Overview of the Russian mobile OS Aurora: a project of national importance
For a start, a little about the history of operating system “Aurora”. Its the beginning of a mobile platform with a label Made in Russia takes on Board in 2011, when the Finnish company Nokia has suddenly stopped supporting promising project of MeeGo Linux-based and turned his attention to the Windows Phone. This change of priorities was not satisfied with some of the employees of Nokia from the MeeGo developers who left the company and founded a startup Jolla with the goal to further develop the legacy of the retired OS. In the creation of MeeGo has done a great job, and the founders of Jolla have found that the platform has perspective, so the project was born Sailfish OS.
In 2015 the team Jolla difficulties of a financial nature, against which the project came under the wing of the investors from Russia. The result a year later to Jolla joined the Russian company “Open mobile platform”, which received the rights to develop and use Sailfish OS source code which formed the basis of the mobile operating system Sailfish Mobile OS RUS. In the same 2016, passed a full cycle of localization system has received registration in the national registry.
A few years later the Russian platform interested in Telecom giant Rostelecom, which acquired a 75 percent stake in the project and control of the Finnish company Jolla, which helped to boost product development and its deployment in the public sector of the Russian Federation. In 2019 Sailfish Mobile OS RUS received a new brand “Aurora”. The operating system is registered in Rospatent, and certified by FSTEK and FSB of Russia. Looking ahead, we note that there are no Parallels for the names of the mobile platform with the famous eponymous cruiser do not hold: the word Aurora is from the Latin translates as “dawn, dawn”. This value, according to the General Director of the company “Open mobile platform” Pavel ages, the most objectively reflects the corporate style of domestic mobile platform and its market positioning.
A distinctive feature of the “Aurora” inherited from the Sailfish OS is gesture controlled all actions with the operating system are made via scrolling the screen up, down, left and right with one hand. Familiar to many owners of mobile devices with touch or physical buttons “Back”, “Home” and “Recent apps” there is no. And this is the first breaking stereotypes, especially for those who have previously used Android.
OS recognized gestures very much and to remember them all takes time. For example, if you hold the lock screen from right to left or left to right, it will open home screen or interface window, enter the security code (if one was specified in the settings).
If you hold on the home screen (to him we shall return later) left or right, it will display the events screen with the list of recent system activity, weather reports and notifications of installed apps — mail, calendar, messenger and so on.
If you make a gesture from the top of the screen to the bottom, open the top menu for quick access to settings Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, display brightness, alarms, access points, the color of the interface as well as camera, flashlight and other functions. Top menu customizable, it can be configured in its sole discretion.
Finally, if you swipe up from the bottom, you’ll see a grid of apps installed on the device.
In “Aurora” there are two menus: pull and context. The first allows you to perform actions related to open the app, and the second contains commands that are relevant to user-selected object (file, directory, menu item, etc.). The presence of drawn menu indicates the illuminated strip at the top or bottom of the screen. To access it, you must touch the screen below the strip and not stopping to swipe up or down to the desired menu item. To open the context menu, you should tap the desired screen element and keep pressing for one to two seconds.
Back to the previously mentioned home screen. Here too there are subtleties. If other mobile platforms, this element of the work environment usually contains shortcuts for launching frequently used programs in the “Aurora” on the home screen shows the covers of the currently active applications. Fix the icon of any program not here — the whole area is used to display already running in the system software. Such similarity minimalistic task Manager, and view the content and notification of open applications. This kind of management approach programs, too, initially perceived hostility and requires some getting used to.
In “Aurora” there are several ways of closing the active programs and the liberation of occupied RAM. The simplest way on the apps screen, touch one of the top corners and hold down. In this case, the program execution will stop and will open the home screen. Another option: touch on the Windows home screen and keep pressing for two seconds, then press the button on the cover closing the application. Well, to close all apps on the home screen, you must use the draw menu item “Close all”.
Not confused yet the intricacies of the controls native OS? If not, here’s another concept in a production environment “Aurora” — subpages, which are used in applications with a large number of settings. A distinctive element sub-page — icon a glowing semi-circle in the upper left corner. If you touch this icon you can return to the previous (parent) page. The same result can be achieved by swiping from left to right in any part of the screen sub-page.
Finally, the icing on the cake — the ability to switch the language of virtual keyboard using gestures. To do this, swipe horizontally from right to left or left to right, in the keypad area. A similar function is offered by many alternative mobile system, so to emphasize this point makes no sense.
To understand the heap of gestures “Aurora” is not easy. But if you remember all the programmed combinations, then over time you begin to understand that common logic in the organization of the working environment of the system is still observed. Another question is whether to get used to it officials and employees of state-owned companies, which, this mobile OS is, in fact, designed? Or it is assumed that to each employee on a budgetary basis will be assigned a counselor by the domestic product?
The differences of the “Aurora” from Sailfish OS
On assurances of developers, despite the resemblance and the common basic framework, Sailfish OS and “Aurora” are two completely different products. If the Finnish system was originally developed with an eye to the consumer market, the domestic platform — for use in the Russian government and large commercial organizations, which places high demands on information security. That is why when you create a “Aurora” special attention was paid to the inclusion of OS in various means and mechanisms of protection. The system kernel supports monitoring of file system, bootloader and core component integrity violation which leads to an automatic blocking device. Also, the platform includes means of cryptographic protection of information and allows you to restrict user rights in accordance with the corporate security policies at the level of the OS, and with mobile device management (Mobile Device Management, MDM).
An additional advantage of the “Aurora” is to support common protocols for synchronization of contacts, calendars, mail (CardDAV, CalDAV, Google Accounts, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync), and how authentication Protocol OnePW for public accounts and integration with LDAP services. The mobile system is certified by FSB of Russia in the class AK1/KS1 and can be used for protection of information containing state secret information. No jokes this is serious.
To ensure a high level of protection of the system and data from the “Aurora” excluded component of Alien Dalvik, allowing the virtual environment to run Android applications. According to the CEO of the company “Open mobile platform” Pavel ages, this kind of emulators are a huge number of risks, ranging from problems with information security and ending with the shortcomings in terms of performance and compatibility. Besides, the recent increase in the spread in Google Play for malicious content. It is for these factors it was decided to remove the virtualization system of the domestic mobile platform.
From the first minutes of communication with the “Aurora” understand that the main problem in Russia is the catastrophic lack of software. The situation is partly rescues the built-in Jolla store apps, but good bit. A good software in it, and the quality and can not speak, as evidenced by the negative tone of the user reviews. Yes, it is possible to find suitable clients for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other popular services. But which of these applications is the use, if they work somehow and constantly buggy?
Pre-installed in the system, too, leaves much to be desired. It’s so austere and functional, it does not cause any emotions, but grief, sorrow and disappointment. Below (and above too) screenshots are proof of that. The good news is that “Aurora” is already out of the box is able to record conversations during calls and allows you to create logical folders, which unites located in different places a particular file type.
In the company “Open mobile platform” recognize the existence of the problem and are working hard on expanding cooperation with third-party developers and the formation of ecosystems for “Aurora”. On the native OS already ported office packages “Maiofis” and “P7-Office”, a comprehensive solution for creating mobile workplaces WorksPad, instant messengers “Sibrus”, PostLink and “Dialogue”, the browser “Sputnik” VPN client “Continent-up”, the customer DLP system InfoWatch Traffic Monitor and a number of other products. But it is a drop in the ocean. The project urgently need the support of the major software companies, third-party developers and enthusiasts. Otherwise, the OS “Aurora” will remain with dozens of applications to perform highly specialized tasks in the public sphere. Business this product due to the lack of usual infrastructure and app ecosystem will simply not interesting, and even ordinary users, even more so.
By the way, about private users. To twist “Aurora” in the hands, not necessarily to join the ranks of public servants and imbued with thoughts of the fate of the Motherland. The device under management of the domestic mobile OS presents in the free market in Russian Internet-stores. For example, company “A” sells tablet computers INOI Tab8 running Sailfish Mobile OS ENG is fun is estimated at 16 thousand rubles. Is it worth the candle game? If only for the sake of amusement and nothing more.
No doubt: in terms of state support, large financial and resource capabilities “Rostelecom” operating system “Aurora” in the coming years will find its customers in the public sector and the corporate environment among the partners of telecommunications giant. Only one transfer of officials and civil servants on smartphones with the Russian mobile platform is estimated at a hundred and more billion rubles. This is big money, large expenditures, major investments.
Another question: what will happen with the system on? After all, to keep afloat a mobile platform at the expense of state budget funds worth it. And on this question there are hopeful reply. According to media reports, has reached agreement with Huawei on the launch of a pilot project for testing native OS on smartphones the Chinese manufacturer, not so long ago lost the ability to use Google services in their smartphones.
If all goes well “Aurora” is written on the Huawei devices, the Russian mobile systems will be a chance in one form or another to enter the consumer market. So — to reach out to a wider audience and to attract the attention of software developers. But all this is in theory. What happens in practice, let’s wait and see. The system is in any case interesting, and to write off its not worth it.