China unveils first domestic open-source operating system
China has launched its first domestic open-source desktop operating system, which has been hailed as a software development breakthrough, amid Beijing’s technological stand-off with Washington.
On Wednesday, Kylinsoft, a subsidiary of state-owned China Electronics Corporation, unveiled the Linux-based OS known as OpenKylin 1.0. It was created by a community of about 4,000 developers and is currently being used by around 850,000 users, according to OpenKylin’s official website.
China’s first domestically grown OS can be installed on computers, servers, and smartphones and could even support Beijing’s deep space exploration program, according to CGTN.
While the global desktop OS market is currently dominated by the Western-designed Windows (74%) and MacOS (15%), these two systems are close-source, which means that most third parties cannot view the programming code. OpenKylin gives users the opportunity to see the coding and customize the software for their specific needs.
Speaking at the release event, Ni Guangnan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, touted the new OS, noting that OpenKylin marks a milestone in the development of domestic software, while stressing the need to “gradually get rid of dependence on foreign technologies.”
OpenKylin was released amid the increasingly heated tech stand-off between China and the US.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration of US President Joe Biden is preparing to restrict Chinese companies’ access to American cloud-computing services.
In October last year, Washington issued wide-ranging restrictions on the export of advanced chips and chip-making technology to China without a license, while limiting the ability of US nationals to provide support for the “development or production” of chips at certain manufacturing facilities in China.
In March, then-Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the importance of boosting the nation’s technological self-reliance, while noting that Beijing had managed to resist external attempts to suppress China’s development.