China Still Working On Its Own Operating System

The Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday that China's own operating system, COS (China Operating System), may launch in October. News of the OS arrives by way of Ni Guangnan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who recently spoke with the People's Post and Telecommunications News trade paper about the upcoming platform.

According to the report, Guangnan is currently leading an alliance that was established back in March 2014 to develop an operating system. The platform is expected to dominate desktops first in one to two years' time, followed by mobile devices such as smartphones within three to five years. However, the project is experiencing issues such as research funding and a lack of developer focus.

"China has more than a dozen mobile OS developers with no independent intellectual property rights because their research is based on Android," said Guangnan. "Our key to success lies in an environment that can help us compete with Google, Apple and Microsoft."

The Chinese government banned the use of Windows 8 earlier this year. The government seemingly doesn't want to face another End of Support scenario as it's seen with Windows XP, which is widely used in China. (Support for Windows XP ended in April 2014.)

China's move away from the Windows platform may also stem from the growing hacking suspicions between the United States and China, which include information provided by Edward Snowden that indicated that U.S-based software and hardware include "backdoor" surveillance tools.

Guangnan told the trade paper that the ban of Windows 8 on government computers and Windows XP's retirement has allowed domestic OS developers to flourish. However, the project really needs to be led by the government.

News of COS surfaced back in January, revealing that the platform is based on Linux. At the time, the OS was similar to Android and running on multiple devices such as set-top boxes, smartphones, PCs and tablets. Shanghai Liantong was also named as part of the COS alliance.

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  • christinebcw
    I can't wait. Just imagine built-in "phone home" technology to dial up China's central gov't instead of Ballmer's retirement fund account? Yes, indeed, that will be soooo much more secure! I'm sure it will "dominate" in a few years once it's required by Chinese law, too.
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  • christinebcw
    I can't wait. Just imagine built-in "phone home" technology to dial up China's central gov't instead of Ballmer's retirement fund account? Yes, indeed, that will be soooo much more secure! I'm sure it will "dominate" in a few years once it's required by Chinese law, too.
    10
  • cocosoy
    It's not like anyone outside of China will use it anyway. Don't really care.
    5
  • bmwman91
    This is all very interesting. Love it or hate it, MS has been in the OS game for decades and has tremendous experience with building a stable, secure OS. Even so, it does still have vulnerabilities that are constantly being discovered and corrected. If China is super worried about cyber-espionage and security, they seem to be taking an interesting route by building their own OS, which is an area that they have limited experience compared to a big player like MS. I wonder if they realize how open they might be leaving themselves to attacks in doing so.
    1