Given the history of technological white elephants that our research agencies have produced, reading about the DRDO’s proposal to create a “closed source operating system” just made me groan.
“We have to protect it (data),” Saraswat said, adding, “Only way to protect it is to have a home-grown system, the complete architecture…source code is with you and then nobody knows what’s that.”
Nobody knows what’s that. A perfect description of government research agencies.
This line does sound ominous, more so given the fact that it is precisely these “nobody knows whats going on” kind of systems that have historically shown to have the most security vulnerabilities which explains why “security through obscurity” (typically explained with respect to cryptography in computer security textbooks) is, in general, a deprecated principle. [Another thing which has gone out of fashion is closed-source, proprietary OSs but try telling these guys that]
Of course, the idea of a “Government of India”‘s very own operating system does sound amazing. Here are some specifications I think will be implemented (warning geeky stuff to follow).
1. The Grand Secret OS (code name GAND-OS), like all operating systems constructed for the last thirty years (which is how the GOI defines modern) will run multiple applications at once. However if a process wants to use the processor, it needs to send in an application, in triplicate and attested by local (Memory) Block Development Officer, two months in advance.
2. The scheduling shall be first-come first-served unless a process slips in a Rs 1000 note into the memory space of the OS dispatcher.
3. The default state of processes is “sleep” which is where they are found 95% of the time.
4. 49.5% of processor time is reserved for OBCs (Objects instantiated from Backward “Classes”), SCs (System Components) and STs (System Threads).
5. Garbage collection is done by a Class IV unionized process.
6. The file system, proprietary and encoded in bad English, collects dust and will vanish “mysteriously” if the file-allocation table (FAT) man is not sufficiently “processed”. Files are periodically transfered from one directory to another for no good reason.
7. Memory allocation is done, on demand, through “cashing” schemes.
8. Memory protection is strongly enforced where one process has no idea of what the other process is doing.
9. Massive redundancy is maintained where different parts of the OS do the same thing. One single fault brings all the replications down however.
10. The OS comes with a firewall on which the Babus spit their paan residue.
11. The OS is real-time which here means “Really? Time?”.In other words deadlines are meant to be broken. By design.
More details of the OS specs, design and implementation will be revealed to the public as the years pass.
On Chinese hacking sites.
You can put your trust in that.