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Google's not-so-secret new OS
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-02-15 07:54:55

I decided to dig through open source to examine the state of Google's upcoming Andromeda OS. For anyone unfamiliar, Andromeda seems to be the replacement for both Android and Chrome OS (cue endless debates over the semantics of that, and what it all entails). Fuchsia is the actual name of the operating system, while Magenta is the name of the kernel, or more correctly, the microkernel. Many of the architectural design decisions appear to have unsurprisingly been focused on creating a highly scalable platform.

It goes without saying that Google isn't trying to hide Fuchsia. People have clearly discovered that Google is replacing Android's Linux kernel. Still, I thought it would be interesting for people to get a better sense of what the OS actually is. This article is only intended to be an overview of the basics, as far as I can comment reasonably competently. (I certainly never took an operating systems class!)

What excites me the most about Fuchsia and related projects are the people involved. The pedigree here is astonishing - there are quite a few former Be, Palm, and Apple engineers involved. The linked article contains a good higher-level overview, and I do truly believe it's one of the most exciting projects in the operating systems world right now.

What remains to be seen, however, is this: just how serious is this project? The breadth of the project and the people involved seem to suggest this is indeed something quite serious, and all signs point towards it being a future unification and replacement for both Chrome OS and Android, which is quite exciting indeed.

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Once a myth starts spreading.
By oiaohm on 2017-02-15 08:24:16
https://chromeunboxed.com/chrome-...

It was clearly stated direct by google that andromeda is a myth.

https://github.com/Andromeda-OS
Also does not help that a Mac OS clone is called that.
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RE: Once a myth starts spreading.
By Thom_Holwerda on 2017-02-15 09:45:57
> https://chromeunboxed.com/chrome-...

It was clearly stated direct by google that andromeda is a myth.

https://github.com/Andromeda-OS
Also does not help that a Mac OS clone is called that.


This is not relevant, as this is indeed not a merger of Chrome OS and Android, but a new system entirely.
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The reality is the reality.
By oiaohm on 2017-02-15 10:34:19
Andromeda OS as some form of google source code project has been declared non existent by many google staff. So if it not a OS what is it.

https://android.googlesource.com/...

It all starts here read carefully. This is not talking about a different OS.

Andromeda devices require higher performance score.

So Andromeda is Android device designed for Media with optimisations for that role. So its just Android not another OS.


So Andromeda OS is someone reading a source code and making a wild guess and being completely wrong. It was a idea for a marketing tool.

Talking about Fuchsia would be real attempting to work out what that project is up-to.

Its the myth that fuchsia had two kernels.
https://github.com/fuchsia-mirror
Yep it only has one.

What google is building fuchsia for would be worth talking about.

I don't know what happened end of 2016 if there was ways for the media to jump the gun, miss read... They did it all.

So we need them to get back on topic and start looking at the real items not the errors.

Edited 2017-02-15 10:34 UTC
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Comment by henderson101
By henderson101 on 2017-02-15 10:49:32
Given the kinds of people involved, and that Travis has a history of creating his own OS projects, isn't it just possible this is a bit of fun for all of those involved? It's an outlet for their inner geek. A fantasy OS - what would we do if there was no legacy? That type of thing? We might dream of this scenario, but they are capable of creating results. Hey - this is just as likely as any other conspiracy theory.
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Google
By Bill Shooter of Bul on 2017-02-15 16:08:08
Yeah, its Google though. So there might be an exciting project in the works. OK, if that is the case, is this going to have the full support of Google? They're kind of notorious for creating solutions and not really standing behind them. Just take a look at dart or ara, for example.
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No Linux
By birdie on 2017-02-15 17:40:43
I'm really glad they are going away with the Linux kernel. We need something which is easy to maintain, which has a good set of stable APIs/ABIs, and which is more stable and error prone.

Besides the Linux kernel is monolithic, so every part of it can bring it down.
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RE: Comment by henderson101
By Flatland_Spider on 2017-02-15 17:41:14
It could very well be another 20% project from people at Google.

It's a nice dream thought. A Unixy OS with a microkernel that uses native code for it's applications. :) All the promise of Sailfish without the baggage.

However, they really do need to do something about Android and ChromeOS being on different code bases, and they would control the kernel more then they can control the Linux kernel. Stable internal kernel ABI/API for drivers and syscalls that aren't exported as GPL only come to mind as two areas they would be interested in cleaning up. This would also be a good time to clean up the way they do development and move to a more open FOSS OS style of development.

Of course, this could be something totally different, and more of something to standardize Google's OS stack. Google makes a lot of hardware, and Linux isn't exactly built for extreme uptime. You know things like hotswapping kernels, live patching of libs, or self-healing services. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non...))

We'll have to see if it dies on the vine or six months after Google releases it.
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RE: No Linux
By Thom_Holwerda on 2017-02-15 17:49:52
> I'm really glad they are going away with the Linux kernel. We need something which is easy to maintain, which has a good set of stable APIs/ABIs, and which is more stable and error prone.

The Linux kernel is a substantial part of the Android update problem, so I'm not surprised Google is exploring options to leave it behind.
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RE[2]: No Linux
By tidux on 2017-02-15 18:20:39
Eh, they could fix that tomorrow by mandating all device drivers be open source and upstreamed before a device gets official Google Play support. It's not a Linux problem, it's a proprietary software problem.
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RE[3]: No Linux
By kurkosdr on 2017-02-15 20:27:34
> Eh, they could fix that tomorrow by mandating all device drivers be open source and upstreamed before a device gets official Google Play support. It's not a Linux problem, it's a proprietary software problem.

Haha, yeah sure. Google will damage relationships with their most important industry partners just to make your geek fantasy happen and for the vague promise that the community will maintain the drivers of the SoC vendors for free (never mind they didn't do it with Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel and left them to bit rot and eventually removed them), instead of Google working around the GPL as best they can.

Anyway, even if your geek fantasy came true, the SoC vendors would simply withhold the source code, cease providing new drivers and watch Google stay SoC-less and hence hardware-less or having to use the existing proprietary drivers, while giving Tizen newer SoCs and drivers that would drive headlines to the OS.

Most people treat SoC drivers as something that performs some dumb serialization, forgetting they represent a huge part of the R&D containing anything from OpenGL implementation, sound drivers, cleverly tuned WiFi algorithms and part of the wizardy that is the DSP. Even the presence of a competent OpenGL implementation is big enough reason to not open source. Unless your OpenGL implementation is crap and your company's name is Intel, you have no reason to open source it.

Edited 2017-02-15 20:31 UTC
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