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Google is Working on a New Operating System Called Fuchsia

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Google has open sourced the at least some of the bits for a new operating system planned for hardware with fast processors and lots of RAM.

Nothing has officially been said about Fuchsia, and its GitHub page briefly describes the new Google project as Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System). Chris McKillop, Product and Engineering Leader at Google, detailed Purple as a “system with high performance graphics, low-latency input, and a beautiful UI” and Pink as a “modular system for developers and users.” The team is made of “a bunch of nerds”, including Brian Swetland and Travis Geiselbrecht, who have worked on Android, BeOS, ChromeOS, DangerOS, iOS, MacOS, QNX, webOS, and other systems in the past.

Fuchsia is not built on top of a Linux kernel as Android is, but rather on Magenta. Swetland described Magenta as a mini-kernel with

97% of drivers and services live in userspace, but the syscall surface provides a wider variety of primitives than just send/recv/exit that a hardcore microkernel design might embrace).

It inherits from LK, which was written in C, but the new surfaces in the Magenta kernel are written in C++ (a restrained, limited C++).

Magenta’s drivers and services are written mostly in C, but some will be rewritten into C++ over time, according to Swetland. Also, anyone would be able to add components written in other languages providing they communicate with the kernel through the existing RPC protocols.

Fuchsia currently runs on Intel Broadwell and Skylake, but it can be enhanced to run on older Intel or even AMD processors. Support for ARM and Raspberry Pi 3 is to be added soon. The OS is made for “modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors” and “non-trivial amounts of RAM,” which made some speculate that it may replace Android some day. Although we asked Google for more details regarding this new operating system, they said Fuchsia is one of many open source projects revolving at Google and it is too early to provide details. But in order to dispel the rumors, they did want to mention that Fuchsia is “NOT at all related to Android or Chrome OS.”

Fuchsia seems to be using the Flutter widget framework for its user interface with rendering done in Escher, a physically-based renderer supporting sophisticated effects such as volumetric shadows, color bleeding, light diffusion and others. These high graphic capabilities and the targeted hardware platforms with fast processors and lots of RAM suggest the OS may be intended for virtual reality headsets if it proves successful.

To help building applications, Fuchsia uses Mojo, which is a “collection of inter-process communication technologies, protocols and a runtime for creating applications and services that are composable while being loosely coupled.” Mojo has bindings for Dart, Go, Java, JavaScript, Python and Rust, according to Pauli Olavi Ojala.

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Community comments

  • Fuchsia, a New OS from Google which is not ready for use

    by Andrew Mezoni /

    • Bad UX and slow

      by Javier Paniza /

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      The team is made of “a bunch of nerds”


      So it will have a horrible user experience

      for “modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors”


      So it will be slow and consume a lot of resources.

    • Re: Bad UX and slow

      by Sam DeSota /

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      A bunch of nerds that built iOS and Mac OS os well as many others. Besides, nerds built every technology interface you use.

      Also, it's not slow. It's designed to take advantage of fast devices, unlike certain embedded OSes that are designed to be on slow devices with little memory. If you used these micro-OSes on your computer they would run very slow because they don't know how to use all the resources.

      Why so negative?

    • Re: Bad UX and slow

      by Javier Paniza /

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      Hi Sam,

      nerds built every technology interface you use


      Unfortunately. Did you read "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum" by Alan Cooper?

      Why so negative?
      To be useful. If I say "Good work guys, go ahead" that is not useful at all. But if I note the negative aspects it can be a door to improvements. Who knows? Maybe they even contract a UX expert.

    • Fuchsia, a New OS from Google which is not ready for use

      by Andrew Mezoni /

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      Questions:
      - When it will be ready for use?
      - Plans and promises about the Dart 2.0 are already empty words?

      So they did not bring to mind the Dart Dev Compiler and threw all their forces for another project?

      For some reason I thought that Google will throw all the forces to develop Dart Dev Compiler, but it turns out that it is now irrelevant (already 33 months in the same VERY EARLY STAGE).

      github.com/dart-lang/dev_compiler/commit/bac4a6...

    • Google is building Dart for their own internal use

      by Andrew Mezoni /

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      I am very interested to know how programmers can use the Dart in this project, if in the mailing list it clear that "Google is building Dart for their own internal use".

      groups.google.com/a/dartlang.org/d/msg/misc/Ikt...

    • Re: Fuchsia, a New OS from Google which is not ready for use

      by L G /

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      Dart Dev Compiler is actively developed and still the top priority of Dart core team, while Fuchsia is a project initiated by another team.

    • Re: Fuchsia, a New OS from Google which is not ready for use

      by Andrew Mezoni /

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      >> Dart Dev Compiler is actively developed and still the top priority of Dart core team, while Fuchsia is a project initiated by another team.

      Actively developed and still the top priority of Dart core team?
      I did not hear right?
      After 33 months of the active development Dart Dev Compiler is at a very early stage today?

      Excuse me, but how many months Dart Core Team need to make the normal (able to work) software product from the actively developed protracted experimental development tool?

      Maybe 133 months instead of 33?

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