In September 2020, FMSoft received funding from the "Open Source Software Supply Chain Lighting Project" which is initialized by Institute of Software of Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS). And ISCAS became the first sponsor of the HybridOS open source collaboration project.
With the release of HarmonyOS 2.0 at Huawei's second developer conference, Huawei's operating system strategy has become clear. As Vincent Wei (CEO of FMSoft) pointed out: HarmonyOS is an important infrastructure that Huawei relies on to realize the full-scene and distributed application support around smart phones, but "HarmonyOS lacks some exciting innovations and breakthroughs." For example, it has not made some breakthroughs or innovations in simplifying application development, which is understandable. After all, HarmonyOS’s primary strategic goal is to replace Android and can only take a relatively safe path.
However, as Vincent Wei pointed out: programming language is the jewel in the crown of infrastructure software, Chinese people must make up this lesson. Large companies like Huawei take a relatively stable technical route, but these future-oriented breakthroughs and innovations can only be done by small companies and small teams.
Therefore, technically, HybridOS chose a completely different path from HarmonyOS:
- Propose the HVML language, and use HVML as the preferred programming language for the compatible operating system apps.
- The HybridOS operating system will not only serve mobile phones or IoT devices, it will also run in the cloud - it runs everywhere.
Among them, HVML is a new, highly abstract, and easy-to-learn data-driven programming language proposed by Vincent Wei. According to Vincent Wei, HVML has its mission:
- Through a complete, self-consistent, and highly abstract new programming language, some technical attempts around the virtual DOM technology such as React.js and Vue.js are further summarized.
- Bringing new changes to traditional GUI development, including design tools and development frameworks.
- It brings new possibilities for the development of IoT applications in the cloud environment.
Obviously, HybridOS is a future-oriented operating system that requires long-term investment and hard work. Faced with this ambitious goal, Vincent Wei believes that in addition to a large company like Huawei, there is another way to develop our operating system-open source collaboration:
- The long-term and huge investment in operating system development is difficult for a single enterprise to bear. Collaboration helps diversify investment and reduce risks.
- Through collaboration, domestic manufacturers can avoid repeated investment in basic software.
- Domestic basic software R&D talents are scarce, and collaboration is the only option to form a talent advantage.
- Traditional business models based on basic software are difficult to operate in China, and collaboration is beneficial to the protection of intellectual property rights of all parties involved.
Therefore, when FMSoft launched the HybridOS project in 2018, the connotation we gave to HybridOS has also undergone a major change: integration is the result of innovation and collaboration, not the accumulation of open source technology.
Researcher Wu Yanjun, a doctoral supervisor of the Institute of Software of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: "Different from other operating systems, the FMSoft team puts forward the idea and method of developing operating systems from top to bottom, and implements this method through the HybridOS. The plan is ambitious and innovative, and it is very worthy of long-term investment and development. Therefore, the 'Open Source Software Supply Chain Lighting Program' of the ISCAS chose to fund the HybridOS project. On the one hand, we hope to promote the development of the entire project, on the other hand, to set an example for all sectors of society to sponsor open source projects through funds and manpower."
After receiving the news that the "Open Source Software Supply Chain Lighting Project" funded the project, the team was encouraged and proud. The team believes that as more innovative ideas become reality step by step, more people of insight will choose this way to motivate an infrastructure software development team.
It is worth mentioning that although HybridOS is a long-term development process, FMSoft’s development team adheres to the concept of "open source, open process" and has released many results in less than two years. These open source results can all be used in actual products:
- MiniGUI 5.0 that supports window compositing in a multi-process environment.
- The graphics stack of HybridOS based on MiniGUI 5.0 and open source software such as Cairo and Mesa.
- The key component of HybridOS, hiWebkit, contains many breakthroughs in existing Web technologies.
The funds funded by ISCAS this time will be used to further improve the development on the device side of the HybridOS, especially the components such as hiShell and hiWebKit to support the HVML programming language. It is expected that we will release hiShell in October 2020 and release the first hiWebKit version supporting HVML at the end of 2020 or early 2021.
For more details, please visit the code repository of HybridOS on GitHub (please light up the stars in the HybridOS project repository):