Why does India want an indigenous operating system?

All operating systems of our gadgets are manufactured and supported by Big Tech. Now the government plans to facilitate an ecosystem to create a native operating system as an alternative to Android and iOS. Here is more

Operating system | Google Android | Google Apple

An operating system is software required to operate and manage a computing device such as a smartphone, tablet, computer, smartwatch, etc. It is the operating system that eliminates the need to know the coding language to interact with computing devices. At the heart of an operating system is the kernel, which controls all major functions of a computer’s hardware. The kernel resides in system memory – responsible for memory management and process management. It decides which process gets CPU resources when and for how long. User-visible applications, such as web browsers, interact with the kernel through a set of functions called the system call interface (SCI). The three widely used operating systems for computers are Windows from Microsoft, macOS from Apple, and the open source operating system Linux. Windows comes preloaded on most computers, except Apple devices. MacOS comes as a preloaded operating system on all Apple computers. Although Linux does not come pre-installed on many computers, it is free to download. In the smartphone segment, Android holds 70% market share and iOS 30% in India.

Other mobile operating systems have a negligible presence.

The Indian factory to support the development of an indigenous mobile operating system could aim to counter the dominance of US tech giants Google and Apple. Previously, companies like Microsoft and Blackberry had developed their own mobile operating system, but they were scaled back amid the growing influence of Android and iOS. Previously, the government tried to develop its own operating system named Bharat Operating System Solutions, which did not find many takers. Indus OS, created by a group of IIT graduates in 2013, also failed to attract many fans. This time, the government hopes to negate the Google-Apple duopoly over India’s thriving tech startup ecosystem. The government is looking for capacity within the start-up and academic ecosystems for the development of the indigenous operating system. To that end, the Union Minister had hinted at plans to come up with a policy that would facilitate the development of Indian internet startups and entrepreneurs. In fact, Indian startups have long complained about the fees charged by Apple AppStore and Google Play for hosting apps on their platforms. A native operating system also gives the government some control over hosted applications, data sharing, security and more. The plan is in line with its Atmanirbhar Bharat or Self Reliant India policy.

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First published: Tuesday, February 22, 2022. 08:45 IST

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