Monday, September 10, 2012

Russia’s military has decided that it doesn’t trust the Android mobile operating system currently available on the open market, and has begun developing a new OS to better address the country’s security guidelines.

At issue for the Russian government is that Android is so tightly tied to Google that any attempt to stop the collection of data for use by the search engine would seriously compromise the stability and functionality of the OS. To meet security criteria, the Russian government has taken another approach.

Unveiling the project at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Russia’s Ministry of Defence previewed RoMOS (Russian Mobile Operating System), which has the look and feel of Android but doesn’t collect data and is, according to developers, virtually hackproof. The OS will be made avaiable first to the military, and then to Russian consumers, according to reports.

Intellectual property lawyers will probably be scrutinizing the new OS very carefully because Android is open source, meaning developers are free to modify the OS. But if the Russian MoD has built an operating system that mimics Android, the question arises about whether or not the modified version has to be returned to the developer pool like other open source projects. It remains to be seen whether Google’s lawyers will find a way to keep RoMOS out of other markets.

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