Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Government Pork in India: Software Edition

India's Defence Research and Development Organization, which is the Indian equivalent of the American DARPA and the service materiel commands rolled into one, wants to build its own computer operating system. It cites computer security as the impetus.

While the goal is noble, it is patently a boondoggle. DRDO is setting up TWO software engineering centers to write this one operating system. Its waste is evident when you think: MIT computer science students used to write an operating system for their 6.033 design project [not sure if they still do that.] Linus Torvald largely wrote the Linux kernel on his own, over a 4 month period. [Other people contributed codes for features later on, but Torvald finished the functional prototype.]

The Linux example stands out particularly, because it is open and already working. China's software institute, for example, has customized a couple versions of Linux for domestic use. If India cares about developing a useable product and plugging security holes, it should deploy a suitable Linux version immediately, instead of putzing around with an ego project/pork like this operating system project.

That India is continuing with Windows while waiting for DRDO, with its long history of over-budget and over-schedule projects, means that this stunt was for political purposes rather than to satisfy a present capability gap. For most computing needs, there are open software products available.

1 comment:

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