What runs NFS, X11, and a thirteen-second quarter-mile?
In the past decade, there’s been a quiet but significant shift in the way most electronic devices work. The explosion in available computing power means that a lot of things that used to have embedded, proprietary operating systems now use less efficient but more flexible choices, like Windows CE, QNX, or some variant of the GNU/Linux/Android framework. Inevitably, therefore, this leads to people “jailbraking” or “rooting” these devices to have full control of them beyond the parameters envisioned by the developers. Sometimes the entire operating system is replaced, as with the old Linux On The Linksys hack.
As you might imagine, Tesla owners have been eager to take a shot at meeting the operating system behind the curtain, and now they are closer to making that goal happen. It’s now possible to connect to three different servers within a Tesla Model S via Ethernet. Will this eventually lead to all sorts of changes in the way people use Teslas, from unlocking additional power delivery and reserve capacity to “theme-ing the desktop”? Probably. Will it lead to people “bricking” their Teslas? Without a doubt. Is the next generation of electric-car pioneers curled up in the passenger seat of his mom’s Model S right now, hoping he doesn’t get caught as he reconfigures it to flash “takedown lights” whenever it hits 88mph or above? We’ll have to wait and see.