India has a rich history of developing indigenous solutions (indigenous operating systems) in the technology space. This is evident in the domain of operating systems as well, where Indian developers have created several noteworthy homegrown OS over the years. While early attempts lacked adoption, recent projects have shown more promise. With the government’s push towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat, there is renewed interest in indigenous operating systems. Developing a competitive indigenous OS can significantly boost technological innovation and self-reliance in India. It can also enable security features tailored for the country and support Indian languages better.
The hugely successful Aadhaar project has demonstrated India’s capabilities in building large-scale platforms. With the right policy support, India has immense talent that can be leveraged to build world-class made-in-India operating systems. There is definitely potential for Indian tech companies to develop Operating Systems that can compete globally across desktop and mobile platforms. It remains to be seen if any indigenous OS can truly take off and gain mainstream adoption across consumer and enterprise segments. But the history of initiatives in this space makes for an impressive and inspiring journey.
BOSS Linux – The Bharat Operating System, indigenous operating systems
- BOSS Linux is a Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution developed by CDAC and IIT Madras. It stands for Bharat Operating System Solutions.
- Key features of BOSS Linux include:
- Completely free and open-source software
- Supports major Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, etc.
- Enterprise-ready security features
- Options for desktop and server versions
- BOSS Linux aims to enable the adoption of open-source software within India and reduce dependency on proprietary operating systems.
- It is pre-loaded on computers distributed in schools and governments under various projects and supports e-governance applications.
- BOSS Linux has received backing from the Government of India through National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software.
- With continued development, it holds promise to become a widely used indigenous OS, especially in the public sector.
Indie OS – A Linux-based OS for India
– Indie OS is a Debian-based Linux distribution developed by Indus OS and designed for Indian users.
– It offers a simple and easy-to-use interface localized in 12 Indian languages.
– Key highlights of Indie OS:
– Apps for banking, railways ticket booking etc.
– Integrated messaging and social apps.
– Voice calling and AI-based assistant.
– Digital lockers for documents.
– Preloaded educational content.
– Indie OS aims to enable first-time internet users in India to overcome the language barrier and provide a seamless experience through vernacular apps and services.
– Available via App Store, it has the potential for good adoption across price-sensitive users looking for regional language support.
BharOS – Bharat Operating System
– BharOS is an upcoming Linux-based operating system initiated by IIT Delhi and supported by the government.
– It aims to build an indigenous OS for both desktop/laptop and mobile users with a goal to make India self-reliant in the software platform space.
– Key objectives of BharOS:
– Provide OS with data privacy and security features.
– Support major Indian languages for ease of use.
– Host applications via the app store catering to Indian users.
– Customized for both government and civilian users.
– Planned Rollout:
– Desktop version by 2023
– Mobile version by 2025
– BharOS has the potential to see good adoption with government backing and focus on localization.
NeemOS – Made in India for the World
– NeemOS is an open-source Linux-based operating system designed and developed domestically.
– It is built with a focus on providing high stability, security and privacy out of the box.
– Key features include:
– Hardened kernel with security enhancements.
– Encrypted filesystem and partitions.
– Sandboxed applications for extra security.
– VPN and firewall tools preinstalled.
– NeemOS aims to be an OS suited not just for India but the world, competing on metrics like speed, stability and security.
– Initial target users include developers, IT pros, privacy-conscious users and tech enthusiasts.
– Wide-scale public adoption faces challenges but NeemOS can see usage by startups, companies and government agencies prioritizing security.
NavOS – An Indian Navigation System
– NavOS is an operating system designed specifically to power navigation systems and leverages Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
– It is developed jointly by ISRO and CDAC with the following key capabilities:
– Accuracy powered by IRNSS and GAGAN satellites.
– Tools for building location-based solutions and apps.
– APIs and SDK for developers.
– Support navigation across land, sea, and air.
– Key objectives behind NavOS:
– Make India self-reliant in satellite navigation space.
– Enable wide adoption of IRNSS across personal and commercial applications.
– Fuel growth of the geospatial industry.
– NavOS holds promise for powering next-gen navigation and LBS applications ‘Made in India’.
Maya OS – An OS for the Masses, indigenous operating systems
– Maya OS is a Debian-based operating system optimized for low-resource computers.
– It is designed to run well even with limited RAM and storage.
– Key features:
– Lightweight desktop environment.
– Support for older hardware.
– Good performance with minimal resources.
– Personal assistant chatbot.
– Security tools preinstalled.
– Maya OS aims to promote the use of free and open-source software among the Indian masses.
– It can potentially see adoption across low-income households and budget computer labs in schools. However, overcoming user inertia toward the existing dominant OS remains a challenge.
JaldiOS – Fast and Streamlined
– JaldiOS is a Linux distro optimized for speed and efficiency even on modest hardware.
– It uses a streamlined desktop environment and apps to provide a smooth experience.
– Key highlights:
– Very low memory and CPU usage
– Fast boot time
– Snappy performance for daily tasks
– Uncluttered simple interface
– JaldiOS prioritizes raw performance and quick usage for basic needs.
– It is well suited for reviving old computers and for users wanting OS with low overhead.
– While not targeted for mainstream consumers, JaldiOS can find adoption in special use cases needing speed on dated systems.
Swadeshi OS – Self-Reliant and Secure
– Swadeshi OS is a GNU/Linux distribution developed domestically with a focus on security and self-reliance.
– It aims to boost indigenous software while reducing reliance on foreign-controlled proprietary OS.
– Key features:
– Encrypted partitions and filesystem
– No dependency on services outside India
– Auditability of the entire OS code
– Custom browser, apps, and tools
– Swadeshi OS is targeted at government agencies, PSUs, and companies prioritizing data security and privacy.
– It faces challenges in user experience compared to mature OS but can see adoption in strategic domains.
NavIC OS – Geo-Spatial Capabilities
– NavIC OS is an operating system customized to leverage the capabilities of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
– It aims to promote indigenous navigation services provided by NavIC satellites.
– Key capabilities:
– API access to NavIC location data
– IRNSS-based navigation and tracking
– Geospatial app development platform
– Real-time mapping visualizations
– NavIC OS can foster an ecosystem of consumer and enterprise applications based on IRNSS.
– Wider adoption depends on the proliferation of NavIC-enabled devices. But strategic adoption is assured in critical sectors.
Veer OS – For Quantum and AI Computing
– Veer OS is a Linux-based operating system optimized for quantum computing and AI workloads.
– It aims to boost indigenous efforts in next-gen computing domains.
– Key features:
– Integration of quantum and classical workflows
– Optimized for quantum algorithms and libraries
– Supports major AI frameworks like TensorFlow, PyTorch, etc
– Tools for building AI models
– Quantum emulators and simulators
– Veer OS seeks to drive innovation in areas like quantum machine learning.
– It has the potential for adoption among researchers, developers, startups, and companies working on quantum and AI.
Dharma OS – Ethical and Values-based
– Dharma OS is an open-source operating system built around principles of ethics, transparency, and digital rights.
– It aims to balance technological progress with human values.
– Key attributes:
– No hidden tracking or telemetry
– Open auditable code
– Encryption by default
– Strict data privacy controls
– Ad-free experience
– Support for formats like ODF, RDF, markdown etc.
– Dharma OS appeals to socially-conscious users prioritizing digital ethics and online rights. It faces adoption challenges among mainstream consumers.
Tara OS – Built for Rural Users, indigenous operating systems
– Tara OS is a lightweight Linux-based operating system optimized for low-end hardware.
– It is designed keeping in mind the challenges of rural users with limited resources.
– Key features:
– Support for legacy hardware
– Modest RAM and storage footprint
– Applications for local info, jobs, government schemes etc
– Video tutorials and guides for first-time users
– Interface available in regional languages
– By bridging the digital divide, Tara OS aims to enable millions of rural Indians with appropriate technological solutions. It holds immense potential for adoption in rural areas.
Kisaan OS – Targeting the Agriculture Sector
– Kisaan OS is a specialized distro aimed at Indian farmers with a focus on agriculture solutions.
– It provides a host of farming-centric apps and data capabilities.
– Key features:
– Crop management and advisory modules
– Commodity pricing information
– Weather forecasts and crop insurance
– Access to government schemes
– Digital literacy programs
– Available in regional languages
– Kisaan OS aims to make technology purpose-built for Indian farmers. It has tremendous scope for bringing the benefits of digitization to crores of farmers in India.
Samridhi OS – Boosting Enterprise Productivity
– Samridhi is a Linux-based OS optimized for enterprise usage with a focus on security and productivity.
– It aims to provide organizations with an affordable Windows alternative.
– Key highlights:
– Group policy controls
– Remote desktop access
– Preconfigured firewall and VPN
– Office suite
– Collaboration tools
– Support and training programs
– With continued development, Samridhi OS holds potential for significant enterprise adoption and realizes the goal of a sovereign OS powering India’s digital ambitions.
Sanskriti OS – Celebrating Cultural Heritage
– Sanskriti OS aims to build cultural pride by bringing India’s heritage to digital space.
– It offers a unique platform to digitally preserve and promote arts, crafts, languages, etc.
– Key features:
– Repository of cultural assets like art forms, artifacts, etc.
– Digital tools for Indian art and crafts
– Apps for learning classical music and dance
– Ancient games and stories
– Works of regional poets and authors
– Dictionary of Indian languages
– By putting Indian culture at the forefront, Sanskriti OS can potentially foster a generation proud of its identity. It appeals to history and culture enthusiasts.
Garuda OS – Myths Meets Next-Gen Technology
– Garuda OS uses characters and themes from Hindu mythology to create a unique Indian operating system.
– It aims to blend ancient Indian wisdom with futuristic technology.
– Key features:
– Interface depicts mythological figures like avatars
– Apps named after sages, weapons, places
– Wallpapers and themes depicting divinity
– Tutorials as quests and battles
– Inbuilt narrator weaving mythology and tech
– Garuda OS uniquely bridges tradition and technology. It appeals most strongly to proud Hindus wishing for an Indic expression in the digital realm.
Bijoy OS – Vernacular-Friendly Interface
– Bijoy OS offers an operating system interface completely localized in major Indian languages.
– It aims to make OS usage easy even for those lacking English fluency.
– Key features:
– Menu, apps, and docs available in vernacular languages
– Intuitive interface for first-time users
– Speech recognition and text to speech
– Tools for regional language content creation
– Gateway to the Indic Internet ecosystem
– Bijoy OS can potentially bring millions of Indians into the digital revolution by overcoming language barriers to technology adoption.
Young India OS – Empowering Students and Educators
– Young India OS seeks to make OS and digital education child-friendly and engaging.
– It offers a host of features tailored for students, teachers, and learning.
– Key highlights:
– Fun tutorials and games for computer basics
– Coding games and puzzles
– Applications for scholastic content
– DIY programming interface
– Tools for creating worksheets and assignments
– Safe monitored internet
– By catering specifically to the needs of young generations, Young India OS can play a pivotal role in empowering India’s demographic dividend for indigenous operating systems.
The Greatest 10 Made in India Operating Systems You Should Know, indigenous operating systems
– India has a vibrant history of homegrown operating systems dating back to the late 90s. While mainstream adoption has been limited, these ambitious projects showcase Indian talent for indigenous operating systems.
– Here are 10 of the most notable indigenous OS efforts over the years:
1. BOSS Linux
2. Indix OS
3. Bharat Operating System
4. Swatantra Bharat OS
5. Navya OS
7. Dhruva GNU/Linux
9. Maya OS
10. Ulka OS
– Spanning diverse goals like language support, security, efficiency, etc., these OS highlight core capabilities built within India.
– With supportive policies, such homegrown solutions can gain traction and fulfill the vision of digitally empowering India through indigenous innovations. They represent the drive for technological self-reliance for indigenous operating systems.
India has demonstrated its talent and capacity to build homegrown operating systems over the years through various commendable efforts. While the initial attempts faced challenges in gaining mainstream adoption, the interest continues with the backing of government policies like Digital India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
Developing competitive indigenous solutions in spheres like OS and navigation can significantly advance technological self-reliance. With focused strategy, investment, and execution in select areas, India can create platforms ‘Made in India’ that empower citizens and enterprises digitally on its own terms.
The dream of a world-class Indian OS with global appeal may take time to materialize but the direction is promising for indigenous operating systems.
Q1. Which is the first indigenous OS of India?
A1. BOSS Linux developed by CDAC and IIT Madras in 2007 is considered the first major indigenous OS of India for indigenous operating systems.
Q2. Is Android an Indian operating system?
A2. No, Android is an operating system developed by Google and is not indigenous to India.
Q3. What is the BharOS operating system?
A3. BharOS or Bharat Operating System is an upcoming Linux-based OS initiated by IIT Delhi under a government project for self-reliance in software.
Q4. Who has launched India’s own operating system?
A4. IIT Madras and CDAC have jointly developed BOSS Linux, considered India’s first homegrown OS. More recently, IIT Delhi is spearheading the BharOS project for indigenous operating systems.
Q5. Which Indian OS is best?
A5. BOSS Linux is considered among the most well-developed Indian OS to date with large deployments in government. But new alternatives are emerging like BharOS and Indie OS for indigenous operating systems.
“India has the talent to build world-class indigenous solutions; we just need the right vision and policy support.”