Google Fuchsia Operating System Gets its own Developer Website

Google has been developing Fuchsia open source operating system based on Zircon kernel for several years. It’s still unclear what’s the end goal. Will it replace Android or/and Chrome OS, ditching the Linux kernel for Zircon in the process?

We don’t know, and Google claims its an experimental endeavor. Only the future will tell. We’ve had access to the source code since 2016,  but Google has now launched a dedicated developer website for Fuchsia: fuchsia.dev

Fuchsia Documentation

This is year 2019, and Google being a Western company it should not be surprising the first part of the documentation is a Code of Conduct, but there’s also plenty of technical documentation with a glossary, getting started guide, building instructions, an overview of the OS, code samples, and instructions to contribute either by testing or submitting changes to Gerrit.

Fuchsia is strictly a 64-bit operating system at this stage with support for Arm64 and x86-64 ISA only. If you want to test drive Fuchsia on actual hardware, you’ve got a choice of 5 supported targets:

  • Acer Switch Alpha 12 2-in-1 laptop powered by Intel Core-i3/i5/i7 processor
  • HiKey 960 SBC based on HiSilicon Kirin960 octa-core Arm Cortex-A73/A53 processor
  • Official NXP iMX8M EVK (quad-core Cortex-A53)
  • Khadas VIM2 board based on Amlogic S912 octa-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor
  • Various Intel NUC’s
  • Jetway “Toulouse” 4-/6-port network appliance powered by an Intel Skylake Celeron processor

If you don’t own any of those platforms, you could always run Fuchsia in QEMU.

Scenic, the Fuchsia graphics engine
Scenic, the Fuchsia graphics engine

Some of the key block in Fuchsia include:

  • Zircon – The kernel
  • Scenic – The graphics engine
  • Magna – Vulkan graphics driver
  • Escher – Visually based renderer
  • Flutter – UI toolkit

There are also various frameworks, storage and networking stacks, etc… without specific codenames.

Via XDA Developers

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dgp
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dgp

I think if you read between the lines the reasons for developing this is pretty clear. Google want a plan b in place if they ever get into a situation where they can’t use Linux. It’s the same reason they are pushing kotlin so hard.

BigCat
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BigCat

What would be the reason for “They can’t use linux”? They could fork it today if they wanted, why develop an incompatible OS? There are also the BSDs, why waste the time of the limited pool of open source OS programmers with another, incompatible OS?

Given the amount of effort that new OS takes, and Google’s track record of dropping projects on a whim, this new OS initiative has nothing but downsides. Stay away.

Jim St
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Jim St

More likely they “can’t use Java” than Linux being a problem. I don’t know that Oracle will ever figure a way to stop them completely, and a loss of the litigation that is ongoing is more likely to result in a decision to write a check.

Maybe someone can comment on whether they will tailor it to a language to replace Javascript as an implementation language for an application layer in the future in a better way than Linux might work. Of course I’m ignoring whether it would be any more successful to attract support from developers in saying this, that is obviously a huge problem there.

I doubt that any manufacturer will stop supporting Linux in any foreseeable time, even if Google came out with support for this.

theguyuk
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theguyuk

From what I know Fuchsia also runs on both A311 and S905D2. Development boards on both SoC have been made and used.

Note. There is a S905D2 Tomatoe SBC, which from conversations, the sales people, still say will launch.

m][sko
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m][sko

So it is running, but what about drivers,integration?

theguyuk
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theguyuk

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Jean-Vincent Filoche

Which sane opensource developer is going to waste any time on this project driven by money and private interests?
Fushia is just the new born dead project from Google.

mitchell4you
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