The owner of the Russian mobile OS Aurora, Rostelecom, asks the Ministry of Digital Development to check the legality of including the Red Soft OS, which is based on the open source Android, in the register of domestic software. Experts fear that the code uses “bookmarks” from American developers, which “could harm the safe use of the device.”
A Kommersant source in the IT market said that Rostelecom (owns OMP LLC, which develops the Aurora OS) sent a complaint to the expert council under the Ministry of Digital Development about the inclusion in the register of domestic software (which gives priority in government procurement) of the Red OS mobile OS M” “Red Soft”. General Director of OMP Pavel Eiges explained to Kommersant that “operating systems (OS) projects are emerging that claim to be domestic developments.” This, in his opinion, “carries the risk of plunging into even greater dependence and discredits the very idea of building technological sovereignty.”
The Ministry of Digital Development confirmed that Rostelecom sent a request to conduct an additional verification of the validity of including Red OS M in the register and it is “under consideration.” Red Soft declined to comment.
Built on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the Red Soft mobile OS entered the registry in October. “Kommersant” got acquainted with the agenda of the meeting of the expert council under the Ministry of Digital Development on October 6, at which the issue was discussed. It follows from the document that one of the invited experts for the inclusion of Red OS M in the registry was an employee of the Astra Group of Companies, Roman Mylitsyn, whose conclusion stated that the use of AOSP involves working with Google tools – Android SDK (Software Development Kit), which can be downloaded only if a license is obtained from a US corporation.
“The license agreement for the Android SDK limits the possibility of its use outside the Google ecosystem, since this violates American law and sanctions restrictions,” explained Mr. Mylitsyn, clarifying that programs that have restrictions from foreign countries cannot be included in the registry. At the same time, Astra Group of Companies assured Kommersant that Red Soft at the meeting “proved that it did not use the Android SDK when developing the application, confirming this with documentation.”
The founder of the Strigo Capital venture fund, Dmitry Komissarov, believes that “products that do not have their own development should not be included in the register.” “Red OS M launches its shell based on Android, but for some reason the expert council did not see any violations in this,” he says. Mr. Komissarov believes that the open source AOSP uses “bookmarks from American developers that can harm the safe use of the device.”
ARPP “Domestic Software” does not yet plan to contact the Ministry of Digital Development with the idea of checking whether Android-based systems are in the registry. However, the ARPP clarified, “at the association’s site, requirements are being developed to determine the developer’s contribution to the product, which will be sent to the Ministry of Digital Development.”
A program that does not meet the requirements can be excluded from the register, says Alexey Smirnov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Basalt SPO. To do this, an application must be submitted indicating specific violations, which will be considered by an expert council, he explains. However, according to Mr. Smirnov, the registry rules do not mention that the development of the program must be carried out in-house; now the requirements “are of a financial and legal nature.”
“The requirements of the registry need to be improved, otherwise it may contain many programs in the development of which domestic developers have nothing to do,” believes Mr. Smirnov. At the same time, he considers it important to include in the register “several mobile operating systems, including those based on the Linux kernel, in order to avoid monopolization of the market by Rostelecom.”