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HarmonyOS is Huawei’s Android alternative for smartphones and smart home devices (techcrunch.com)
174 points by jmsflknr 73 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 205 comments

In the Engadget article it was stated that:

"Huawei claims that Harmony OS' IPC performance is five times that of Google's Fuchsia, and three times that of QNX."

Which I find fascinating. If they were building this as a Fuchsia competitor and are forced now to push it to market we could see rapid innovation on both sides of the divide actually coming to market soon!

Faster, smaller, and more secure, yet the say it's the backup plan. Something's rotten somewhere.

I also find the "smaller than Linux" claims rather strange. ANY microkernel will be smaller. Once you add those things back (at an almost insignificantly higher abstraction), I'm betting things get to be around the same size or slightly larger. I can't speak for other people, but I rather like not having to do the old driver search routine I did on Windows for every little thing.

> Faster, smaller, and more secure, yet the say it's the backup plan. Something's rotten somewhere.

Yes, and that rotten thing is the app ecosystem. Without apps, nobody will use your smartphone. From what I've seen, HarmonyOS tries to be compatible with Android, but knowing the difficulty Microsoft and Blackberry had with getting the Android API to work a few years ago (before the many complications that have been layered on top since), I don't expect much from it.

I think a switch of mobile OS will go down about as well as Windows Phone. Only if they port most important apps and games (phone gaming is big in China), their custom OS just won't get the popularity to get its own full app ecosystem.

> Without apps, nobody will use your smartphone

even for Huawei, there will be some 3rd party apps. and most people spend almost all of their time on a small set of apps anyway. as long as the critically important apps (there are probably only a couple hundred) to most users are available AND Huawei offers some other benefits (e.g. relativeily low price for good HW), maybe an app store with millions of apps is not critical to success any more?

A couple of hundred critical apps is a huge understimation in my opinion.

What is different now than when Windows Phone flopped? They had tens of thousands of phone apps (although I can't find an exact number), and it clearly wasn't enough.

I just feel like a lot of the novelty has worn off, and the user base has more or less figured out what they want to use a mobile device for by now.

People spend most of their time on the very small number of big name social media apps, some games, and email, camera and texting apps. ok, so maybe it's more like 1000 apps. IDK. but, if those are all present at the launch of the Huawei store, then a lot of users will say "good enough for me." Huawei could do the market research, figure out what those apps are, and then incentivize those app devs to port to Huawei.

I think we only have a partial historical experiment. I don't know what the server market share would be today if Windows Server 2000 had Windows Subsystem for Linux.

context: it sounds like there's a modular Linux kernel in it too to support running existing Android/Linux apps.

>Only if they port most important apps and games (phone gaming is big in China)

And I am pretty sure ALL Apps and Games in China will be ported to HarmonyOS.

Why? Huawei is the only brand that has been banned from Android in such a way. There's still plenty of Chinese brands available.

Huawei makes up about a third of the Chinese smart phone market according to counterpoint.com[1]. If Huawei were to drop Android, that would be a huge win for Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi, not necessarily a huge loss for Android.

[1]: https://www.counterpointresearch.com/china-smartphone-share/

Short of a mandate from the government....

What's the source to claim gov will force adoption on behalf of huawei?


Fro my perspective as a Chinese living in bay area. So far Huawei largely benefited more than being harmed. For one thing, it firmly established itself as the beacon of Chinese tech superiority over other domestic competitor, and gains unmeasurable good will from the Chinese people. This obvious helps propell their possible dominance of the smartphone market, and helps with their Cloud business as well.

This is also why BAT and other tech companies are largely indifference to Huawei's situation. On the one hand, it's sensitive. On the other hand, they are in situation where might be forced to play cooperatively to Huawei's own benefits.

> Faster, smaller, and more secure, yet the say it's the backup plan. Something's rotten somewhere.

Developer Developer Developer ... Aka. ecosystem ...

Huawei has done several sessions at FOSDEM regarding their microkernels research.

They are at it for a long time already.

Micorkernels are still a thing? I haven't heard that phrase in ten years.

Yes, they power most of the embedded hardware where human life might be at risk.

Minix runs on a large amount of Intel CPUs.

Both Windows and macOS derived OSes, even though they aren't proper micro-kernels, have been slowly migrating stuff over to user space and increasing the sandboxing surface area.

Given the new DriverKit, Apple's long term roadmap is to remove all driver APIs and replace them by user space ones. As stated at WWDC, when DriverKit will get feature X, the corresponding feature at kernel level gets automatically deprecated and will be removed in the following version. Until after a couple of macOS releases there won't be anything left to migrate over to DriverKit.

One of the results of Project Treble was to introduce a new userspace layer for drivers, since Android 8, all new drivers are required to be userspace drivers. Only legacy drivers are allowed as classical Linux drivers.

So yeah, they are still a thing.

The Treble services that reside in /vendor are usually talking to… surprise, custom Qualcomm kernel drivers. I don't think there's been any attempts to just map device memory into these services and make them actual drivers. Actually that could be a step back for freedom, since the kernel drivers' source has to be at least dumped somewhere for GPL compliance.

Most likely, Project Treble is just a in-between step until Fuchsia is production ready.

As for freedom, that is the outcome of the anti-GPL movement, and push for BSD like licenses.

I will show this comment to the treble team for a good laugh.

That is what happens when you do stuff in secret.

We make fools of ourselves trying to guess what chocolate factory is doing.

You must not have been looking really hard. QNX is very popular for embedded systems, and every modern Intel processor is running MINIX on its IME.

I didn't realize QNX was microkernel.

The Android bootloader is LK.

Android does not distribute a bootloader. SoC vendors have their own.

I would hazard a guess that most of them are the LK bootloader that Google (contrary to your claim) does distribute large portions of: https://android.googlesource.com/kernel/lk/


Notice the year of the final commit of any of those branches?

"OKL4 shipments exceeded 1.5 billion in early 2012,[2] mostly on Qualcomm wireless modem chips. Other deployments include automotive infotainment systems.[12]"

So, yeah, microkernels are kind of still a thing.

Maybe they're using seL4?

I do not know of their design, but I know some helenos devs are involved, so it's sure to be a proper microkernel multiserver system.

if it's based on seL4, which is licensed undel GPLv2, that we should be able to get our hands on the source code! yay!

How so?

seL4 is just the kernel. Linux can have software with a range of licenses in userspace, so can seL4.

A system based on seL4 would be built as a bunch of services running under seL4, rather than by modifying seL4.

Claiming and demonstrating are two different things. Let's see it in action.

Is Harmony open-source? Would go a long way to addressing spyware / hacking claims if so


Well they won't have final NSA approved version of Fuchisia with them so can't tell really.

For a fair comparison, make sure that Play Services is also running on Fuchsia.

Of course.

A link with much more technical details: https://www.xda-developers.com/harmony-os-huawei-announce/

There is also a youtube video from the Huawei developer conference featuring a series of demos and technical presentations:


I have just being viewing the video for a bit (it is over 4 hours) and the Chinese translator is a bit hard to listen to.

There seems to be quite few substantial announcements there. Amongst other a new CPU with a redesigned pipeline.

> Yu claimed, without offering any actual proofs, that HarmonyOS is “more powerful and secure than Android.” “Can it be installed on smartphones? Of course.”

This immediately made me wonder if I have ever seen "without offering any actual proofs" added as a qualifier to any of the press statements of Apple, Microsoft or Google.

Don't get me wrong, that kind of skepticism is good. It just feels naive and tribal to limit it to the Chinese companies.

I have often seen there are heavy implicit bias from USA based journalists/blogs when reporting non-us based companies. More so when reporting Chinese companies. China is the second-largest economy in the world. But there is always a "but" or an implicit Asterix when reporting anything positive about Chinese companies.

Second Largest smartphone manufacturer. Largest supplier of network equipment. 6-7 largest tech company in the world. 170k employees in 170 countries. 100+ billion yearly revenue. They are not even allowed to do business in USA. Arguably the most profitable market in the world.

gtirloni 73 days ago [flagged]

Large doesn't mean ethical. There's that giant firewall, the backdoors, etc.

Huawei has been caught doing corporate espionage many times, and treating its employees poorly. It’s always such an uphill battle to get people to realize that competition with China is different from democratic countries. It’s easier to believe that it’s just racism and bigotry than it is to accept that Chinese companies compete on uneven footing.

I absolutely agree but if you think that the US companies are fighting fairly then you are sorely mistaken.

The US government and judicial system routinely interfere to give advantages and sometimes outright eliminate competitors to American companies.

A very good example is the way the acquisition of Alstom by GE was delivered.

Another example is how the US government and Microsoft effectively killed off japanese competition from their TRON operating system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRON_project).

>Huawei has been caught doing corporate espionage many times, and treating its employees poorly

Lets remove Huawei with Uber.

Uber accused of espionage, bribery and hacking by former employee:


"I am an Uber employee and I support the drivers’ strikes.":


Have you seen Uber being cut any slack here in Hacker News? Or in the press at large for that matter.

I haven't.

Let's not play this particular blame-game. The ethics (or lack thereof) of the administration of China is not where this bias comes from.

> The ethics (or lack thereof) of the administration of China is not where this bias comes from.

How so?

One doesn't justify the other. Otherwise we're lowering the bar instead raising it.

Yet, it's convenient to point it out every time a Chinese company is mentioned in any context. But not so much when a company from the US does it. Let me ask you a question, name me a company that is the in the top 100 largest company in the world - that you would consider ethical?

The United States doesn't harvest the organs of prisoners.

This is a waste of time. Both "sides" have done terrible things and, again, one doesn't justify the other. We shouldn't cut these companies any Slack... be it Huawei, Uber, whatever.

Just like the NSA and Cisco do...

Those aren't back doors. They're front doors for democracy and freedom. [/s]

We can't expect media to be entirely neutral. Both sides will tend to focus almost exclusively on their own achievements and the other's failures and mistakes in order to maintain the balance. It may be a good idea to read both sides and then "average out".

Cisco built the Great Firewall. Huawei just maintains it.

>This immediately made me wonder if I have ever seen "without offering any actual proofs" added as a qualifier to any of the press statements of Apple, Microsoft or Google.

I would go a little further, even the use of the verb "to claim" is in itself a little diminutive, had it been one of the big US companies their CEO's would have probably "said", "stated" or "announced" or "affirmed" (and not "claimed").

I think it makes sense to use "claim" to describe statements as sweeping and general as that one. I think Apple claiming iOS is "more powerful and secure than Android" would be met with a similar level of skepticism.

Interesting point, it does seem oddly framed now.

When the CEO of Apple says something, it happens.

Huawei have yet to prove themselves in this space.

Do you not acknowledge that Huawei is a large, multinational company with large and well liked product lines competitive with popular US brands?

Do you think that happened by mere chance, or is there another reason you inherently deny their success?

If the person is from the US, they’ve likely never come across a Huawei device and are unaware of how popular and good their laptops and phones are.

Edit: In general it’s quite fascinating how backwards the US smartphone technology scene is. I only recently became aware of this being involved in thst bubble myself. The US is middle of the pack at best when it comes to mobile networks, it’s way behind when it comes to phone hardware. The one area where it leads is software and services, but it will be interesting if the US can maintain the lead here, especially since basically all the American software companies are trying to emulate WeChat.

I am from the EU and I've seen lots of Huawei mobiles. But what are they, apart from one of many Android OEMs that make no money?

> But what are they, apart from one of many Android OEMs that make no money?

Yeah, about that: https://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/annual-report/2018

=> Net profit 59,345 CNY Million 25.1%

I believe that's about $8bn. And the 25.1% at the end is the increase from last year.

Most of which is probably from their switch hardware business. Android has sucked the money out of the smartphone business.

In general making an OS from scratch wasn't very successful even with Samsung (#2 maker with considerable market share and a track record) completely failed with Tizen, so a relatively younger and smaller chinese company succeeding seems dubious. Of course I would be glad for a competing mobile OS, but I would wait for benchmarks and take security statements with a grain of salt. Also, it might be completely different departments at Huawei but there's the Cisco router firmware debacle (https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10485560675556000)

> #2 maker with considerable market share and a track record

You mean #1, right? :-) https://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019-...

Cough... AirPower Cough...

"Just Works"

yeah right.

How many US CEOs would have directly compared it to a specific competitor product on the announce?

There were I'm fairly sure 3 Google I/Os in a row where they specifically spoke of iOS when talking about new features (probably more still, I haven't followed the livestreams anymore for them or for WWDC in like 2 years I guess). WWDC they'd do it as well (some during speeches, then the "whose devices are up to date" pie charts with like ~10% on the newest Android release of the time and >70% on the newest iOS release of the time). Microsoft did it during the Windows Phone days, but I think now they're trying to extend olive branches especially to Android, but I believe they've been nice about iOS as well.

At least one?


(Scroll down for a picture)

Countless time Steve Jobs mocked M$ and Windows in their new products announcement.

I don't think any serious tech company, from any part of the world, would claim its brand new OS is "of course" more powerful and secure than the number 1 OS in the market, without providing at the very bare minimum some kind of twisted/fake/dishonest on-stage or video demo.

Take it differently : imagine microsoft announced a brand new mobile OS. Would it say it's "of course more powerful and secure than android and iOs", period ? Could you imagine that they wouldn't get flared up ?

It’s just really not hard to claim to be more secure than Android. Sure iOS is an issue, but I don’t think anyone would believe Android is more secure than Windows Phone.

Why not? Android security is actually top notch.

I believe those 3 companies have shown and demonstrated their competence and ability to deliver world class software. Huawei has not, at least yet. Whether that will ever happen remains to be seen.

And one of those companies let you log in to root with an empty password, very recently. The scepticism should apply across the board

Cherry-picked anecdote doesn't change anything though. Skepticism applies to everyone, but more to companies (as well as individuals) that still haven't proven themselves.

Edit: To close04: No one, but you ever talked about Cisco.

It's not an anecdote: it was a wide-reaching security issue that was objectively bad and which irrefutably happened.

Anyway, I think you moved the goal posts. You were implying they should not be included in the group to be sceptical about, rather than any kind of scale.

If you follow the news daily and still consider Cisco hasn't proven to be worthy of skepticism at every turn, or reading the endless wave of "Chinese state sponsored hacker" news stories and never realize what the NSA is (EternalBlue, just as a quick read) then you're judging based on double standards.

This being said my main reason for being skeptic about HarmonyOS is that it's a v1.0. And just like almost all other v1.0s it has a lot to prove and improve.

Having a bug != being unable to deliver software

When you use words like "more powerful" without even defining what that means, its going to be met with skepticism.

Also, Apple doesn't make these claims. They compare to their own previous generations when they want to make a comparison. They rarely mention competitors.

I really don't think your concern is warranted in this case.

There has been a lot of coverage in the last couple of years questioning whether Huawei, specifically, makes trustworthy products, due to the political situation between the US and China; is it so far fetched that a large US news organization would continue that thread?

China tends to create absolute garbage for the chinese market. Huawei's reputation outside of china has taken a massive hit, even though they were considered industry leaders this time last year, so that's not helping. Add to that the fact that they seemingly pumped this out in about 4 months and skepticism is warranted.

HarmonyOS is sort of a vaporware, isn't it? We heard about it, but if someone comes out with a new product then he should demontrate it. So skepticism is in order in this case.

> Don't get me wrong, that kind of skepticism is good. It just feels naive and tribal to limit it to the Chinese companies.

Ship it all and let Wireshark sort it out.

How does that work if everything is encrypted? You can smuggle the information alongside legitimate requests

True, but at least you know the size, destination, and timing of an exchange.

You can't stop detect small smuggling but a periodic pull of software updates looks vastly different from uploads of all your photos, just for example.

I think that's reasonable scepticism of a V 1.0 product. Neither iOS or Android were anything like secure as they are today when the first shipped.

The same company that said they will release a folding phone, and then didn't.

At the time of writing, it has only implicitly been mentioned in the comments here about the security risks this OS might have.

We know that Google has a very close relationship to the US government w.r.t surveillance.

Apple claims to be "fighting" it, whether as PR or genuine.

Huawei on the other hand is deeply intertwined with the Chinese government and their policies should give an indication that backdoors and total surveillance will be passed into the OS.

I don't see this OS succeeding beyond China though. US companies still dominate the app market outside China. No WhatsApp = no thanks; to the majority of the developing world.

> I don't see this OS succeeding beyond China though.

I wouldn't be so sure. Obviously it would be an uphill battle for the OS to compete in the US or Europe, but anywhere that doesn't have clear smartphone dominance yet (ie most of India or Africa) is fair game. Huawei already has a strong foothold in both of those places, and the Chinese government is not opposed to strong-arming them into sticking with Huawei infrastructure.

The Chinese government can force cooperation from any company operating in China for any kind of data access, without court ruling or any due process. This basically means the Chinese government will have direct data access to phones running Huawei's OS.

See also https://www.ft.com/content/282f8ca0-3be6-11e9-b72b-2c7f526ca...

We know that Google has a very close relationship to the US government w.r.t surveillance.

[Citation needed]

I don't believe for a second that buying a phone installed with HarmonyOS will ever be compelling to consumers. This is microkernel based, which makes me believe that it's not an AOSP fork, which means having compatibility with Android apps is not going to be straightforward. Think of the problems that Amazon has had filling their app stores with quality ports, and they are only selling tablets now because they are nearly giving them away for free, and also have tight integration with Amazon services, which some people like. PurityOS has a slight chance, but only if they can make it work within the niche audience that they are targeting. Microsoft couldn't make a phone OS work. Firefox couldn't make a phone OS work. It takes years to develop a catalog of apps. If Huawei were truly to be using this as a backup, they would need to start working on getting developers on their platform yesterday, not "in the future".


> Harmony OS is not compatible with Android apps out-of-the-box, confirms Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. That means you won’t be able to merely side-load any Android app of your choosing. In a press conference, Mr. Yu says that app developers will have to make “small changes” to their apps in order to compile them to run on Harmony OS. He states that it is “very easy” to transfer Android apps to Harmony OS.

HarmonyOS, if it is a decent OS, which is a huge IF, will have the advantage of having a huge and fairly receptive Chinese market.

It better be open source at least if it wants to have any chance of being used outside China though, and not just “open” source.

> “open” source

Not sure what that means, but open source is pretty much irrelevant in this market, for one because we already have Android and it doesn't help much.

If you want to fork Android, it's easy and except for Google's proprietary services, like the notifications, you get compatibility with the entire Android ecosystem out of the box.

So why is there no successful fork around, except for Amazon's, which is very niche and doesn't count?

Open source is defined by the freedom to fork. However if the market forces are such that forking isn't feasible, then the open source nature is irrelevant.

Going back to your usage of quotes in "open" source, if that's what you meant, well, unfortunately Huawei is not the FSF.

I would say, their source code should be available for anyone to see, especially security researches. And what is installed on the phone should be exactly what is available in public.

> no successful fork around

There are hundreds, you just have to install them yourself.

> The availability of the mobile operating system, which is open source

Where is the source?

There is nothing available yet if there even is any source or OS in the first place.

"Harmony OS will not allow for root access, which Huawei says is a security risk on Android and other Linux-based operating systems. Finally, Huawei will be open-sourcing Harmony OS in the future."

The Huawei CEO said HarmonyOS can replace Android on its smartphones “at any time,” but reiterated its previous commitments to Google’s platform.


Market monopoly is bad for the market's harmony.

Two non-colluding competitors are better than a monopoly; three better than two.

Hypothesis: Anything more than a 33% market capture by a producer is bad for consumers eventually.

Since nobody has pointed it out yet, harmony = 和諧, which is a euphemism for censorship in China.

And then there is 和諧 = 河蟹, which is an atonal homophonic euphemism for the euphemism.

The Wikipedia article on this provides some background information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphemisms_for_Internet_censor...

> The 2004 Chinese Communist Party announcement of the goal of constructing a "harmonious society" has been cited by the government of China as the reason for Internet censorship. As a result, Chinese netizens began to use the word "harmonious/harmonize/harmonization" (和谐) as a euphemism for censorship when the word for censorship itself was censored, particularly on BBSs. Following this, the word "harmonious" itself was censored, at which point Chinese netizens began to use the word for "river crab", a near homophone for "harmonious". In a further complication of meaning, sometimes aquatic product (Chinese: 水产) is used in place of "river crab".

So could naming the os in this way be a clever attempt at recapturing the meaning of a subversive word that the government doesn't like?


It's Chinese name is from Chinese myth. Is it in any way rebellious? No I don't think so. Patriotism made Huawei and is making them dough.

It's most likely their engineers' limited creative idea.

No, "harmony" is already a buzzword in China. See, for example, "harmonious society".

Its Chinese name is still Hongmeng, is it not?

Could you explain a bit more about the atonal euphemism? Is this a common alternative to express a word in Mandarin?

It's a pun. 和谐 is héxié in Pinyin and 河蟹 is héxiè. They differ only in the tone of the last syllable. Since 河蟹 means "river crab", the reader will probably be able to guess that some other word is meant and correct it to 和谐 in their mind.

This is not just used to evade censorship, but also humorously. E.g. returnees from overseas 海归 (hǎiguī) are frequently called sea turtles 海龟 (hǎiguī). In that case, even the tones match.

It's a common way of getting around censorship (specifically taboo words). A classic (if recent), comedic example is the Grass Mud Horse [1].

[1]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grass_Mud_Horse

The atonal euphemism is a common alternative to avoid automatic censorship of various websites.

Exactly. It’s a tongue-in-cheek that basically says that you need to circumvent censorship when you want to talk about censorship.

By the way, I’m not a linguist and I just completely made up that usage of “atonal homophone”. Could an actual linguist chime in and tell us what’s the correct way to describe a “homophone” that doesn’t match in tone, in the context of a tonal language like Chinese?

It's usually still called a pun or homophone. Most puns in English don't precisely match phonetics (especially stress) either.

I can’t think of anything I want less than Huawei smart home devices.

Are you comparing these to what is happening in China? Please.


In which universe did any Chinese company pull a Tiananmen Square massacre?

Are you confusing the Chinese company with the Chinese government?

Are you comfortables with USA government staging illegal Iraqi war (one of many), that resulted in close to a million death (at least)? With direct complicit help from many USA based companies?

What exactly are we comparing here, or are we cherry-picking ignorance?

> Given the public nature of trade unions in China, if the ownership stake of the trade union committee is genuine, and if the trade union and its committee function as trade unions generally function in China, then Huawei may be deemed effectively state-owned.

(Source: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3372669)

Google smart home devices?

Reminds me of the joke: "My wife asked me why I spoke so softly in the house. I said I was afraid Mark Zuckerberg was listening! She laughed. I laughed. Alexa laughed. Siri laughed. Google Voice Assistant laughed."

Or a Facebook smart home device.

Worse yet that bedroom webcam from Amazon. Idek who approved that.


My,naive, impression as a none US and none Chinese citizen is that Google will abuse all the data they can get their hands on in order to make money. Huawei on the other hand, may use your data in the way that best fits the Chinese goverment. This may of course be terrible if your an Chinese citizen doing things the goverment does not want you to do, but on the other hand as an European citizen I find it much less likely that the Chinese goverment will abuse my personal data than that Google will.

edit:typos and formatting..

While that is a tempting view at first, I can't get behind it, given what we now know about state-sponsored efforts to destabilize western democracies, through targeted misinformation and outright cyber warfare. I think we have every reason to believe such efforts will become more sophisticated, bold and disruptive. Every bit of data that adversarial regimes may have on you, is a potential lever that they can pull.

Yep, yep, private firms in the west are harvesting our data and using it in not-so-great ways. Same with our security agencies. But... imperfect though they may be, we do have many tools with which to hold them accountable and affect change, even if the odds might be stacked against us most of the time.

Not to mention, we've seen how bad western companies tend to be at securing data (e.g. Equifax) - its not going to be any better in China or elsewhere.

Is the Chinese state-sponsored cyber warfare any worse than what the US or Russia are doing? My impression is that cyber warfare is a part of what it to be an superpower, if your not doing it you are losing(__lots of citations needed__), and I have no reason not to belive that the US is not best in class when it comes to cyber warfare.

It doesn’t matter who has the weapon. What matter is whether it is targeting you.

How is Google abusing your data?


- you're not in or near China

- you are not a Chinese national or a relative of one

- you are not operating in international human rights law

Then arguably the Chinese government has less power over you than the US one, or indeed Google.

[citation needed]


It's worth remembering that the world isn't divided into the US and China. There are in fact other countries, and the fact that the US is willing to violate the rights of the people in those countries on a massive scale and subsequently use that against them (which is an even more important factor) means that there is no moral high ground to be found there.

Agreed (my comment is mainly for the US because that's where a lot of HN users are) but the US is still a democracy and might assassinate people but generally doesn't murder you just for protesting.

Not complaining about downmods but -2 for a pretty boring statement like the above is a bit...interesting?

- Do people not think the US is a democracy? Why? Russiagate?

- Do people think the US generally murders you for protesting?

- Do people think that Tiananmen Square didn't happen?

At a glance it might be:

- Implying that being US-centric by default is okay

- Implying that the US (police) does not arbitrarily murder people for doing things they do not like (including protesting)

Those are two things that stood out to me as surprising points of view.

> Google is beholden to the US government, which does terrible things but generally tries to avoid doing them to US citizens en masse.

I'm not one of you.

Glad to know as long as its not one of you its all OK. As if the rest of the world doesn't know it.

I'm the person you're replying to and I'm not a US citizen either. The only person who has discussed this being OK is you.

USA Government doesn't do terrible things to USA citizens, but does terrible things to Non-USA countries and its citizens (most of the rest of the world).

Chinese Government does terrible things to its own people, but doesn't do terrible things to the rest of the world.

Pick your poison.

In the USA (and in liberal democracies) people can learn about these things, speak openly about them, possibly get mad about them, and hold the government accountable. That's the crucial difference.

I'm pretty sure I can hear people laughing, as they are reading that. However, it really is true.

Why is Guantanamo camp still open?

Can Snowden speak openly about NSA hacking?

In China there are some checks and balances, but they are just ineffective and often ignored too. In the USA there are stronger due processes, but there are also more subtle ways to abuse them.

There is a difference, but it’s not really as material as it sounds.

> possibly get mad about them, and hold the government accountable

When was the last time it happened, if ever?

Imagine what the US government might be doing abroad today, if there had been no push back from its citizens on the Iraq war? Or Vietnam?

Or take a look at the spotlight in the US being shined on immigration and the treatment of asylum seekers, today. Imagine a version of events where there is no such spotlight. That fight is still ongoing, and the outcome is uncertain... but would their situation be better or worse?

The US is also engaged in many, many humanitarian efforts all around the world - that is in part because these efforts are supported by the people.

You literally did not answer my question. Your government is not now or has ever been accountable to any atrocities it has caused since the beginning of its existence. Regardless of how much angst you have shown and the protests you have done. Nothing cam out of it, ever.

China has never in the history of its existence, bombed the shit out of other countries, killing millions in the guise of freedom. Overthrew legitimately elected government, and supplied weapons to create conflict. Never.

Well China itself does not have a legitimately elected government, so there's that. They're trying to revoke the HK system they promised before the handover in 1997 as we speak.

Personally I have no "smart" devices except mobile phones.

What are the Chinese going to do with my personal conversations? Apart from use it for marketing, for which there are already much easier ways of collecting data.

I'm far more worried about MY government collecting data and being in a position to make real use of it. Western corporations are more likely to play ball with western governments.

> The top executive also claimed that HarmonyOS’ microkernel has “one-thousandth the amount of code in the Linux kernel.”

Wow, really? A microkernel with a lot less code then a macrokernel? I'm amazed!

Seriously, though, this is the writing of a clueless reporter with no editing. Obviously, that executive was simply _explanining_ that the microkernel is small.

Other than that - it would be nice if HarmonyOS were to become a properly FOSS OS which can be relatively easily installed on phones with Android (Huawey or otherwise).

So, they finally decided that the connotation is "tricky" with Hongmen. The transliteration in Pinyin sound close to informal name for black societies. The "Secret Society OS" is not the best pick for an OS name when things happen in Hongkong.

Your comment is not at all clear; perhaps you could try being less euphemistic and say what it is you mean.


According to wikipedia, 洪門(Hongmen) is the alternative name for Tiandihui(天地會), an illegal society in Hong Kong, which sounds similar to Hongmeng.

Ah, so "black societies" meant something like "criminal organisations", maybe triads? I thought to begin with the comment meant dark-skinned people.

So, if I have it right:

Originally Huawei called their OS 'Hongmeng'. But that sounds like 'Hongmen' which is an alternative name used (but not exclusively) for the outlawed Tiandihui crime syndicate.

something close to that.

Looks like it was originally this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Meng but it could easily be punned as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongmen

Neither are especially auspicious, it seems! But perhaps the first one was intended as "oh hai plz do not use unfinished OS".

It's still called Hongmeng in Chinese, though (as per article's picture).

No-one in the west knows about black societies and no-one ever heard that word. I think this is about having an 'international' name that does not sound too foreign/Chinese and that is not opened to misinformation campaigns.

I recognize the term "Hongmen", although I'm sure I'm not representative of most people. It's probably not in Huawei's interests to have an operating system colloquially known as Triad OS.

I dunno, it has a certain kung fu movie cachet.

No native Chinese speaker will mistake 鸿蒙 (Hong Meng) for 洪门(Hong men) . And no Non Chinese speaker will even know what is HongMen.

Don't know where you're going with this.

Sure, the thing is much more about the part of population with richer imagination.

I myself could not have imagined character 貓 being censored because of another "Mao"

Yeah right up until someone does the OS-tan caricature for Hong Meng as a cute gangster.

The other problem is that "Hongmeng" literally means "Red dream", which isn't ideal for a company that wants people to believe it isn't controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

red(红) dream(梦) 鸿(!=红)蒙(!=梦)

I know that Hongmeng here is 鸿蒙, but 红梦 is also "hongmeng"

Warning everytime you send or browse unharmonious messages, reapeated offenders will have their phones bricked, as this will be the most voted feature on Weibo./s

Stating that this is not for smartphones just days ago, now they decided fuck it why not?

So, was anybody able to find some source code for this allegedly Open Source OS or the allegedly Open Source ARK compiler?

Which open source license requires them to release the code before the product is even released?

Fair enough regarding Harmony, but what is up with ARK?

Check out this Google Search: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&channel=tro...

Pages upon pages parroting the Open Source claim, bot not a single line of code in sight.

Ma issue here is with these news outlets parroting the Open Source claims. Your stuff isn't Open Source until the sources are open.

Some strings:

/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/../../open_source/hcc_arm64le_build_src/gcc-7.3.0/configure --build=x86_64-pc-linux-gnu --host=x86_64-pc-linux-gnu --target=aarch64-linux-gnu --with-arch=armv8-a --prefix=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu --disable-multilib --disable-libmudflap --enable-nls --disable-sjlj-exceptions --enable-gnu-unique-object --enable-linker-build-id --enable-shared --with-arch=armv8-a --with-gnu-as --with-gnu-ld --disable-libstdcxx-pch --enable-libstdcxx-time=yes --enable-lto --enable-c99 --enable-clocale=gnu --enable-multiarch --enable-gnu-indirect-function --enable-checking=release --enable-threads=posix --enable-plugin --enable-long-long --with-pkgversion='Compiler CPU V200R005C00SPC030B003' --enable-languages=c,c++,fortran,lto --with-headers=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu/sysroot/usr/include --with-sysroot=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu/sysroot --with-build-sysroot=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu/sysroot --with-gmp=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu --with-mpfr=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu --with-mpc=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu --with-isl=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu --libdir=/usr1/compiler_cpu/code/current/build/hcc_arm64le_ark/arm64le_build_dir/gcc-ark-7.3.0-x86_64_aarch64-linux-gnu/lib64 --disable-bootstrap --enable-fix-cortex-a53-835769 --enable-fix-cortex-a53-843419 --with-system-zlib

Nothing out of the ordinary at first glance. The tarball has your usual compiler stuff (binutils, gold) and a standard linux sysroot with glibc.

Whatever "ARK" is, I don't see it.

It might be just a gcc fork probably?

I mean, the current compilers from Arm and AMD are literally just clang forks… why would anyone reinvent the wheel when you can just tune clang :)

This page 404s :D

There's also a bit of discussion on the link I posted, which got enough points but never made it to the front page https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20651984

It doesn't matter if it's faster or has more features, it is hard to get a foothold in the Smartphone market. Windows Phone was better than Android IMO, it had a much cleaner UI ( Compared to Android 2.3), better battery management and was much easier to develop. But at the end of the day , developers just did not write apps for it.

HarmonyOS will end up in the same boat. Devs won't write apps for HarmonyOS because it wouldn't have users and users wouldn't buy Huawei because it doesn't have apps. It's a chicken and egg problem which is really hard to solve.

There is a related thread with some discussion https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20651984

Before somebody show me the code or even just few screenshots other than https://www.huaweiupdate.com/screenshots-of-ark-os-the-new-h..., I'm going to assume this OS is based on Microsoft PowerPoint.

I been watch related news since the first broke out, but I noticed all the news was just like "OakOS will be a better OS", "Hongmeng OS will be the Android killer", " HarmonyOS will be an alternative OS that can run on anything".

"Will be" is a very empty word, and I want to see the real info.

Search FOSDEM talks from Huawei.

Most likely it is based on the work they have been showing there the last couple of years.

Just did and found a talk by a Huawei researcher about optimizing CPU designs for certain OS operations (instead of the other way around). Pretty interesting, thank you.

Huawei has stolen technology from its Western competitors on multiple occasions so I would not be surprised if they just stole most of Android and said neener neener state-sponsored anticompetition

Given AOSP, the core of Android, is open source, which is what allows forks to exist, including Amazon's, what's the point in "stealing" from Android when they can just use it legally?

Google's grip on Android is via Google Play. Replace Play with your own store, replace Google's proprietary stuff (email, maps, notifications) and you've got a ready to use fork.

It's really not that complicated for a big company.

All smartphone vendors could do it, except none of them have the capacity to recreate Google's ecosystem that's being controlled via Play. It's why Windows Phone was a complete failure.

Think about that for a second. If Microsoft couldn't bootstrap an app ecosystem, most companies don't have any chance.

And I'm sure Huawei could, but will it take off outside of China? I doubt it.

Is Android not (mostly) open source? So how is it stealing? Depends on the license and use but they say it is open source (let’s verify that) and if it is I do not think you can call it stealing? Or are you referring to something else?

Given that it is an OS from a China-fund company, I would hesitate to use it as much as I can away from surveillance.

It is almost guarantee that backdoor will be there.

If you are using a smartphone, assume most nation states can hack you if they're particularly inclined.

If you want not to be hacked, use a dumbphone and take the battery and SIM out and bin it after use.

Can't see them collecting much more than google do.

One has more influence over my life, the other is China.

We see what China is doing to its Muslim minorities. Having a government like that gain insight into the habits of people of other countries is probably not the best idea.

We see what Muslim is doing to its China minorities.

Similar to what they do with/in Tibet: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-16689779

Isn't it open-source, though?

It is impossible to have backdoors in open source software

Hackernews is full of prejudice against Chinese things.

Hacker news has 173 comments right now and my rough estimate is %20 are anti-China without contributing anything new to the conversation.

The original article on Tech Crunch has 5 comments and 80% of them are prejudiced against China with some slipping into racist territory.

So I would say that Hackernews lifts significantly out of the general cesspool that is internet comments.

Yup, because there certainly isn't anything to worry about when it comes to China further globalizing it's surveillance tech. Anyone disagreeing is just racialist!

Hopefully, they will rewrite it in Rust.

Just what I want, a phone OS from a less privacy conscious company (China, Inc.) than Google.

As an English speaking person I have a vested interest in operating systems that are in English.

If Harmony OS takes over then I doubt the finer points of the documentation will necessarily be in English.

I know there are many strong opinions on everything to do with China, but if English is no longer the lingua-franca in tech then I will be blaming the Trump regime and the three letter agencies for messing it up.

China has been pushing that propaganda for years. See the movie "Transformers: Age of Extinction", and also the Chinese made "The Wandering Earth", in which Chinese people speak mandarin to white people, and those white people understand just fine.

Honestly English being THE international language is certainly a reflection of the power of English speaking nations. It's no wonder China fancy having that.

Nothing is forever, just like empires come and fall. So will lingua-franca people will adopt because money can be earned in the new lingua-franca.

Even in IT, in certain world regions you would have better luck with some variation of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian as Lingua Franca than English.

Most of the IT infrastructure most people would use at any point will have documentation in English. I'm sure you could find isolated examples to the contrary and no doubt those examples are sometimes also great software worth using, but this is currently not the norm.

Then I have to tell you that in quite a few projects, the skill that the clients were looking for was that besides my programming skills, I also master a couple of human languages.

No documentation, comments written in native language and even identifiers are not so uncommon across many corporations.

I never claimed otherwise, I said that this could be the case.

I would prefer to do things like getting my web server to work in stock Ubuntu where the instructions are all in English. To further help, everything on Stack Overflow is in English.

Harmony OS is a general purpose OS, I doubt that if I was trying to get the server version of it working that the finer points of the settings would be documented in English. On-going development might not be in English.

The commands used in programming languages are in English. 'strpos' might not be an English Word but it is still English. There isn't a Spanish/Russian/French or other language version of 'strpos'. Same with HTML. 'body' is always 'body' whatever the language the content of the page is.

I don't get your point.

> The commands used in programming languages are in English

Taken as absolute this is untrue:


The thing is entirely in French (SI ALORS SINON, POUR TOUT, TANT QUE...) with English later tacked on, and a technical crapfest (I'd rather code in INTERCAL), but it does exist and is widely used around here (and by my own admission, produces working - if buggy - software that solves real life problems for people).

Combined with OS, software, and resources (http://sdz.tdct.org) set to French all around, a lot of the French dev community lives in a secluded language bubble entirely outside the thriving world you and I experience. Even if using non-French keywords, they could just as well be replaced with 'qux', 'frobnicate', or ':roller_coaster:'. To most of them, they're just tokens learned by rote. The overall quality of this community is terrible. At some point some contractor of a customer was hell-bent on explaining me that HTTP redirections were happening server-side (through pixie dust), therefore it was safe to place plaintext auth credentials in the query string.

This creates a conundrum: any English content you poke at them is met with great pushback and distrust (mostly from fear of judgement and fear of the unknown), while the typical English-speaking developer will feed from English resources and produce in English resources. This in turn means that practically no French resource is produced (actually untrue, there has been and still is, but they lag behind a lot and usually don't survive long), further widening the gap.

PS: I may sound adversarial but that's really not the case, it's more than I'm appalled. I tried to break the bubble by producing some French content and help people but the pushback, inertia, and status-quo is incredibly powerful.

I came here for this. I'm not a native English speaker, but I do not speak Chinese, so between the two I would certainly prefer English. In any case I totally agree that this push for a non American based OS is the fault of the current administration, and it might well be this push for non American based OSs will be regarded as one of the worst outcomes of current policies.

Well, it's the app selection that makes an OS, so if HarmonyOS can't run Android apps, it's doomed. Even if Huawei dumps money into developers (Microsoft tried that with Windows Phone).

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