What Can We Expect From Fuschia: Google’s New Open Source OS?
It has become normal to hear about a new Linux distro every day and then after giving it a test drive discover that it’s still Linux. We seldom come across new OS kernels and that’s for an obvious reason; they require a lot of work to be created, and even more to maintain and update over the years. Because kernels for OSes require so much work they are expensive to maintain.
The Linux kernel is being developed by thousands of people all over the world who are voluntarily contributing code to either the kernel itself or accompanying modules for hardware or standards related support.
However, irrespective of the sheer amount of work required Google seems to have found sufficient reason to start a new kernel – but they just haven’t made their motivations entirely clear.
Let’s take a quick look at contemporary OSes like Linux, Windows, macOS, and maybe even FreeBSD – we can see a major trend. All of them are based on designs that are a lot older than the hardware they run on. Also, much of the hardware is based on designs that are fairly old as well. We’re not saying that your speedy Core-i7 machine is junk, but that at its core, our computing needs have barely changed in over two decades. All that has changed is how we input data into our computers, and how much data we put..
Google’s new OS, Fuchsia, is based on a new kernel called “Magenta”, based on the LittleKernel which is a tiny kernel intended for apps that require something between a microcontroller and a full OS. It provides certain OS primitives such as threads to enable concurrent and multithreaded processing, but it is still empty with regards to OS features. Of course, LittleKernel cannot try to contend with contemporary OSes but Fuchsia looks to extend the feature set of LittleKernel to that point where it will be a viable general purpose OS
LittleKernel is not UNIX-like or POSIX compliant, i.e. it is not compliant with any other OS. This also implies that Google will have a lot more difficulty restructuring existing Android and ChromeOS code for Fuchsia.
Presently, all we can do is speculate on what Google’s intentions are for Fuchsia, although, they have indicated that they will target both mobile and PC demographics with the new kernel.
By creating a new OS from scratch Google can control many things including: the language that is used for app development and the update process and in turn avoid future lawsuits.
Also, to quote a colleague, “Android has also suffered from staggered updates due to the reliance on both hardware manufacturers and cellphone service providers to push updates. This has withheld important security updates from users of popular devices. It has cost Google reputation, despite their diligence in providing updates for Android.”
Maybe Google will get onto the IoT with Fuchsia as well because Fuchsia can be developed with the deficits of other contemporary OSes in perfect hindsight thereby allowing for an OS that doesn’t share the same flaws with present OSes.
Only time will tell how well Google’s Fuchsia will do its got a lot of big dogs to take on. What do you guys think? Are you excited about Google’s project? Let us know in the comments below.