Google has begun work on a brand-new open-source operating system called Fuchsia.
From the few details that are publicly available on it on the GitHub code repository, Fuchsia will be completely different from Google’s Android and Chrome operating systems. Fuchsia appears to be targeted at smartphones, high-end PCs featuring fast processors and large amounts of memory, and internet of things devices.
The biggest difference between Google’s existing operating systems and Fuchsia is that the latter will not be based on the Linux kernel. It will instead use a new kernel called Magenta, which according to Google’s description on GitHub, is the “core platform” powering the Fuchsia OS.
Magenta is apparently a midsize kernel based at least partly on Little Kernel, a lightweight operating system designed for use in small, embedded systems with little memory and peripheral support. The technology is positioned as a lightweight alternative to open-source systems like FreeRTOS and ThreatX.
In addition to Little Kernel, Magenta is composed of a set of user space services, libraries for booting and communicating with the hardware and other components. Fuchsia will be a larger operating system built on top of this foundation.
Google declined to comment on the new operating system. But one official speaking on background said it is in its very early stages and one of many open-source projects in which Google is currently involved.
Fuchsia marks a major departure from Linux for Google. Both Android and Chrome are based on the standard Linux kernel on top of which Google has layered several of its own enhancements over the years.
Google has previously noted (download PDF here) that it chose to use Linux as a kernel for Android because of its memory and process management capabilities as well as several other features, including Linux’s security model, shared libraries, driver models and the fact that it is already open source.
Google currently uses Dart for some of its biggest applications, including Google Fiber and AdWords (its massive advertising platform). Flutter is designed to give developers a way to more easily develop, create and deploy mobile apps on Android.