In an effort to break foreign software monopoly, China is developing its own operating system, and is hoping to launch it by October. The OS will initially be made available for desktops, with support for smartphone and other mobile devices coming later.
“We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores”, said Ni Guangnan, who heads an official OS development alliance established in March by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
China has increasingly sought to limit the use of US technology in the wake of Snowden’s leaks. The Chinese authorities recently banned government use of Windows 8, and also launched anti-monopoly investigations against Microsoft.
Guangnan said that there is a huge gap between China’s technology and that of developed nations, however he hoped that the new OS would be able to replace foreign desktop operating systems within one to two years and their mobile counterparts within three to five.
This isn’t the first time China is coming up with a homegrown operating system. Back in 2000, it launched Red Flag Linux with great fanfair, yet the OS failed to gain a major foothold ultimately halting operations earlier this year.
In January, the Chinese government launched COS (China Operating System), a Linux-based open source mobile OS. It was developed jointly with China’s Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) and Shanghai Liantong.
China also helps fund Ubuntu Kylin, a version of Ubuntu designed for Chinese users. According to Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, over three million people downloaded the OS in the first 12 months.