Although not the first Made in India operating system (OS), BharOS, developed by an IIT Madras-incubated firm has created quite a furore. The OS was successfully tested earlier this week by Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Ashwini Vaishnaw. The former called it a step towards PM Narendra Modi’s vision of a “strong, indigenous, and self-reliant digital infrastructure” in the country.
Indigenous it is, but it is crucial to note here that the unveiling comes at a time when tech giant Google recently suffered a legal setback regarding its Android operating system.
Developed by JandK Operations Limited, BharOS is a Linux kernel based operating system similar to Android. However, unlike Android, it does not include any default apps and allows users to choose the apps they wish to download. “BharOS Service is a Mobile Operating System built on a foundation of trust, with a focus on providing users more freedom, control, and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that fit their needs,” said professor V Kamakoti, Director-IIT Madras, at a press conference, as per media reports. “This innovative system promises to revolutionise the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices,” he added.
It comes with safety protocols such as the root of trust and chain of trust and can be installed on commercial off-the-shelf handsets, as per a report. It also supports the Native Over The Air updates. It means that the device always runs on the latest version of BharOS. As of now, it will be available to organisations with privacy and security requirements. “IIT Madras looks forward to working closely with many more private industries, government agencies, strategic agencies, and telecom service providers to increase the usage and adoption of BharOS,” Kamakoti said, as per a media report.
Hailing the development, Pradhan said that the “poor people of the country will be the main beneficiaries of a strong, indigenous, dependable and self-reliant digital infrastructure. BharOS is a successful step towards data privacy.”
Not the first Made in India OS
In 2007, the CDAC, short for Centre for Development of Advanced Computing – a Government of India (GOI) body under the Ministry of Electronics and IT came up with Bharat Operating System Solutions or BOSS. At that time, it was dubbed as an alternative to Microsoft’s Windows operating system. This Made in India BOSS was yet another OS derived from Linux.
However, today this operating system is largely unheard of. As per a media report, owing to a lack of investments and government support, BOSS was “dying a slow death”. The report also enumerated the major issues with the software such as infrequent updates, lack of coordination with hardware vendors, and issues with its customer support.
Hence, it will be crucial and interesting to see how developments at BharOS pan out.
The market leaders
Here, it is also crucial to go through the most-used operating systems.
Enjoying the largest market share globally is Google’s Android. An open-source operating system, it is highly popular among smartphone makers. The availability of a large number of apps and easy use makes it popular among users. Affordability also plays a factor here. Not just mobiles, Android is also available on tablets, personal computers, smartwatches, and television.
Microsoft’s Windows is the top OS for laptops and desktops. The ease of use, including by not-so-tech savvy people, affordability, security, functionalities along with accessibility makes it highly popular among users. As you might have experienced, the OS comes pre-installed on many computers.
Then comes Apple’s iOS, available for iPhones and iPads. An excellent user interface, a wide range of applications, and security make it highly popular among users. Also, it generates less heat than Android. Unlike Android, iOS is a close-source OS, meaning that Apple has complete control over it. A downside can be that it is less affordable than Android.
For its Macintosh computers or Mac, Apple has macOS. Just like iOS, an excellent user interface, security, and ease of use are its strong points. However, cost again can be seen as a downside here. Other commonly used OS include Ubuntu, Solaris, and Linux.