Defence ministry embraces Maya OS for enhanced security and resilience, but it’s not India’s first foray into indigenous OS
Indian Defence Ministry has announced its decision to replace the widely-used Microsoft Windows operating system with an indigenously built alternative, named Maya. While this shift is aimed at bolstering cybersecurity and resilience against cyber threats, it’s important to note that Maya OS is not the first attempt at an indigenously developed operating system in India.
Maya OS, developed locally over a span of six months by government agencies such as the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and the National Informatics Centre (NIC), is based on the open source Ubuntu Linux distribution.
What sets Maya apart?
Maya’s USP is its compatibility with commonly used applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, and AutoCAD, ensuring a smooth transition for users. This feature-rich operating system also incorporates advanced attributes such as cloud storage, encryption, digital signatures, and biometric authentication, all of which contribute to heightened security and functionality.
Kiran Vangaveti, founder and CEO of BluSapphire Cyber Systems, highlights the key advantage of Maya OS: “One valuable aspect is the increased control over the operating system’s functionality. This facilitates adaptability for custom applications, industrial automation, and seamless functioning of defence software.”
India’s Indigenous OS Journey: From BOSS to Maya
Contrary to popular belief, Maya OS isn’t India’s maiden attempt at an indigenously developed operating system. In 2007, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) introduced the Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS) with the goal of promoting free and open source software adoption across India. BOSS, available in 19 Indian languages, was even adopted by the Indian Army. Subsequently, in 2017, the Northern Command of the Indian Army integrated BOSS to fortify cybersecurity and shield communication networks from cyber threats.
Reports indicate that the Indian Army had already experimented with BOSS for over six years, underscoring the query of why a fresh approach was taken. The shift to Maya OS is primarily driven by the imperative to fend off cyberattacks and malware threats. Recent years have witnessed various ministries and agencies falling prey to cyberattacks. Notably, the Indian Army faced a barrage of cyberattacks, with a report from 2019 indicating at least two attacks every month. These attacks often emanate from neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and China. Maya OS is poised to enhance security, cyber resilience, and diminish dependency on external systems. The heightened control over data and sensitive information is another boon that Maya OS promises to offer.