It is very simple to do yet another Linux distro. There are over 300 of them now, including Hanna Montana Linux and Justin Bieber Linux. They just took Red Hat and put some "extra" stuff in it, no doubt to protect their citizens from anti-revolutionary ideas. It also keeps Windows and its NSA spyware out, something which is beneficial to everyone. http://www.distrowatch.com/
They have done this before, e.g. with their DTV standard and cellular TD-SCDMA, at best with mixed results. This emphasis on the government doing everyone's thinking for them seems so strange by today's western standards. My thinking is, this works almost like a regulating mechanism, preventing technological innovation from flourishing in China.
It could stiffle inovation but it doesn't have to. The Chinese certainly have a significant university system they can tap into.
Security is getting to be a bigger and biger problem in the world. If it's not the NSA it's organized crime. I think all apps should be source code only and compiled by the app store. Using subroutines, or modules resident on app store system should be highly encouraged.
And a model that relies primarily on ad revenue invites corruption.
Les, it stretches credulity to think that any civil servant, of any country, would be the best choice at guiding computer OS innovation. I'm not saying that China doesn't have excellent universities. I'm instead saying that the potential of graduates from those universities will be throttled back, when government bureaucrats are the ones doing the thinking and the strategizing, for matters such as these.
Hmmm, David. I deal with bureaucrats every day. That's one leaf I wouldn't take out of anyone's book.
The Chinese MIIT allowed use of other cellular standards than their home-grown TD-SCDMA: Qualcomm's cdma2000 EV-DO and the Euro version of Wideband CDMA. For 3G, of course. TD-SCDMA is actually a hybrid of old-style TDMA and CDMA, where rigid time slots are used to allow multiple access, like TDMA did. So this creates a strict upper bound on simultaneous access, but also "guarantees" orthogonality in the chip code. (Whereas the other CDMA schemes degrade gracefully, as more and more users try to use the same frequency channel, which manifests itself as a steady decrease in SNR.)
Of course, LTE will replace these schemes anyway, for 4G.
So that's a precedent that implies they could permit use of other OSs than their own, or not. Point being, the main intent here is not to create something clearly better than the competition, but rather to change an existing standard just enough that they can avoid the patent payments. The OS situation could follow this same approach. I wouldn't make a bigger deal out of this than it is.
It could be a way to control and manage their citizens. Nevertheless, the govt has demonstrated an appetite to conquer outside territories. The boldness of China in Africa is the only reason the continent is moving forward. Where Americans and Europeans are modelling risks, Chinese just go and build
it's unlikely tha tthe Chinese government will even try to enforce that one OS over everyone. It is more likely that they see the opportunity in developing an OS that could compete in international markets and that they develop one to that end.
I'm not sure to what extent this is going to be a government OS, but it seems likely to be a successful one if the right kind of investment is placed in the right kind of technology. China has the consumer base and they must feel as though they are letting the West take advantage of their sheer numbers as in the case with iOs and Android. This is definitely a story to watch in the coming years.
I doubt that you would ever see a complete ban on foreign OSs or technology. The goal is to push a Chinese technical solution and at least dominate the Chinese market. Earlier posts were correct in the Chinese government can and will push the country into markets that are deemed important and they do feel that the west has taken advantage of the growth in China, especially as Chinese companies have been shut out of business opportunities in the west, especially the US. Our government should take note, because their actions can have repercussions on private industry.
@JimMcGregor, I take your point. However, here's something that's not clear to me. The development of China's home-grown OS has been going on way before this whole data hacking news by the U.S. government became widespread.
I wonder how much of the "security" aspect of it has driven China to develop its own OS.
The reasons for China's efforts to develop an OS are the same for developing other technologies - economics. The recent spying scandal is not a revelation to anyone. Most of the governments around the world do it at some level at it is well understood. The politicians are just publicizing it to further their cause and for political gain.
@junko.yoshida: I wonder how much of the "security" aspect of it has driven China to develop its own OS.
I think that depends on what you're talking about when you say the word.
Mostly, I think this is a national pride effort. There's a very strong "Buy Chinese products, made in China, by Chinese" over there, with a corresponding reluctance to use things not Chinese unless no other alternatives exist.
I concur with the other poster who suspects this effort is likely based on something like Linux or Android (which uses a Linux kernel.) It would certainly be possible to write an OS from scratch, but making it compatible with huge numbers of things written to run on other OSes, as this claims to be, is another matter.
The principal safety feature mentioned is that it can only get and install apps from the official app store. (Android has no such requirement, and malware spreads from shady sites because it can.) Apps offered by the official app store will supposedly be vetted to insure they're clean.
But given the attempts by the Chinese government to lock down computer systems and communications, and prevent free access to the rest of the world by Chinese citizens, I'd worry about malware installed by the government, to keep track of where the user was going and what they were doing.
I can certainly see offering consumer grade and military grade encryption, though I am amused by "The Chinese don't want software infrastructure that relies on weak RSA encryption and no western company can ship strong encryption east," Export controls on strong encryption simply demonstrate those making the rules have no understanding of technology. The principles behind strong encryption are well known and documented, and anyone with the technical capability (which China certainly has) can roll it's own.
By the way, do we know how much an OS can do to gather intelligence? I would imagine that such an OS wouldn't be devised for tablets, smartphones and othe rend user devices. Then again, with the amount of content that is going to the cloud and that is being run on these end user devices, it might be a smart way to get into people's private information.
We Japanese tried to standardrise on TRON, developed in Japan back in 80s as open-standard OS. Originally TRON had four variants: RTOS variant for Industry (ITRON), PC variant for Business (BTRON), Mainframe variant (MTRON) and Communication variant (CTRON). ITRON is most successful variant. ITRON was quite major for Japanese embedded industry, and it was fundation for legacy (non-smart) cell phone.
However when iPhone and Android come into cel phone market, ITRON could not compete with them. Though ITRON is memory-efficient and robust RTOS Kernel, it does not have middleware and application support. Hardware support (BSP and device driver) is generally poor, no standard GUI, no standard protocol stack, no Audio/Video codec comes with ITRON.
Writing OS is easy part. Building ecosystem on that OS is different story.
@y_sasaki, thanks. Yes, the thought of TRON also came to my mind when I first learned of China's effort for its home-grown OS. And I must say that I can't even imagine Japan today even contemplating to launch something like Tron project.
But here's the thing.
Had Japan started Tron project not in 80's but today, do you think it would have had a better chance of success? Given what the industry knows what it takes to build an ecosystem leveraging an "open source" community on the global scale?
Or, it would have failed anyway, because Japan tends to lack the global perspectives on any home-grown initiatives?