Google’s operating systems, be it Android, Chromecast or Chrome OS, have always had a common thread in the form of a Linux kernel, but that is about to change. Meet Fuchsia, which Google describes rather cryptically on the GitHub page as “Pink + Purple = Fuchsia (a new OS).”
Despite Linux being the powertrain for Google’s hardware for years, there are situations where the kernel behaves sub-optimal. This particularly takes place in the case of embedded devices, such as car dashboards and GPS units. Embedded hardware works much better with one of the alternative ecosystems out there and Google might be building its very own with Fuchsia.
Looking closer at the OS’s documentation, things start to fall into place. Fuchsia OS relies on the Magenta kernel, which is crafted as a rival to commercial embedded operating system, such as ThreadX or FreeRtos. Magenta, however, has an edge over its aforementioned competitors due to its capability to scale up to desktop computers and smartphones. It does so by sporting first class user-mode support, enabling the creation of user accounts, and a security model which is capability-based, which can allow Android 6.0’s permissions to function properly. More details surface when digging into GitHub’s files: the primary programming language Google uses in Fuchsia is Dart, while the user interface relies on Flutter. Visuals enthusiasts should know that Escher is being put to work for light diffusion, soft shadows, and other visual effects, including Vulkan and OpenGL. As both subtle color reflections and shadows are one of the staples of Material Design, there is a high chance that Escher and Flutter are crafted with the Material Design UI in mind.
The new OS will reportedly play nice with 32-bit and 64-bit ARM CPU’s, alongside 64-bit PC’s. Google’s Travis Geiselbrecht said that “the OS will play nice with the Raspberry Pi 3, as well.” If you find the concept of Google building an entirely new OS from scratch kind of mind boggling, read on. Some speculate that Google already envisions a day when Android and Chrome OS will need a replacement, and Fuchsia could evolve to be exactly that. Another possibility is that Google will take a leaf out of Samsung’s Tizen OS and choose to run Fuchsia on systems that cannot handle the heftier Android. WIth Google’s increased involvement in embedded hardware such as Google Home and OnHub router, Fuchsia could be a product directly targeted at them. Once we get more details on the development of Fuchsia, we will keep you posted. This is it for now, stay tuned for further updates.