Eric Xu Zhijun, Huawei's rotating chairman, announces the release of the Ascend 910 AI processor and MindSpore AI computing framework on Friday. (Photo: Courtesy of Huawei)
Huawei launched a website for the long-anticipated open source project Ark Compiler over the weekend, a significant step in helping global developers adopt Android coding into applications that are compatible with the Chinese company's HarmonyOS.
The site will also help push forward the building of an ecosystem for HarmonyOS amid the US attack on the Chinese technology powerhouse.
The website of Ark Compiler was put online on Saturday, allowing users to access and download the source code. A compiler is a program that translates programming language into machine language, which could bridge the gap between human instructions and a machine's ability to understand them. Such programs are critical to the efficiency of execution.
Huawei said its Ark Compiler could work without the need for an interpreter to enable direct translation.
In releasing the compiler, Huawei said it aims to share technological development with developers and grow with them together to promote industrial innovation in an open way and build up an open ecosystem.
Some industry insiders told the Global Times that access to the Ark compiler's open source was halted three minutes after the system was released on Saturday, which they said might have been due to some technical issues. The Global Times found that the official website was back to normal as of 3 pm Beijing time on Sunday.
"Huawei's overall roadmap to the open source of its compiler will not be changed by some trivial technical defaults," Ma Jihua, a Beijing-based analyst in the telecommunications sector, told the Global Times. The release of the open source showed Huawei's efforts to attract global developers to jointly build the HarmonyOS ecosystem against the backdrop of the US blacklisting in May that could cut off Google's Android OS supplies.
Huawei senior officials have said that the establishment of a mobile OS is not the most difficult task - building up an ecosystem is. The company hinted in April at a Huawei P30 series launch event that the compiler will open source to the public.
Huawei reportedly began development of the Ark Compiler in 2009.
By supporting multiple popular programming languages including Java, the Ark compiler could convert applications that support the Android system to be compatible with HarmonyOS, saving work for developers and paving the road to a quick expansion of the ecosystem, Ma said.
Richard Yu Chengdong, chief executive of Huawei's consumer business group, said during the launch event of Huawei's operating system HarmonyOS in August that "migrating Android-backed apps to Harmony is easy and only requires one or two days' work via the Ark Compiler."
Industry sources told the Global Times that as there's no sign that the authorization of the Android system service is resuming, Huawei is busy testing its HarmonyOS on a soon-to-be-released new device, the Mate 30 lite. The tests have gone well and the new smartphone could also accommodate the Android system.
Some suggested that Huawei is gauging external developments to decide when to make an announcement involving the new gadget.