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Fuchsia: Google's new operating system
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-03-31 21:55:51

Fuchsia is a new operating system being built more or less from scratch at Google. The news of the development of Fuchsia made a splash on technology news sites in August 2016, although many details about it are still a mystery. It is an open-source project; development and documentation work is still very much ongoing. Despite the open-source nature of the project, its actual purpose has not yet been revealed by Google. From piecing together information from the online documentation and source code, we can surmise that Fuchsia is a complete operating system for PCs, tablets, and high-end phones.

The source to Fuchsia and all of its components is available to download at its source repository. If you enjoy poking around experimental operating systems, exploring the innards of this one will be fun. Fuchsia consists of a kernel plus user-space components on top that provide libraries and utilities. There are a number of subprojects under the Fuchsia umbrella in the source repository, mainly libraries and toolkits to help create applications. Fuchsia is mostly licensed under a 3-clause BSD license, but the kernel is based on another project called LK (Little Kernel) that is MIT-licensed, so the licensing for the kernel is a mix. Third-party software included in Fuchsia is licensed according to its respective open-source license.

Great overview of what Fuchsia is and what it consists of. Google is really experimenting with some different approaches here. Definitely worth a read - before you comment.

At this point, it's really hard to fathom what Fuchisa's part is in Google's strategy, if at has one at all. It's too big, and involves far too many notable people, to 'just' be a research project, but at the same time, they're literally doing everything from scratch with some radically different ideas here and there, which makes it unlikely that we're going to see it replace Android or whatever any time soon.

My guess? Google is clearly having issues with Android in that it doesn't control the whole stack, causing Google to be at the whim of chip makers to maintain support for the Linux kernel, leading to the massive problems with Android updates we all know and hate. Fuchsia seems to be Google's response to these problems.

I'm not saying Google will replace Android with Fuchsia - I'm saying Fuchsia is the answer to the thought experiment "if we could start over, what would we do differently?"

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