Basic software: the root under the big tree of IT industry ecology

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Under the prosperity of the application layer, the share of basic software is shocking

Under the slogan that IT devours everything and the prosperity of the application layer, in fact, compared with the US market, China’s basic software market accounts for a pitiful small proportion of IT spending. In 2020, the global software industry business revenue is about 10 trillion US dollars. Among the top five, the United States has US$2.7 trillion, Europe US$2.1 trillion, Southeast Asia US$1.15 trillion (Japan US$0.7 trillion, South Korea US$0.3 trillion), China US$0.8 trillion, and India US$0.35 trillion.

The market share figures for operating systems in basic software are even more staggering. In the global desktop operating system market, Windows has a market share of 88.14%; in the mobile operating system market, Android has a market share of 75.44%; the second Apple iOS has a market share of 22.49%. In the field of Linux server operating systems in China (excluding free and open source server operating systems), Red Hat has a market share of 69.6%, Micro Focus International (SUSE) has a market share of 15.9%, Oracle has a market share of 5.4%, Canonical (Ubuntu) The market share is 1%, and the market share of other brands is 7.8%.

The operating system is a control machine program that coordinates, manages and controls computer hardware and software resources, and provides system software with development interfaces for upper-layer applications. The operating system is in the pivotal position of the entire upstream and downstream ecology, and needs to be compatible with different underlying hardware (servers and chips, etc.) downwards, and needs to support various application middleware and application software upwards. The operating system is so important, but in the above various operating system data, almost no operating system from China can be seen.

Basic software and operating system “stuck neck” threats always follow

Throughout the history of software development, for many years, the operating system has been one of the most serious areas of monopoly by multinational companies. For example, the Wintel alliance, CentOS strategy changes and other “stuck neck” incidents have emerged one after another.

The Wintel Alliance accounts for more than 90% of the global PC market. In the early 1990s, Apple, IBM and Motorola formed an alliance to jointly push the PowerPC processor, trying to break through Wintel’s control in the field of personal computers, but the result was no success.

In December 2020, CentOS announced that CentOS Linux 8 will be terminated on December 31, 2021, and subsequently become CentOS Stream. CentOS Linux 7 will also be out of maintenance in June 2024. For a time, it caused a strong shock in the domestic technology circle, and users who used CentOS in large numbers needed to find alternatives, facing the challenges of cost and migration difficulty.

Some experts once said: China must master its own root technology, otherwise it is easy to be “stuck in the neck”. Either build their own root technology, or become a “migrant worker” at the bottom of the root technology industry chain.

To make up for software shortcomings, open source innovation, ecology, and talents are indispensable

To lift the risk of blockade trapped in core technology, it is necessary to strengthen and strengthen the independent research and development of core basic software. At the beginning of this year, in the 14th Five-Year Plan and the 2035 Vision Plan, the state clearly proposed to develop cutting-edge technology and make up for the shortcomings of science and technology. In addition to the policy, market capital is also fully transferred to basic software investment.

In addition to strategic policies and long-term capital investment, there are more domestic manufacturers who have been working on basic software and operating systems for a long time and continue to grow. According to the analysis, relying on policy promotion, relying on the replacement of domestic PC and server operating systems developed by Linux, and the active cooperation of downstream mainstream hardware manufacturers, the ecology has been continuously enriched, and a great stride has been made from “basically available” to “easy to use and easy to use”.

The basic software is not like the upper-level application, which can bloom in their respective fields without affecting each other. The core underlying software and hardware such as chips, operating systems, and databases are strongly coupled, which makes the Wintel Alliance powerful. Therefore, the rise of basic software is a long way to go. To sum up, there are the following three key points:

1. Open source stimulates technological innovation

Open source has established a community of open sharing and equal participation, breaking the boundary between technology and traditional software research and development. Open source culture has been the core driving force for technological progress since its inception, and will also be an important path for the rise of China’s technology. At present, China’s open source projects are developing rapidly, and some indicators of operating systems, distributed databases, and AI frameworks have reached the international forefront. Taking the new-generation operating system openEuler as an example, after open source Euler quickly improves computing power and performance from the core key nodes such as the kernel, virtualization engine, and computing framework. In addition to sharing core technology with Hongmeng, Euler creatively proposes full-stack atomic decoupling, supports flexible version construction, free service combination, and flexibly supports southbound diverse devices and northbound full-scene applications through a set of architectures. The Hongmeng operating system not only solves the “stuck neck” problem of the operating system of smart terminals, but also brings consumers a better full-scene interactive experience, which is also an innovative move that has never been seen in mobile operating systems in the past.

2. All parties work together to recommend ecological prosperity

The strong coupling of the basic software determines that all parties need to adapt and optimize for a long time to jointly promote the prosperity of the ecology. For example, the Euler Ecosystem continues to develop and evolve in the open source community. At present, it has attracted more than 6,000 developers, and nearly 100 enterprises, universities, institutions and organizations have joined. The Euler system also brings together the entire industry chain from processors, complete machines, operating system distribution manufacturers, to industry applications, and more than a dozen mainstream operating system leaders issue Euler-based commercial versions. In July, SUSE and Euler jointly announced the cooperation to launch the Euler-based distribution system Shushuo Linux. Next, Euler will work with partners in the cloud, edge, embedded and other fields to promote the research and development and cooperative exploration of a wider range of application scenarios.

3. Talent is the source of sustainable development

Technical professionals at all levels are the source of ensuring the sustainable development of basic software, and all parties need to increase investment. For example, in 2020, the Ministry of Education-Huawei launched the smart base production-education integration collaborative education base project to integrate the latest technology and knowledge into relevant science and engineering majors and cultivate computing industry talents. At present, it has been implemented in 72 colleges and universities, and will expand to 2,700 colleges and universities across the country in the future. 6 textbooks and series of teaching aids (including Euler operating system and Gaussian database) have been jointly published with Tsinghua University, and more than 30 series of textbooks are planned to be released. Among them, Euler has completed the development of corresponding teaching materials, courseware and teaching auxiliary materials. In 2020, 8 colleges and universities will start the Euler operating system, 30 colleges and universities will benchmark and refresh the curriculum, and more than 60 teachers have participated in operating system related Training Courses.

In China’s vast market, IT is like a towering tree with luxuriant branches (upper-level applications), so the roots (basic software) under the earth need to be stronger and more developed. The above-mentioned measures are like irrigating the roots of this towering tree under the soil, stimulating technological innovation with open source, jointly promoting ecological advancement, and increasing talent training. A strong foundation will surely withstand the blows of all bad wind and rain! The road is long and the road is long, and we will go up and down to seek, and we will finally reap the sweet fruits.

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