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Fuchsia : New OS From Google Runs On Virtually Anything

Posted in Google

Fuchsia — According to the GitHub page, “Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System).” Google’s mysterious new Fuchsia OS is based on a completely different kernel known as Magenta. This is a microkernel, which itself is based on a different project called LittleKernel.

However, Magenta is designed to scale much better, enabling Magenta to work on embedded devices, smartphones, and desktop computers. For this to happen, Magenta improves upon its LittleKernel base by adding first class user-mode support (a necessity for user accounts) and a capability-based security model (which would enable something like Android 6.0’s permissions to work).


Google quietly developing a brand new OS and kernel, with support for smartphones and PCs, possibly built with Material Design in mind? The most obvious guess, and the most exciting, is that Google hopes to one day replace Chrome OS and Android with Fuchsia. But perhaps Google will treat Fuchsia like Samsung treats Tizen OS; a lightweight OS used on hardware not suited for full-blown Android. Google’s collection of embedded hardware, such as the OnHub router and Google Home, is growing.

Building something open from scratch gives Google much more freedom to make exactly what it needs. The Linux kernel has been around for about 25 years and is used in all manner of applications. Many developers have contributed code over that time, and as a result it’s a little ungainly. Many of the security exploits found in Android these days are actually faults in the Linux kernel. Google is testing Fuchsia on a variety of devices like Intel NUCs and Acer laptops. There is also support for the Raspberry Pi 3 on the way.

It’s possible Google management isn’t even sure. This could just become another abandoned project before it has a chance to replace anything. Still, some have speculated that Google could see Fuchsia as the next step for Android, Chrome OS, or both. Migrating to a new platform probably means breaking compatibility with existing software (or emulating it in some way), so this is not something to be done lightly. Perhaps Fuchsia is something completely new for Google — a robust full desktop OS alternative to Chrome OS. Whatever Google has planned for Fuchsia, nothing is changing at the moment.

But there is always the possibility that this is simply a Google experiment, and may never see the light of day in a commercial product. Developing an entire kernel and operating system is a massive task, and Google currently seems content to continue using Android, Chrome OS, and their derivatives for their hardware offerings. Stay tuned!

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