Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on January 24 tested ‘BharOS’, an indigenous operating system developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT).
Tested Indian ‘Operating System’ – BharOS developed at @iitmadras with @dpradhanbjp Ji; A leap forward in PM @narendramodi Ji’s #AatmanirbharBharat journey. pic.twitter.com/eOt3un5okm
— Ashwini Vaishnaw (@AshwiniVaishnaw) January 24, 2023
The operating system is said to benefit one billion (100 crore) smartphone users in India by offering a more secure and private proposition compared to existing operating systems.
BharOS is based on Android Open Source Project (AOSP), making it a forked version of Android sans Google and other first-party and third-party apps. No default apps and Private App Store Services (PASS) are among the salient features detailed by IIT Madras about the BharOS.
No default apps essentially means the control rests with users to install apps of choice. With no default apps, users would have the choice to install and use only the apps they trust and want to use.
According to IIT Madras, this approach would allow users to have more control over the permissions that apps have on their device, as they can choose to allow apps that they trust to access certain features or data on their device.
Coming to the PASS, it seems to be a security-focused feature aimed at enterprise users. In the PASS, BharOS provides access to a curated list of apps that have met certain security and privacy standards of organisations. Only the apps checked for any potential security vulnerabilities or privacy concerns are listed in the PASS for users to install on their mobile devices.
BharOS is said to get ‘Native Over The Air’ (NOTA) updates to ensure that the supported devices get the latest version of the operating system.
It is developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), which is a non-profit organization incubated at IIT Madras.
“BharOS Service is a mobile operating system built on a foundation of trust, with a focus on providing users more freedom, control, and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that fit their needs. This innovative system promises to revolutionise the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices,” said Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras.
With focus on security, the operating system is currently being provided to organisations that have stringent privacy and security requirements. Its developers, IIT Madras, said to have plans to work closely with private industry, government agencies, strategic agencies and telecom service providers to increase the usage and adoption of BharOS in the country.