We have come across tech giants like Google and Apple through the smartphones that we use. We have also come across terms like Android and iOS. So, what are these actually? They are smartphone-based Operating Systems. Recently, India also launched its own indigenous Operating System, known as the BharOS Operating system. The newly launched Operating System is pitching against heavyweights like Google and Apple.
In this article, we will explain what is BharOS, why it was introduced in the world of OS, its security features, and if it is going to provide tough competition to the Operating Systems of Silicon Valley.
Before we move on that, let us get into the basics of an Operating System.
What is an Operating System?
- An Operating System or OS is a system software that manages all software, hardware, computer’s memory, and processes.
- An OS is a very crucial part of a computer/smartphone without which the latter wouldn’t function.
- The OS gets the different computer programs to have access to the CPU, memory, and storage.
- In other words, an OS enables users to interact with their devices and access its features.
- Examples of computer-based OS are Microsoft Windows, Windows 10, Linux, etc.
- The two Operating Systems for smartphones are Android and iOS which are owned by foreign companies Google and Apple respectively.
What is BharOS?
- BharOS is a Linux kernel-based mobile Operating System that is developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), a startup incubated by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation (a non-profit organization).
- It is endorsed by the Government of India and is quite similar to an Android OS.
- BharOS doesn’t come with already installed apps granting users greater control, freedom, and flexibility to download the applications of their choice.
- It is free and open-source software.
- BharOS was launched by education minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Telecommunications and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw at a public event.
- This initiative is a step to fuel the economy.
- The main advantage of BharOS is that it grants users more security and privacy.
- The government endeavors to fuel the economy through this important step.
- Since not much information is available on BharOS, it is presumed that it is a forked version of Android.
What is a Forked Version of Android?
- The forked version of Android means that the developers use the source code of Android to develop the OS.
- Since Google has provided an open-source code, any developer is free to use and modify it to launch their own Operating systems.
- Technically, BharOS software will be able to access some of the Google services as the giant tech has announced that it will allow the building of forked Android variants by some manufacturers.
- The BharOS Operating System aims to benefit 100 crore mobile users.
- BharOS is looking forward to opting for DuckDuckGo as its browser.
Why BharOS was introduced in the Operating System World?
- BharatOS is an example to create an Atmanirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant India with a strong digital infrastructure in the country.
- It is an initiative by the Indian government to try and stand out in the competitive mobile market where Google Android has over 90% market share in the mobile OS ecosystem.
- BharatOS is also an endeavor to reduce the dependence of the country and its people on foreign technology and equipment.
- It is like taking a page out of China’s playbook to develop a unique Operating System of its own so that the local tech ecosystem could be developed.
- Finally, there was a demand for an Indian application store that will not levy exorbitant rates for sales which is why the BharOS was introduced.
How Secure is BharOS?
- BharOS can be installed on commercial off-the-shelf handsets.
- It grants users greater freedom for setting permissions for apps on their device
- BharOS only gives users access to a list of trusted apps via organization-specific Private App Store Services (PASS).
- PASS has undergone security and privacy checks to meet the standards of the organization.
- Security updates (Native over The Air/NOTA) and bug fixes will be automatically installed instead of manually having to install or update them.
- This will ensure that the updated or latest version of the OS is running which will provide additional security to the device.
- The BharOS software services are currently being catered to organizations with stringent privacy and security requirements.
- Therefore, it is for government and public systems.
- It is particularly for users who need access to cloud services over private 5G networks for secure communication.
Will BharOS Replace the Big Tech?
- Challenging Big Tech with a new OS is a mammoth task.
- It will require infinite resources along with robust developer support to replace Big Tech.
- The flow of a wide range of apps has popularised Big Tech and it only requires a good list of apps to make the new OS thrive or overpower Big Tech.
- Previously, different companies like Microsoft, Blackberry, and Samsung tried dominating Big Tech like Google and Apple but failed in their endeavor.
- However, there are several unclear things regarding BharOS like how will one replace an already installed OS with BharOS, which devices will support it, or steps to install the OS.
- Whatever be it, the duopoly of Google and Apple seems to be irreplaceable.
- However, since Google has recently faced a legal defeat in India from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) over its Android OS, people are a lot more curious about the new Operating System.
- We cannot say for sure if BharOS will replace BigTech but every big thing starts from somewhere. For BharOS, it is just the beginning.
Challenges that BharOS Operating System Will Face in India’s Mobile Ecosystem
There are basically three challenges that BharOS will face in India’s mobile ecosystem:
- BharOS cannot provide a flow of apps from local developers as they will be more invested in popular Operating systems like Android and iOS.
- Users who have been using mobile devices with Android or iOS are likely to prefer them over devices with BharOS as the Operating system.
- It will be quite difficult to convince smartphone manufacturers to launch phones with BharOS Operating System.
- Despite these challenges, BharOS may become the dominant OS in the mobile ecosystem. All that is required are proper actions taken by the government of India.
In 2007, the Indian Government provided an alternative to Microsoft Windows which was named the Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS). However, the effort to develop a new OS is failing as it remains unpopular with infrequent updates, limited hardware coordination, and not enough customer backup services.
What was missing? It was the need for government support in large proportions. We hope that something similar doesn’t happen with BharOS. To prevent that, the government’s motives need to have a solid foundation that will help in overcoming the different challenges that BharOS will face in the Operating System market.
Therefore, it must ensure proper investment in large amounts and provide enough support so that BharOS continues to thrive in the modern mobile ecosystem.