OK. That title is wildly misquoted from Casa Blanca. As a Linux nut I'm still pretty thrilled when I see people putting it to use in amazing ways. In another of their whimsical slideshows, Infoworld gave us The 16 weirdest places you'll find Linux.
- A slow cooker – As we demand more smarts from our devices that have to be able to run some kind of operating system. Linux is a great fit here. It's freedom allows a lot of flexibility to experiment. It also can be extremely tiny and embedded.
- Research robot – this strange humanoid robot is designed for research. Their site features a video of it going through its paces, including a bit of soccer action.
- Underwater tsunami sensors – any device that needs to work with a degree of autonomy and be able to interface with other things can benefit from Linux. It tends to just run and run and run and run.
- Computer engineer Barbie – OK... this one creates a lot of confusion for me. I'm not thrilled with the image that Barbie presents to girls, yet so many of them seem to connect with it and this one is clearly doing something more intellectual though to me she looks more like she's in marketing and... Aaaaaaggggghhh! However, she does have Tux sitting on her shelf and there is some binary code on one of her screens. It hurts my brain (and my eyes a little) but it's still kinda cool.
- Airplane entertainment systems – I've seen this one in action. The plane I was on was having some problems with the system, but it was bravely trying to restart and reconnect. This is especially amusing for me when I think about the people who tell me how unsuitable Linux is for multi-media. As Sheldon would say: "That's poppycock!"
- Bark-activated dog door – Again, something interactive that has to work reliably for a long time.
- Animate Menus – I admit that these big menu monitors that change drive me crazy because it's always on the wrong screen when I'm trying to decide what I want. However, if I were going to do one, Linux is the obvious choice.
- Gas station ads – Not really my favorite thing... but ditto on why I'd use Linux here.
- North Korea - I don't guess this is exactly an endorsement one would seek out here in capitalist-land, but... oh, well!
- The International Space Station - Are you seeing a trend here? Places where you can't call someone to come reload the operating system seem to find some value in Linux.
- Old stuff – One of the past times of Linux enthusiasts is to find places it will run. This obviously includes bleeding-edge hardware, but also includes some legacy hardware...like computers some kids think Ben Franklin used. (Ben Franklin didn't actually use a computer.) The cool thing is that when someone gets it to work they're usually pretty open about sharing, so you can dig that old thing out of the closet and breathe a little new geeky life into it. Here are a few projects that might amuse you: m68k, Wii-Linux, PS2
- Calculators, watches and other common devices – Tiny... reliable...
- The Lego supercomputer – The availability of open computing platforms like Raspberry Pi have created new opportunities to combine technology with quirky artistic sensibilities
- Titanium surfboard robots – durability... reliability... Am I repeating myself?
- Quirky ideas that don't catch on, but someone had to try anyway – I love to see unfettered creativity and innovation. Sometimes these things pan out and become the next aglet. Sometimes they just go on to history's "Well... that was interesting" pile. Since the primary requirement of experimenting with Linux is mere desire it's a great platform for crazy ideas and mad science.
- Cow milking system –Durability... reliability... and apparently sensitivity and gentleness too.
I love all of these weird uses of Linux. I know this merely scratches the surface. Share anything else you've seen.