, computer keyboards, etc, all from above). They are also not likely to be willing to spend money to improve those other tools.

Mozilla being used by other important institutions might sound more positive, but it's definitely nice to see surface such uses of Mozilla more and more often. This makes me feel like Mozilla is used by many more comparable projects - there has just nobody stumbled upon a news article about it.

#8 Awesome!

by morg

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 10:12 AM

This is great!

I am proud to be an American.

#9 Re: Awesome!

by ezh

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 10:18 AM

Yugoslavia, Iraq...

#11 Re: Re: Awesome!

by morg

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 11:46 AM

That's right.

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Afghanistan, etc....

#18 Re: Re: Re: Awesome!

by ezh

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 4:27 PM

Ups, you forgot the indians...

#19 Minimal intelligence

by wvh

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 6:34 PM

What the fuck has being American to do with this?

I sure wish it would take more for you to be proud of your country, especially this day and age.

(YOU dragged it out here, I didn't.)

#24 Re: Minimal intelligence

by jedbro

Wednesday April 7th, 2004 9:39 AM

Dude, chill!

#10 Safety critical??

by max_spicer

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 10:27 AM

Hmm, I'm not sure I'd like to rely on Mozilla for anything to do with missiles. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan and advocate of Mozilla, but we're not exactly talking real-time systems here, are we! You'd kind of hope that they'd be using somewhat more robust stuff than an off the shelf web browser!

#13 Re: Safety critical??

by roseman

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 12:01 PM

if they were to use MS-IE, we would be firing missles at ourselves instead ! *ack* ...or the enemy would launch our own missles at us. *spit* the warhead would arm & the timer would start, but the launch mechanism would go blue screen of death. yeesh, i will take mozilla any day of the week.

#14 Reply

by napolj2

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 12:34 PM

Imagine the kinds of bugzilla spam we might get. Instead of "You guys need to fix this bug right away. Mozilla sucks.", we might get "We were in the heat of battle and because you guys never bothered to fix this our whole control system crashed. We lost 3 men!" No, I doubt they would use Mozilla in any mission critical sense, at least not without serious testing. And maybe now I can justify the time I spend in bugzilla as "national security work" ;)

#15 Re: Reply

by roseman

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 12:57 PM

would you rather lose 3 men w/moz, or lose 300 + the ship itself with msie?

#16 Reply

by napolj2

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 3:24 PM

I'd rather lose 0 men. The article states that Mozilla is only used for the UI. "Users interface with Combatss using a Mozilla browser." When I said Mozilla shouldn't be used for mission critical applications, I meant the more internal aspects, not the UI. There is special, real-time software for that.

#17 Re: Reply

by roseman

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 4:02 PM

i am still glad there are using Mozilla UI, and NOT msie-UI. far safer for anyone on the ship, no matter what it is being used for. if the cook wishes to use the broswer as a timer for cooking potatoes, then let there be less food poisoning.

#21 naive

by wvh

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 6:40 PM

You think mozilla can improve _army food_?... ;)

#23 Re: naive

by roseman

Wednesday April 7th, 2004 7:25 AM

rather, i think MS-IE could ruin army food - make it EVEN worse. now that is scary...

#20 safety critical

by wvh

Tuesday April 6th, 2004 6:37 PM

I'm sure they know what they are doing. Last I checked, shooting missiles was not a mozilla menu entry. ;)

#27 Re: safety critical

by ekrock

Thursday April 8th, 2004 10:35 PM

Don't be *too* sure. Remember this is the same U.S. Navy that had to tow a ship back to port in the middle of a combat training exercise because they'd unwisely built its control system on Windows which then irrecoverably crashed during the exercise.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of Moz and of the U.S. Navy and think this automation research project is a great idea. But it seems like the UI could be a mission critical interface and Moz was never designed for real time applications, so I really hope they've fully thought this issue through.

#26 Re: Safety critical??

by roseman

Wednesday April 7th, 2004 2:45 PM

look at the alternatives. i refer you to a computerworld article (about microsoft products):,10801,92013,00.html?nas=VVR-92013 --- i will stick with opensource any day of the week for any application.

#25 what a sad day!!!

by wde

Wednesday April 7th, 2004 1:01 PM

I agree with the posts about this being a sad day for everyone. In fact, I never go to any state parks where there are guided tours in caves, because I know Osoma bin Laden is hiding in a cave much like the one we would be in, and it just seems disrespectful. This will be my last post as I am moving to TN to live in the woods where I will never have to deal with conflict again.