China’s homegrown open-source operating system, OpenKylin, made its debut on Wednesday, showcasing the collaborative efforts of a dedicated community of approximately 4,000 developers. Drawing inspiration from the existing open source Linux operating system, China’s version has already found applications in crucial sectors, including the nation’s space program and finance and energy industries.
The significance of this achievement is underscored by the sheer size of China’s operating system market, valued at a staggering 15.5 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) last year, as reported by state media, citing an industry report. The launch of OpenKylin reflects China’s commitment to fostering a thriving and independent technology sector.
For years, China’s tech industry has prioritized the development of an operating system free from reliance on US technology. The release of OpenKylin is a major step towards realizing this goal, with numerous companies and organisations contributing to its development. Notably, the China Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, operating under the industry and information technology ministry, has emerged as a prominent supporter of this innovative project.
In a bid to challenge the dominance of Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s MacOS, more than a dozen Chinese companies are actively developing alternative operating systems. For instance, UnionTech Software Technology Co Ltd is making strides in developing the “Unity operating system,” positioning itself as a potential competitor to established platforms. These efforts exemplify China’s determination to establish its own competitive platforms that can replace the existing operating systems.
The emergence of OpenKylin signifies a pivotal moment in China’s technological landscape. China is poised to enhance its national security and gain a distinct advantage in the global tech arena by reducing its dependence on foreign technologies and fostering the growth of homegrown solutions.