On January 24, Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Dharmendra Pradhan successfully tested the operating system made by JandK Operations Private Limited, a company incubated at IIT Madras.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras director V Kamakoti told Moneycontrol BharOS, the homegrown operating system that was successfully tested by Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Dharmendra Pradhan on January 24, is based on a Linux kernel.
Kamakoti said The Linux kernel is the main component of the open-source Linux operating system developed by Finnish software engineer Linus Tovalds. Android, too, is a derivative of the Linux kernel.
This is important because BharOS is being promoted by the Indian government as an indigenous mobile operating system. On January 24, a Press Information Bureau release described BharOS as a “Made in India operating system”, which was an important step towards fulfilling the PM’s vision of “strong, indigenous and self-reliant digital infrastructure in India”.
Speaking over phone, Kamakoti said, “Any Android operating system is a fork of original Linux distribution. We have used some early versions of Linux — it’s basically a derivative of the Linux kernel. However, a lot of customisation including security protocols, such as root of trust and chain of trust modifications have been done to create BharOS.”
This indicates that the core of the BharOS operating system may share similarities with the Android operating system, but the difference in the former lies in how it has been developed on top.
This is unlike Android phones where users are forced to choose from Google products such as Google Maps, Chrome and so on. For instance, the operating system comes with No Default Apps (NDA). This means that users are not forced to use apps that they may not be familiar with or that they may not trust, a statement from IIT Madras said.
The other BharOS-enabled phone was sent from IIT Madras to IIT Tirupathi director KN Satyanarayana. For the testing of the operating system on January 24, one BharOS-enabled phone was given to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.