Google's potential Android replacement, Fuchsia, now has a developer site

Google's potential Android replacement, Fuchsia, now has a developer site
After having a hand in the disappearance of mobile operating systems like Symbian and BlackBerry, Google wants to insure that even if Android is someday way past its prime, it has another OS waiting in the wings. So Google has built up a team of more than 100 people to help develop Fuchsia OS, another open source platform. According to Android Police, yesterday Google launched a site for developers at Fuchsia.dev.

Fuchsia doesn't use the Linux kernel like the Android and Chrome operating systems. Instead it uses the Zircon microkernel; a microkernel is essentially the smallest amount of software needed to run an operating system. So as you might expect, Fuchsia runs differently than Android. The good news is that the cross-platform Flutter SDK will allow Android developers to quickly port over their apps to Fuchsia.

Last November, the Fuchsia OS added support for Huawei's Kirin 970 chipset and the operating system was successfully loaded on the Honor Play. As cool as this news was, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done and replacing an operating system used on 85% of phones worldwide is not a simple task. Back in 2017, a video surfaced of a phone running a very early build of Fuchsia using a UI designed for the platform called Armadillo. The UI scrolls vertically to reveal open apps. A profile picture, when tapped, gives the user access to "quick settings" like options.


Launching the developers site should help Google spread the word about Fuchsia and allow developers to kick the tires and learn all about the nuts and bolts of the operating system. Whatever Google has in mind for Fuchsia, development continues to move forward. And if Fuchsia does replace Android, having a fully stocked app storefront is going to be important. Stay tuned.

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20 Comments

1. domfonusr

Posts: 1084; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

It is good to see Google moving on to what could well be a much better future in Fuchsia... Linux has, realistically, pretty much run its course, at least as a free, popular, and open-source OS. Google will undoubtedly be making an unceremonious exit from Linux just in time to avoid having to license Android as an official branch of UNIX. I am surprised that they got away with that for so long without being openly challenged - but hey, that's the magic of Linus Torvalds! Whether you think he's the great humanitarian, or the greatest IP thief in the western world, the magic is undeniable!

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7365; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

To say that Linux has run it's course tells me that you definitely don't know what you are talking about. Especially the parts where you mention "avoid having to license Android as an official branch of UNIX.", "surprised that they got away with that for so long without being openly challenged". You really don't know anything about Linux, or anything about the licenses that govern the Linux kernel. Linux still to this day still gives Android or anything that is built around Linux a clear advantage. Especially when any new hardware or SoCs come out, then Linux is the first to see and get support for that new hardware. It's what OEMs test on today. No other kernel today supports as many CPUs, or other hardware compared to Linux. It's why Android grew as fast as it did because OEMs can update and support any new hardware themselves. They don't have to wait for a closed OS to add support for their new hardware. Windows being closed is one of the major reasons why Microsoft Windows failed on mobile. Only a small number of individuals actually have access to Windows source code, and an even smaller number have access to actually add in any new CPU support or hardware in general. It's also why we see hardware arrive on Android first before any Windows devices or iPhones sees it. Btw, Fuchsia is already installed on some of Google's Assistant smart displays. Like Google's Nest Hub. The good thing is Fuchsia is open source. So once again if any hardware OEMs want to start supporting, or testing any new hardware, then they don't have to wait for Google to support their hardware. They can just do it themselves.

19. domfonusr

Posts: 1084; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I know full well the difference between, say a, GNU license or an Apache license, and things like that. I'm not saying that Linux is bad, or that it doesn't work. I know full well the advantages of Linux over many competitors, but what I have been pointing out is the debate going on amongst those who control the IP that Linux is based on. Linus Torvalds essentially ported features from UNIX and C into Linux and C++ without permission from the leadership that oversaw UNIX distribution; now, this is still an ongoing debate as to whether this was an act of piracy or just a humanitarian gesture. It is easily arguable that the development of Linux made computing power far less expensive for the average person, but others argue that this inexpensive alternative, while bringing down the prices of other UNIX distribution, Windows, and other OS's, was essentially based on an act of theft. I am not saying that Linux is bad. I am just saying that there is an ongoing debate, and that many people in power are looking for an opportunity to make money off of the popularity of Android, the most popular OS based on Linux, and Google, by adopting the Apache license for it, has already set it up in such a way that (if you read far enough into an Apache license) they can wall it off, make it closed-source at any time, and just make money off of it by licensing it as a branch of UNIX, just as Apple has done with Mac OS X and iOS (and that was undeniably rightful, seeings they are based on a very BSD-ish version of UNIX contained in the "Darwin" kernel). All I am doing is pointing out the inherent danger and risk that one takes by relying on Linux as the backbone of their operation. That doesn't mean that Linux doesn't get the best hardware support, or that it doesn't get this support first, either. It doesn't mean that Linux is a bad product, either. It only means that there is the strong potential for legal challenges to balloon into a real money machine in Linux's future. The SCO Group and other UNIX developers have been trying to get Linux distributions to license as an official branch of UNIX for decades (and their case only strengthens as Android becomes more ubiquitous and popular), seeings the powers-that-be currently regard Linux as an unofficial port of UNIX. Granted, there have been many cases where the courts have sided with the idea that free UNIX and FreeBSD and other UNIX distributions ought to be freely distributed, the licenses still allow the governing body of UNIX to collect royalties and fees. And these are just a few critical court decisions, and a few orders from the top, from being levied against future Linux users at any given moment...

20. domfonusr

Posts: 1084; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

In any case, Fuchsia, once fully developed, is the key to getting Google out of the danger zone presented by reliance on Linux-based OS's (which would be fine and great if there were no risk of a problem with the governing body of UNIX) simultaneous with the popularity of Android (which increases the chances of a negative ruling against Google and/or Linux in general). Will it be as good as Android, Chrome OS, or Linux in general? I do not know, but Google is banking on it pretty heavily, publicly, and in a hurry.

12. Fred3

Posts: 521; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Both Linux and Oracle had lawsuits against Google. Every sense Google has been secretly working on Fuchsia.

17. sgodsell

Posts: 7365; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Don't count out Linux, especially when no other kernel supports as much hardware as Linux. That's just a plain fact. Plus the Linux support these days is second to none. You want to find Linux developers, no problem? You want to build new hardware and have some OS support it quickly, then look no other than Linux. If you ever used Linux or any of the thousands of distros based on it, then you know what I am saying is 100% true. The problem with Fuchsia is that it's not that it isn't any good. However right now support is limited in comparison to Linux right now, there is no denying that fact. Not to mention limited hardware support. Don't get me wrong I hope Fuchsia is successful.

18. Fred3

Posts: 521; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Yes that's true. What makes Fuchsia OS different from the Linux kernel is the "Magenta or Zircon" kernel which is a few of Android programming languages combined with one of Apples Swift (and from what i herd a new one created by the programmers working on this) but made smaller. From what I read it's basically a better and bigger Android ecosystem compared to Apples.. Kind of what Microsoft was trying to do. A lot of it is still confusing.

2. Rocket

Posts: 654; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Ugly name!

3. vgking9699

Posts: 194; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

There’s no guarantee fuchsia will be open to anyone besides google themselves, it might just be google gaining control like Apple with ios

7. AlienKiss

Posts: 154; Member since: May 21, 2019

That's exactly what I was thinking. I expect Fuggle to turn Android into the same digital prison iOS is. Say bye-bye to digital freedom! Only a fool or a person with zero tech skills would welcome this..

8. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1420; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Fuchsia is still open source, like Android. It's aimed at doing away with a lot of performance limiting additions that Android now has because of building on the Linux kernel and holds it back. It's very likely though that Google will enforce a much stricter set of rules for OEMs if Fuchsia ever gets to a point where it's ready to replace Android to make sure Fuchsia doesn't suffer fragmentation, that updates and security lay with Google and not OEMs anymore and that custom UIs will be minimalized to create a more uniform experience across multiple devices.

16. Eric7779

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 13, 2019

What are those Android Linux performance limitations please?

11. Fred3

Posts: 521; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

If you look deep into it, then you'll see it's nowhere near IOS. It's the same as Android but with more freedom and a smarter echo system. Do some research a little sir.

4. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 137; Member since: May 29, 2019

Whatever end-product comes out of this, visually it cannot be any worse than Android 1.5... The Aero theme on late Windows Mobile devices looked so much better.

15. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1420; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

But unfortunately the hardware at the time couldn't cope with it. It was nice though.

13. BuffaloSouce unregistered

Get lost

5. Sparkxster

Posts: 1228; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Looking forward to fuchsia's release.

10. sgodsell

Posts: 7365; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You can already download it and install it today, if you want. As a matter of fact it's already on Google's Home Hub (smart display), or I should say Google's Nest Hub nowadays.

6. CEDEOTB

Posts: 415; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Just skin it or create an overlay like Android and it'll be a seamless transition.

14. seantn4

Posts: 51; Member since: Dec 11, 2018

I want this, but can only find nonworking demos

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