Bangalore, India – National security concerns have prompted the Indian government to proceed with plans to develop its own operating system.
The move follows earlier plans to develop secure chips for sensitive applications.
India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is establishing two software engineering centers, here and in New Delhi, to develop a secure OS. About 25 scientists in each of these centers will work on the project, according to V.K. Saraswat, director general of DRDO.
The government also said banks and other critical industries need a secure OS to prevent hacking. Development and maintenance of OS source code is considered key to securing India’s computer networks, Saraswat added.
DRDO will work on the OS development project with the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the Center for Development of Telematics, among others.
The proposed OS could also be used commercially, Saraswat said, adding that development could be "a fairly costly affair." He declined to estimate how long development would take.
India government agencies, including military organizations have been plagued by hacking attempts on its computer networks and various Web sites. Most of the attempts are thought to have originated in China. DRDO officials would not comment about whether the hacking attempts prompted the OS development effort.
In July 2009, the Indian government revealed plans to design its own microprocessor through an initial investment of $200 million. Among the justifications for the program was an attempt to head off attacks on Indian military, telecommunications and space agency networks.
--K.C. Krishnadas is site editor, TechOnline India.