Google's mysterious Fuchsia OS is being tested on the Pixelbook

Google's mysterious Fuchsia OS is being tested on the Pixelbook

Chrome Unboxed was first to report that the new Fuchsia build had been made available to developers, and the blog offers some insights into exactly what Google released.

Way back in August 2016, we began hearing about Google's mysterious new operating system called "Fuchsia". This is all wonderful for Fuchsia, but we still don't have official word from Google on what it plans for this specific platform. It's developed completely in-house, using no Linux kernel and could quite possibly replace both Android and Chrome OS years down the road. Google instead announced Android app compatibility with Chrome OS, rather than an entirely new operating system, leading most to assume that could have killed its Andromeda project.

The "Escher" renderer is written in the Vulkan graphics API, and seems custom-built to run Google's shadow-heavy Material Design interface guidelines. You can make the bootable drive right from your Chromebook, if you're familiar with the internal console. The OS is open source, but with no Linux kernel, there's no GPL components-the OS is licensed under a mix of BSD 3 clause, MIT, and Apache 2.0. So what's it doing running Fuchsia?

Google opting to use the Pixelbook to experiment with the Fuchsia is an interesting move given that the OS has only been associated with wearables and Internet of Things devices in the past.

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The last time we looked at Fuchsia, the system UI was able to be packaged up as an APK and run on top of an Android phone. In fact, Fuchsia's install process doesn't support any ARM-based targets, so it does not now run on a smartphone. It's possible - and likely - Google developers had this project running well before it was discovered in open source code.

The Pixelbook installation process for Fuchsia is definitely unique. It is still unclear why Google is developing the new OS, and which devices it is targeted for, but it could be a start to something big.

For instance, it took Google five years to create Android. If Fuchsia survives the development process and follows a similar path, you can expect it to become a product sometime around 2020.

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