India plans to develop a new futuristic computer operating system, with an eye to enhancing the security of its computer systems.
The new operating system is being developed by the country’s Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO).
This national effort would be spearheaded by DRDO in partnership with software companies in and around Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi, besides academic institutions like Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and IIT Chennai, among others.
Although the new operating system will be originally developed for defense applications, it may also be made available to the commercial sector.
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. Having its own operating system will help India prevent hacking of its systems.
Two software engineering centers are being set up for this purpose in Bangalore and New Delhi. DRDO was putting in place a dedicated team of 50 software professionals in the software development centers to accomplish the task.
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.
DRDO had put in place a complete framework on the proposed commercial arm, which was currently in the process of securing necessary government approvals and was expected to be operational next year.
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.