According to latest media reports, DRDO is in the process of building indigenous Operating System to secure our IT systems from cyber attack from hackers. Though India boasts of a leading global IT software companies such as Wipro, Infosys and such few more Billion $ companies. They lack in the core strength of developing commercially successful software products, not even simple products such as secure web browser and antivirus applications.
One of the reasons is lack of India made processor and OS. They are the foundation on which any software developer can build robust application program for many purposes. If the OS and processor owning company give limited access to the developers on the architecture and other aspects of its structure, the developers are limited in the ability to add features to the application. Also the commercially available OSs such as Windows and processors such as X86 from Intel keep getting obsolete and the newer versions are forced to the developers. Windows XP is soon going to be not supported by Microsoft, but Windows XP is not an under performing OS for many applications. Relying on open source such as Linux and Android is even more risky.
This is one part of the issue. The other important one is security. If our applications are build on imported OSs, there might be layers in OS and processor, which are known to only some developers. The expert hackers from other regions in the world who are aware of ways to access those secret layers can easily hack into any system, however robust it is. So, cyber security can be enhanced by multiple layers if we have our own OS and processor chip.
DRDO has done a great job by developing own OS. Hope more companies come out with own OS and processor IP (if not a full processor chip), particularly in the private domain. The point here is it’s not about protecting nation’s security, its also about huge revenue they can reap in this market. However the risks are high, only the brave few can attempt in these areas.
The important pillars for the Indian IT and electronics industry includes OS, processor and a semiconductor chip fab.