India To Develop Its Own Operating System

Development of a high level operating system is something that takes time, and is a continuing work, as anyone who looks at Microsoft Windows, or  Ubuntu Linux,  is aware of.

News from the sub-continent, as India used to be called, is that a new operating system will be developed by the government, apparently quite different from anything available now. The story appeared in ComputerWorld , and gives a few of the reasons for the project.

India plans to develop a new computer operating system, with an eye to enhancing the security of its computer systems, a government spokesman said on Monday.

The new operating system is being developed by the country’s Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), Ravi Kumar Gupta, a spokesman for the DRDO, said.

The DRDO is a wing of the country’s Ministry of Defence, and has about 50 laboratories specialized in developing technologies in a number of areas including aeronautics, armaments, electronics, combat vehicles, engineering systems, instrumentation, missiles, advanced computing and simulation, special materials, naval systems, life sciences, training, information systems and agriculture.

Although the new operating system will be originally developed for defense applications, it may also be made available to the commercial sector, Gupta said.

Since we have no clues about what, if any, current operating system will be used a a template, we have no idea what will be the strong points of the effort. We only have a clue that since it will be geared for security, the commercial segments that are in need of high security may be very interested. If it does not use any of the paradigms of either Windows or Linux, it would certainly take a while for hackers and malware authors to study, before becoming able to launch any attacks against it.

Other details of the operating system were not disclosed, including its date of availability.

The decision to develop an operating system has been driven primarily by security concerns, Gupta said.

Having its own operating system will help India prevent hacking of its systems, V.K. Saraswat , scientific adviser to the Defence Minister, and DRDO Director-General said on Saturday, according to media reports. Two software engineering centers are being set up for this purpose in Bangalore and New Delhi, he added.

India is tightening on security and the right to interception by the government on various fronts. Its current dispute with Research In Motion for greater access to communications on the BlackBerry network for example reflects its concern that communications are increasingly used by terrorists and other enemies of the country to plan attacks.

It has also introduced rules for telecommunications service providers that require them to buy from vendors who are willing, among other things, to give the government access when required to software source code and engineering designs of their products. The rules are under review after they came in for criticism from some vendors.

I realize that no system in current is totally secure, but I wonder why the country wants to reinvent the wheel. SELinux is very secure, and certainly provides a very straightforward and robust way of accomplishing the needs of a nation’s defense without beginning from step 1.


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