While Google has seldom mentioned Fuchsia OS in public, it is widely believed that the new operating system will soon enough be launched as a replacement for Android and Chrome OS. And just this weekend, Google inched closer to publicly acknowledging Fuchsia OS by quietly opening its developer website for business.
Per the website, Fuchsia is an “open source operating system”, and it clarified that “Fuchsia is not Linux”. “[It is] a modular, capability-based operating system.”
The source documentation page begins with “Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System).” This is still as cryptic as it was when this project was leaked and listed on GitHub.
Overall the Fuchsia.dev website is pretty bare bones right now and contains the basics, including a glossary, Getting Started guide and instructions for building and running apps that run on the operating system. There’s even system documentation on how Fuchsia works.
Currently, the majority of the operating systems in the market, whether they be for mobile, desktop or even embedded solutions are based on either a Unix, Linux or Windows kernel at their core. This includes Windows variants, iOS, macOS, and Android. However, what is unique about Fuchsia is that it is not only open source, but it will not be based on any of these major OS kernels. Instead, the Fuchsia OS will use the new “microkernel” called Zircon.
The Zircon Kernel concept page notes, “The kernel manages a number of different types of Objects. Those which are accessible directly via system calls are C++ classes which implement the Dispatcher interface. These are implemented in kernel/object. Many are self-contained higher-level Objects. Some wrap lower-level lk primitives.”
Zircon was earlier known as the Magenta kernel. Further, the UI of the operating system is based on Flutter, which is “a heavily optimized, mobile-first 2D rendering engine (with excellent support for text)” and a little more than that.
While Google has never confirmed the same, the OS is believed to feature the speculative capability to run legacy applications built on both Android and Chrome OS. According to a report by Forbes, the Fuchsia OS will be “rather diruptive” and will run on anything from “32-bit or 64-bit ARM cores to 64-bit X86 processors”.
Additionally, the only time Google did talk about the Fuchsia OS out in the open was during the I/O 2019, where Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior VP of Android and Chrome insisted that the operating system should not be seen as a replacement to any OS.
During a live recording of The Vergecast, Lockheimer acknowledged that Fuchsia OS is still an experiment. “We’re looking at what a new take on an operating system could be like. And so I know out there people are getting pretty excited saying, ‘Oh this is the new Android,’ or, ‘This is the new Chrome OS’ … Fuchsia is really not about that. Fuchsia is about just pushing the state of the art in terms of operating systems and things that we learn from Fuchsia we can incorporate into other products.”