At the core of Google’s operating systems and hardware lies the almighty Linux kernel. The Linux kernel is what has made elaborate operating systems from Google possible for the longest time. It worked great for the earlier generations, but Google doesn’t see it working out for its future.
The Linux kernel proves to be difficult when scaling to embedded devices like car dashboards and GPS units, among other things Google could cook up in the future. The Linux kernel is meant for desktop systems and causes inefficiencies in performance and a variety of other issues in embedded devices. A big ecosystem of operating systems exist for embedded hardware, but Google feels it can do one better and create the next standard of operating systems.
On GitHub Google has posted its latest project, called Fuchsia, which is described simply as: Pink + Purple = Fuchsia (a new Operating System). Confused? We are, too, but once you dive into the documentation, things begin to make a lot more sense. Firstly you have the Magenta kernel that’s based on the LittleKernel project. The Magenta kernel will be the power source for this operating system and is designed to compete with the commercial embedded OSes such as FreeRTOS and ThreadX.
The best part about Magenta is that it’s being designed to scale unlike the other OSes, so it will work great on embedded devices as well as on smartphones and computers. Google is bringing disparate OSes under one roof, creating a universal operating system that could power all kinds of devices.
Peaking out of the mechanics for a bit, we are forced to wonder what Fuchsia could look like, because how often do we bother with how things work as long as they just work, and looking pretty when at it is a plus. Google will use an early-stage open source project called Flutter for the UI along with Dart as the programming language running the show. Google isn’t giving up on Material Design any soon as it will also use Escher, a renderer that supports light diffusion and soft shadows along with OpenGL or Vulkan under the hood. These are some of the key components of material design, so expect Fuchsia to look great.
We can keep speculating as to Google’s endgame for Fuchsia but what we can be certain of is a bright future for it — be it exclusively for Google’s embedded devices such as the Google Home or the OnHub router or for every hardware that comes under the Google ecosystem, including Android and Chrome OS. Whatever it is, it will be well into the future and we’ll be keeping a keen eye on Fuchsia until then.