In a move to decrease Russia’s dependence on American technology, the Russian government has announced plans to develop a state-sponsored national operating system. Shifting away from Windows would mean both money savings for Russia, and increased digital security.
150 million rubles (5 million dollars) have been set aside to create an operating system that will be based on Linux. It’s not yet known whether this national distro will be built from scratch, or simply a branch of a popular distro like Ubuntu. Russian politician Ilya Ponomarev said “The devil is in the details,” and that a meeting to decide the exact specifications of this new operating system would occur in December.
This move is a sign that Europe and Asia continue to be unnerved by the US-dominated technology industry. The last few years have seen a massive shift towards open-source software across Europe and Asia, and also a marked increase in the activity of European and Chinese space agencies.
Russia [System operates you!] won’t be the first country to work on a national operating system either: China’s Red Flag Linux first appeared back in 1999, and only last week India announced its plans to build a proprietary, hyper-secure operating system.
Similar concerns about achieving technological independence prompted the Russian military to create the GLONASS satellite navigation system in the 1980s, to compete with the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and competition in the future from Europe’s Galileo.