From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
OpenHarmony 3.2 default embedded development board terminal GUI
DeveloperVarious (OpenAtom Foundation, Huawei and others)
Written inC, C++, ArkTS, JS, Rust, Assembly language
OS familyLiteOS
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseSeptember 10, 2020; 3 years ago (2020-09-10)
Latest release4.1 / March 30, 2024; 17 days ago (2024-03-30)
Marketing targetEmbedded systems, Internet of Things, Internet of vehicles, Edge computing, wireless routers, smartphones, tablet computers, smart TVs, smartwatches, smart speakers, personal computers, Laptops, mixed reality headsets, virtual reality headsets, wireless earbuds, wireless headphones, wearable devices, augmented reality headsets, smart printers, Interactive whiteboards, cars, smart homes, enterprise, industry, aerospace, Consumer electronics
Update methodOver-the-air
PlatformsARM, RISC-V, x86, x64 and LoongArch[1]
Kernel typeMultikernel (Kernel subsystem) with Linux kernel, and LiteOS [LiteOS-A (OpenHarmony Lightweight Kernel) & LiteOS-M][2] and add-ons
UserlandSystem Service Layer[3]
Influenced byBarrelfish, Webinos, Android (EMUI), Openmoko Linux, Yocto Project, OpenEmbedded, Unix kernel, Minix, Linux, freeBSD, BSD, Unix-like, FreeRTOS, Apple OSes, Windows, macOS, LiteOS, HarmonyOS, openEuler
LicenseApache license
Preceded byLiteOS
Support status

OpenAtom OpenHarmony, or abbreviated as OpenHarmony (OHOS), is a family of open-source operating systems based on HarmonyOS derived from LiteOS, donated the L0-L2 branch source code by Huawei to the OpenAtom Foundation. Similar to HarmonyOS, the open-source distributed operating system is designed with a layered architecture, which consists of four layers from the bottom to the top, i.e., the kernel layer, system service layer, framework layer, and application layer.[4][5]

OpenHarmony supports various devices running a mini system such as printers, speakers, smartwatches and any other smart device with memory as small as 128 KB, or running a standard system with memory greater than 128 MB.[6]

The system contains the basic and some advanced capabilities of HarmonyOS.[7]

The operating system oriented for the IoT and Embedded devices market with diverse range of devices support from smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smart watches, personal computers and other smart devices.[8]


The first version of OpenHarmony was launched by the OpenAtom Foundation on September 10, 2020, after receiving a donation of the open-source code from Huawei.[9]

The OpenHarmony 2.0 (Canary version) was launched in June 2021, supporting a variety of smart terminal devices.[9]

Based on its earlier version, OpenAtom Foundation launched OpenHarmony 3.0 on September 30, 2021, and brought substantial improvements over the past version to optimize the operating system.[10]

A release of OpenHarmony supporting devices with up to 4 GB RAM was made available in April 2021.[11]

OpenAtom Foundation added a UniProton kernel, a hardware-based real-time operating system, into its repo as part of the Kernel subsystem of the OpenHarmony operating system on August 10, 2022.[12]


The primary IDE known as DevEco Studio to build OpenHarmony applications with OpenHarmony SDK full development kit that includes a comprehensive set of development tools, including a debugger, tester system via DevEco Testing, warehouse software libraries for software development, a embedded device emulator, previewer, documentation, sample code, and tutorials. Applications for OpenHarmony are mostly built using components of ArkUI, a Declarative User Interface framework. ArkUI elements are adaptable to various custom open-source hardware and industry hardware devices and include new interface rules with automatic updates along with HarmonyOS updates.[13]

Hardware development is developed using DevEco Studio via DevEco Device tool for building on OpenHarmony, also creating distros with operating system development with toolchains provided, including verification certification processes for the platform, as well as customising the operating system as an open source variant compared to original closed distro variant HarmonyOS that primarily focus on HarmonyOS Connect partners with Huawei.[14][15]

OpenHarmony Application Binary Interface (ABI) ensures compatibility across various OpenHarmony powered devices with diverse set of chipset instruction set platforms.[16]

HDC (OpenHarmony Device Connector) is a command-line tool tailored for developers working with OpenHarmony devices. The BM command tool component of HDC tool is used to facilitate debugging by developers. After entering in the HDC shell command, the BM tool can be utilised.[17][18]

Like HarmonyOS, OpenHarmony uses App Pack files suffixed with .app, also known as APP files on AppGallery and third party distribution application stores on OpenHarmony-based and non-OpenHarmony operating systems such as Linux-based Unity Operating System which is beneficial for interoperability and compatibility. Each App Pack has one or more HarmonyOS Ability Packages (HAP) containing code for their abilities, resources, libraries, and a JSON file with configuration information.[19]

While incorporating the OpenHarmony layer for running the APP files developed based on HarmonyOS APIs, the operating system utilizes the main Linux kernel for bigger memory devices, as well as the RTOS-based LiteOS kernel for smaller memory-constrained devices, as well as add-ons, custom kernels in distros in the Kernel Abstract Layer (KAL) subsystem that is not kernel dependent nor instruction set dependent. For webview applications, it incorporates ArkWeb browser engine as of API 11 release at system level for security replacing Chromium Embedded Framework nweb software engine that facilitated Blink-based Chromium in API 5.[20]

Unlike with open-source Android operating system with countless third-party dependency packages repeatedly built into the apps at a disadvantage when it comes to fragmentation. The OpenHarmony central warehouse with the Special Interest Group at OpenAtom governance provides commonly used third-party public warehouses for developers in the open-source environment which brings greater interoperability and compatibility with OpenHarmony-based operating systems. Apps does not require repeated built-in third-party dependencies, such as Chromium, Unity and Unreal Engine. This can greatly reduce the system ROM volume.[21]

Harmony Distributed File System (HMDFS) is a distributed file system designed for large-scale data storage and processing that is also used in openEuler. It is inspired by the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). The file system suitable for scenarios where large-scale data storage and processing are essential, such as IoT applications, edge computing, and cloud services.[22] On Orange Pi OS (OHOS), the native file system shows LOCAL and shared_disk via OpenHarmony's Distributed File System (HMDFS) File path/root folder for the file system uses ">" instead of traditional "\" in Unix/Linux/Unix-like and "/" on Windows with its DLL (Dynamic-link library) system.

Access token manager is an essential component in OpenHarmony-based operating systems, responsible for unified app permission management based on access tokens. Access tokens serve as identifiers for apps, containing information such as app ID, user ID, app privilege level (APL), and app permissions. By default, apps can access limited system resources. ATM ensures controlled access to sensitive functionalities.[23]

OpenHarmony kernel abstract layer employs the musl libc library and native APIs, providing support for the Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) for Linux syscalls within the Linux kernel side and LiteOS kernel that is the inherent part of the original LiteOS design in POSIX API compatibility.[24] Developers and vendors can create components and applications that work on the kernel based on POSIX standards.[25]

OpenHarmony NDK is a toolset that enables developers to incorporate C and C++ code into their applications. Specifically, in the case of OpenHarmony, the NDK serves as a bridge between the native world (C/C++) and the OpenHarmony ecosystem.[26]

This NAPI method is a vital importance of open source community of individual developers, companies and non-profit organisations of stakeholders in manufacturers creating third party libraries for interoperability and compatibility on the operating system native open source and commercial applications development from third party developers between southbound and northbound interface development of richer APIs, e.g. third party Node.js, Simple DirectMedia Layer, Qt framework, LLVM compiler, FFmpeg etc.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

Also, vendors built operating systems on top of OpenHarmony itself as well as OpenHarmony-based Oniro OS can build and integrate their new or existing custom kernels to their open and commercial distributions of software stack outside the two default kernels of the Multikernel architecture such as Huawei's HarmonyOS NEXT iteration of HarmonyOS as addons on OpenHarmony whether individual distros supports multiple custom kernels or one custom kernel or one from the default kernels chosen, providing vendors flexibility in its architecture design in the kernel abstract layer architecture abstracting differences preserving system layer functions from apps, DSoftBus localised device transmission functionalities to drivers.[35]


  • September 10, 2020 – Initial release of OpenHarmony with support for devices with 128 KB – 128 MB RAM
  • April 2021 – OpenHarmony release with support for smartphones and other devices with 128 MB – 4 GB RAM
  • October 2021 – OpenHarmony release with support for additional devices with 4+ GB RAM[36]


OpenHarmony can be deployed on various hardware devices of ARM, RISC-V and x86 architectures with memory volumes ranging from as small as 128 KB up to more than 1 MB. It supports hardware devices with three types of system as follows:[37]

  • Mini system – running on such devices as connection modules, sensors, and wearables, with memory equal to or larger than 128 KB and equipped with processors including ARM Cortex-M and 32-bit RISC-V.
  • Small system – running on such devices as IP cameras, routers, event data recorders, with memory equal to or larger than 1 MB and equipped with processors including ARM Cortex-A.
  • Standard system – running on devices with enhanced interaction, 3D GPU, rich animations and diverse components, with memory equal to or larger than 128 MB and equipped with processors including ARM Cortex-A.

Compatibility certification[edit]

To ensure OpenHarmony-based devices are compatible and interoperable in the ecosystem, the OpenAtom Foundation has set up product compatibility specifications, with a Compatibility Working Group to evaluate and certify the products that are compatible with OpenHarmony.[38][39]

The following two types of certifications were published for the partners supporting the compatibility work, with the right to use the OpenHarmony Compatibility Logo on their certified products, packaging, and marketing materials.[40]

  1. Development boards, modules, and software distributions
  2. Equipment

On April 25, 2022, 44 products have obtained the compatibility certificates, and more than 80 software and hardware products are in the process of evaluation for OpenHarmony compatibility.[41]

Software development[edit]

Since OpenHarmony was open source in September 2020 to December 2021, more than 1,200 developers and 40 organizations have participated in the open source project and contributed code. At present, OpenHarmony has developed to 4.x version.

Software version History
Version number Release date API level Main features
1.0 September 10, 2020 5 Support terminal devices with memory from 128KB to 128MB
1.1.0 long-term support version April 1, 2021 5 Add and upgrade subsystems to unify the artificial intelligence engine framework
2.0 Canary version June 1, 2021 6 Support smart terminal devices with more than 128MB of memory, and introduce the Linux kernel as the technical base
2.2 Beta version September 4, 2021 6 Possess typical distributed capabilities and media product development capabilities
3.0 long-term support version September 30, 2021 7 New features and functions for lightweight, small and standard systems
3.1 Beta version December 31, 2021 8-9 Enhance basic capabilities, system distribution capabilities, system application framework capabilities, and lightweight system capabilities, etc.

Support for rich 3D applications, with OpenGL, OpenGL ES and WebGL technologies.[42]

3.2 Beta version 1[43] May 31, 2022 8-9 Enhance the basic capabilities of lightweight and standard systems, the framework capabilities of standard system applications, and the application capabilities of standard systems
4.0 beta version 1 June 3, 2023 10 Improve the capabilities of the standard system and further improve the capabilities and effects of ArkUI components
4.0 release version October 26, 2023 10 A large number of ArkTS APIs have been added, and the scope of distributed hardware support has been expanded
4.1 beta 1 version December 31, 2023 11 New system capabilities by improving software architecture. Optimizations on ArkUI for component capabilities and effects. Enhancement on graphics window for dynamic effects and screen adaptation for different hardware. App framework improves extension capabilities, distributed soft bus connection, and more. Improvements to audio and camera frameworks on open-source code.[44]
  • Installation, update, and also uninstallation of driver programs with menu configs and query capabilities in the system.
  • Chromium version upgrades on CEF for OpenHarmony nweb software engine that takes advantage of Chromium web browser and Blink browser engine.[45]
4.1 release version March 30, 2024 11 4,000 APIs have been added to provide developers with rich app development capabilities, the open capabilities of application development are presented in the Kit dimension, providing developers with clearer logic and scenario-based perspectives, openness and dynamic capabilities of ArkUI components have been further enhanced, the web capabilities have been continuously supplemented, making it easier for developers to quickly build applications using Web capabilities, and distributed capabilities have further enhanced stability of networking.

Connection security, etc., media support for richer encoding, support for more refined broadcast control capabilities, etc. As well as ArkWeb browser engine featured on HarmonyOS NEXT, replaces OpenHarmony nweb software engine that takes advantage of Chromium web browser and Blink browser engine.

Core File Kit API enhanced Access token manager on OpenHarmony Distributed File System (HMDFS) as well as Local file system with Application files, user files and system files.

NFC provides HCE card emulation capabilities. Public Basic Class Library supports Thread Pools, "workers" within HSP and HAR modules of HAP apps.


Software distributions[edit]

OpenHarmony is the most active open source project hosted on the Gitee platform. As of September 2023, it has over 30 open-source software distributions compatible with OpenHarmony for various sectors such as education, finance, smart home, transportation, digital government and other industries.[51][52][53]

Midea IoT OS[edit]

Midea, a Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer launched Midea IoT operating system 1.0. An IoT centric operating system based on OpenHarmony 2.0 officially launched in October 2021. After, the company used HarmonyOS operating system with Huawei partnership for its smart devices compatibility since June 2, 2021 launch of HarmonyOS 2.0.[54][55][56][57]

OpenHarmony in Space[edit]

On January 6, 2022, OpenHarmony in Space (OHIS) by OHIS Working Group and Dalian University of Technology led by Yu Xiaozhou was reported to be a vital play in the future from a scientific and engineering point of view, expecting to open up opportunities for development in China's satellite systems, and surpass SpaceX’s Star Chain plan with the idea of micro-nano satellite technology.[58]


Based on OpenHarmony, SwanLinkOS was released in June 2022 by Honghu Wanlian (Jiangsu) Technology Development, a subsidiary of iSoftStone, for the transportation industry. The operating system supports mainstream chipsets, such as Rockchip RK3399 and RK3568, and can be applied in transportation and shipping equipment for monitoring road conditions, big data analysis, maritime search and rescue.[59]

It was awarded the OpenHarmony Ecological Product Compatibility Certificate by the OpenAtom Foundation.[60]

ArcherMind HongZOS[edit]

On November 7, 2022, ArcherMind Cooperation that deals with operating systems, interconnection solutions, smart innovations, and R&D aspects launched the HongZOS system that supports OpenHarmony and HiSilicon chips, solution mainly focuses on AIoT in industrial sectors.[61]

Orange Pi OS (OHOS)[edit]

On November 28, 2022, Orange Pi launched the Orange Pi OS based on the open-source OpenHarmony version.[62] In October 2023, they released the Orange Pi 3B board with the Orange Pi OHOS version for hobbyists and developers based on the OpenHarmony 4.0 Beta1 version.[63][64][65]

RobanTrust OS[edit]

On December 23, 2022, the integrated software and hardware solution together with the self-developed hardware products of Youbo Terminal runs RobanTrust OS, based on OpenHarmony that was launched as version 1.0 with 3.1.1 compatibility release.[66]


On April 15, 2023, Tongxin Software became OpenAtom's OpenHarmony Ecological Partner.[67] An intelligent terminal operating system for enterprises in China by Tongxin Software was passed for compatibility certification on June 7, 2023. Tongxin intelligent terminal operating system supports ARM, X86, and other architectures that is supported. Tongxin has established cooperative relations with major domestic mobile chip manufacturers and has completed adaptations using the Linux kernel. Together with the desktop operating system and the server operating system, it constitutes the Tongxin operating system family.[68]

PolyOS Mobile[edit]

PolyOS Mobile is an AI IoT open-source operating system tailored for RISC-V intelligent terminal devices by the PolyOS Project based on OpenHarmony, which was released on August 30, 2023, and is available for QEMU virtualisation on Windows 10 and 11 desktop machines.[69]


LightBeeOS launched on September 28, 2023, is an OpenHarmony-based distro that supports financial level security, with distribution bus by Shenzhen Zhengtong Company used for industrial public banking solutions of systems, tested on ATM machines with UnionPay in Chinese domestic market. The operating system has been launched with OpenHarmony 3.2 support and up.[70]


On January 14, 2023, Red Flag smart supercharger, first launched on OpenHarmony-based KaihongOS with OpenHarmony 3.1 support that supports the distributed soft bus that allows interconnection with other electronic devices and electrical facilities.[71] On January 17, 2023, an electronic class card with 21.5-inch screen developed by Chinasoft and New Cape Electronics.[72] On November 17, 2023, Kaihong Technology and Leju Robot collaborated to release the world's first humanoid robot powered by the open-source OpenHarmony distro KaihongOS with Rockchip SoC hardware using RTOS kernel technology for industrial robotic machines with predictable response times in determinism.[73]

Oniro OS[edit]

Oniro OS
DeveloperVarious (Eclipse Foundation, Huawei, Linaro and others)
Written inArkTS, Rust, JS, C, C++, Assembly language
OS familyOpenHarmony
Working stateIn Development
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseOctober 26, 2021; 2 years ago (2021-10-26)
Latest release4.0 / December 6, 2023; 4 months ago (2023-12-06)
Marketing targetEmbedded systems, Internet of Things, Internet of vehicles, Edge computing, wireless routers, smartphones, tablet computers, smart TVs, smartwatches, smart speakers, personal computers, Laptops, mixed reality headsets, virtual reality headsets, wireless earbuds, wireless headphones, wearable devices, augmented reality headsets, smart printers, Interactive whiteboards, cars, smart homes, enterprise, industry, aerospace, Consumer electronics
Update methodOver-the-air
PlatformsARM, RISC-V, x86, x64 and LoongArch[74]
Kernel typeMultikernel (Kernel subsystem) with Yocto Linux kernel, RTOS Zephyr kernel, FreeRTOS and LiteOS [LiteOS-A (OpenHarmony Lightweight Kernel) & LiteOS-M], add-ons[75] and add-ons
UserlandSystem Service Layer[76]
Influenced byBarrelfish, Webinos, Openmoko Linux, Yocto Project, OpenEmbedded, Linux, freeBSD, BSD, Unix-like, HarmonyOS, openEuler
LicenseEclipse Public License, Apache License
Support status

On September 28, 2021, the Eclipse Foundation and the OpenAtom Foundation announced their intention to form a partnership to collaborate on OpenHarmony European distro which is a global family of operating systems under it and a family of the OpenHarmony operating system.[77]

Oniro OS, also known as Eclipse Oniro Core Platform, is a distributed operating system for AIoT embedded systems launched on October 26, 2021, as Oniro OS 1.0, which is implemented to be compatible with HarmonyOS based on OpenHarmony L0-L2 branch source code, was later launched by the Eclipse Foundation for the global market with the founding members including Huawei, Linaro and Seco among others joined later on. Oniro is designed on the basis of open source and aims to be transparent, vendor-neutral, and independent system in the era of IoT with globalisation and localisation strategies resolving a fragmentated IoT and Embedded devices market.[78][79]

The operating system features a Yocto system of Linux kernel.[80] The goal is to increase the distro with partners that create their own OpenHarmony-Oniro compatible distros that increase interoperability which reduces fragmentation of diverse platforms with diverse set of hardwares with enhancements from derived project back to original project in Upstream development. It is also used for Downstream development by Huawei for commercial use on in-house custom HarmonyOS NEXT stack of HarmonyOS in global and western markets for compatibility and interoperability with connected IoT systems as well as custom third-party support on-device AI features on custom frameworks such as Tensorflow, CUDA and others, alongside native Huawei MindSpore solutions.[81][82][83]

Development tools[edit]

Rust in framework alongside project IP pipeline and profiling, React Native and Kanto in Applications development system on top of OpenHarmony, Servo and Linaro tools in system services, Matter opеn-sourcе, royalty-frее connеctivity standard that aims to unify smart homе dеvicеs and incrеasе thеir compatibility with various platforms and OSGi in driver subsystem, IoTex in swappable kernel development, and Eclipse Theia in integrated development environment to build Oniro OS apps that has interoperability with OpenHarmony based operating systems. Data can be transmitted directly rather than being shared via cloud online, enabling low latency architectures in more secure methods and privacy functions suitable for AIoT and smart home devices integration.[84][85]

In September 2023, Open Mobile Hub (OMH) led by Linux Foundation was formed, as an open-source platform ecosystem that aims to simplify and enhance the development of mobile applications for various platforms, including iOS, Android, and OpenHarmony based Oniro OS alongside, HarmonyOS (NEXT) with greater cross platform and open interoperability in mobile with OMH plugins such as Google APIs, Google Drive, OpenStreetMap alongside Bing Maps, Mapbox, Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, LinkedIn, X and more. Open Mobile Hub platform aims to provide a set of tools and resources to streamline your mobile app development process.[86]

Upstream and Downstream Software Releases[edit]

Oniro project, focus on horizontal platform. Embedded OS with Yocto system, Linux kernel, Zephyr, IP toolchain, maintenance, OTA, blueprints and OpenHarmony. Oniro OS 2.0 was released in 2022 and Oniro OS 3.0 based on OpenHarmony 3.2 LTS in October 2023, alongside latest 4.0 version as of December 6, 2023 on the main branch.[87][88][89]

Software version History
OpenHarmony version Version number Release date API level Main features
3.0 LTS 1.0 September 28, 2021 7 New features and functions for lightweight, small and standard systems
3.1 2.0 2022 8-9 Enhance basic capabilities, system distribution capabilities, system application framework capabilities, and lightweight system capabilities, etc.
3.2 LTS 3.0 October 2023 9 Enhance the basic capabilities of lightweight and standard systems, the framework capabilities of standard system applications, and the application capabilities of standard systems
4.0 4.0 December 6, 2023 10 A large number of ArkTS APIs have been added, and the scope of distributed hardware support has been expanded. React Native Ported.

HarmonyOS NEXT[edit]

HarmonyOS NEXT Architecture

Huawei officially announced the commercial proprietary HarmonyOS NEXT, microkernel-based core distributed operating system for HarmonyOS at Huawei Developer Conference 2023 (HDC) on August 4, 2023, which supports only native APP apps via Ark Compiler with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) Core support. Based on modified OpenHarmony and Oniro OS. HarmonyOS NEXT has the HarmonyOS microkernel at its core and it has no apk compatibility support.[90]

In the long term, as the company builds up the software root in downstream development for both domestic Chinese and global markets, the closed HarmonyOS NEXT customised L0-L2 full branch source code of the OpenHarmony operating system is aimed to replace the current closed-source L3-L5 branch since OpenHarmony 2.2 fork branch with 8GB worth of code up to 4.x with 60% codebase designed with a dual-frame architecture that is compatible with Android with EMUI userland in the multikernel architecture of HarmonyOS from current Linux kernel on phones and tablets, cars, TVs and advanced wearables, alongside lightweight LiteOS kernel on basic wearables and various IoT smart devices. On the same day at HDC 2023, the developer preview version of HarmonyOS NEXT was opened for cooperating enterprise developers to build and test native mobile apps. It will be open to all developers in the first quarter of 2024 according to the official announcement.[91][92][93]

On 18 January 2024, Huawei announced HarmonyOS NEXT Galaxy stable rollout will begin in Q4 2024 based on OpenHarmony 5.0 (API 12) version after OpenHarmony 4.1 (API 11) based Q2 Developer Beta after release of public developer access of HarmonyOS NEXT Developer Preview 1 that has been in the hands of closed cooperative developers partners since August 2023 debut. The new system of HarmonyOS 5 version will replace current HarmonyOS system for commercial Huawei consumer devices that can only run native HarmonyOS apps built for HarmonyOS and OpenHarmony as well as localsation using Oniro OS for downstream development at global level.[94]

Relationship with OpenEuler[edit]

In terms of architecture, OpenHarmony alongside HarmonyOS has close relationship with server-based Multikernel operating system OpenEuler, which is a community edition of EulerOS, as they have implemented the sharing of kernel technology as revealed by Deng Taihua, President of Huawei's Computing Product Line.[95] The sharing is reportedly to be strengthened in the future in the areas of the distributed software bus, system security, device driver framework and new programming language.[96]

Harmony Distributed File System (HMDFS) is a distributed file system designed for large-scale data storage and processing that is also used in openEuler server operating system.

See also[edit]


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