India to Create New Chip: Guess Which OS it's Using?

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A natural concern of major powers around the world is technological dependence on the US.

One particularly problematic area is that of microprocessors: practically everything is based on Western-designed chips these days, and if the supply of them dried up for any reason, other nations would have serious problems.

One solution is to create a new chip family that would be entirely designed and produced within the country concerned. That's precisely what India has decided to do, apparently:

The Indian government will reportedly bring together top engineers to design what is tentatively being called the "India microprocessor."

One of the design program's goals is helping to ward off what the government sees as the growing security threat poised by using commerical microprocessors in military, telecommunications and space systems.

According to a report this week in The Economic Times, the MPU design will be overseen by a new entity called the Zerone Corp., with an initial government investment of $200 million.

Of course, a chip on its own is not much good: you need an operating system to run it. And what might the Indians be choosing?

Designers will likely adopt Sun Microsystems' OpenSparc processor design technology (the open-source version of Sun's UltraSPARC T1 and T2 microprocessors) along with the Linux operating system and MySQL open-source database software.

In fact, they'd be mad to do anything else. First, because GNU/Linux is well proven, to say the least; it means they can take decades of work and use it straightaway.

Secondly, it's open, so the Indian government can be sure (a) it doesn't contain any backdoors that US secret services might have placed in other operating systems and (b) it won't go away.

These are pretty compelling reasons for adopting GNU/Linux in these circumstances, and I'd be surprised if anything else is ever used. Interestingly, China has already taken this route with its own Loongson chip.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

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