back to article Google Fuchsia OS eyes non-Linux things

Google’s latest operating system project, Fuchsia, may be largely a mystery, but it reinforces a truth that platform vendors are having, grudgingly, to acknowledge: one operating system does not fit all. For a company which has put so much effort into making Android an OS for all purposes, Google has a remarkable number of …

  1. Dead Parrot

    Horses for courses

    Linux is - or was, at least - a philosophy as much at was an OS: "Here's a problem, how do we fix it?" It shouldn't matter if the OS base is Linux, OSX, Windows 10 (LOL), or the ghost of Symbian.

    Computers work for *us*, don't they?

    I have no idea if Fuchsia will make the grade. But kudos to Google for having a go, we have nothing to fear from originality (unless you work for MS) .

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Horses for courses - POSIX

      Will it be POSIX compliant?

      It might have been that with Google rather than BlackBerry behind it, QNX would have filled the role; after all, its origins were in embedded systems. QNX seems very quiet these days, but BlackBerry OS 10 has some nice features.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Horses for courses - POSIX

        "Will it be POSIX compliant?"

        Yup, that will be an important factor. If it is, then a lot of the 'superstructure' that sits on top of existing kernels can be ported but if it isn't then Google are going to have a lot more work to do.

        At the same time, and with the resources available to them, it makes some sense for Google to try several different OS schemes for themselves, to prove which ones work and which ones don't.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Horses for courses, the Penguin has no ego

      The GNU was the philosophy, Linux was pragmatically licenced under the GPL. It's that pragmatism married to the idealism of the the GPL that has driven a community driven OS into so many hardware platforms, even if it has never received popular success on the user front.

      Declaring one size fits all OSs as failed seems a stretch, with GNU/Linux clearly demonstrating it's successful application across so many platform sizes from Super Computer through Mainframe down to phones and embedded. Maybe it's not a perfect fit in all spaces, but it's worked well enough.

      The Penguin has no ego (it's users, often do though).

      I'm not saying a new OS is a waste of time, but dedicated OSs are limited, both in application and appeal.

      Obviously the current options Google has at it's disposal are not up to the future task of slurp and ad flinging the IOT enabled future has in store for us.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mind your language

    Do they pronounce "Fuchsia" after the eponymous 16th century botanist Leonhart Fuchs - or the English apparently bowdlerised pronunciation - and spelling - as "Fuschia".

    A German friend raised British eye-brows by saying "fuch-sia" in a gardening discussion.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Mind your language

      The last name of Leonhart Fuchs would be pronounced pretty much as "fuks". The name of the color Fuchsia is, according to Wikipdia, spelled somehow different. Such a shame. Btw. "Fuchs" is German for "fox", so there are many fuks in German woods.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mind your language

        "The last name of Leonhart Fuchs would be pronounced pretty much as "fuks"."

        Thank you - a much better phonetic that shows why my German friend raised eye-brows.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mind your language

          Well, more "fooks" than "fuks" by my ear.

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

            Re: Mind your language

            > Well, more "fooks" than "fuks" by my ear.

            May be. Only the phonetic symbols (forgot what they are really called) convey the pronunciation properly (and I am not really sure of that!).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mind your language

            "Well, more "fooks" than "fuks" by my ear."

            May depend on regional accents? My German friend was from Munich and she definitely said it with a short vowel.

  3. Adair

    In the end...

    it's all about control, or, in other words, follow the money.

  4. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    One possibility...

    ... that I can see is that Google are looking to replace the underlying Linux kernel in future (or at least at the possibility), so are starting work on a replacement kernel etc. for Android and ChromeOS to use in future.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will there be

    systemd

    POSIX is sooooo twentieth century.

  6. toplard

    Micro kernel?

    Sounds like micro kernel?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reading tea leaves

    I expect that google wouldn't undertake another platform this late in the game if it thought that it's existing ones filled, or could easily be made to fill, the hole.

    Android has been hugely successful and Google is in may ways a victim of it's own success. It doesn't control it's own platform as a result of forks, platform fragmentation, and major stakeholders that drag their heels at every turn. It has also been the victim of it's cavalier tendencies toward others IP, especially in it's earlier days. It's having to pay lawyers to deal with the hole they dug for themselves in gluing Franken Java on top of Linux during the glory days of YouTube piracy.

    Chrome OS was a transparent ploy to push the market into an all browser, all of the time world. While the Chromebook hardware is pretty good, the fundamental limitations have limited it to the niche it currently fills, mainly running Google apps and web surfing. Despite the Chrome OS teams aggressive cheerleading both inside and outside Google it hasn't been able to push far into the desktop space. If management wants an escape hatch from the hugely popular Android, the door doesn't look like Chrome OS. The Android Java application layer was their last, best attempt to salvage ChromeOS market share, and that's running INTO the fire.

    Fuchsia lets Google reboot Android with a modern kernel and application layer. They can create a playing field without carriers and OEMs dragging their heels on OS patches and upgrades, and without Oracle IP and licensing hassles. They have a good team, and if they can execute they will be in a good position, as they were in with Android, catch market share as people move from Desktops and Laptops to tablets and phones. VR may or may not be the next big thing in general computing, but people aren't going to be lugging laptops around much longer. I just hope they fix the play store this time around, or their going to give the game up to Tim Cook.

  8. DougS Silver badge

    "Reworking Android as radically as necessary..."

    What's this talk about how "old OSses will struggle" to keep pace with stuff like hyper-contextual awareness (whatever the fuck that is) AI-driven search and query, voice and image recognition, and virtual/augmented reality?

    They're talking about replacing the Linux kernel in Android or "radically reworking" it to enable those things, as if there's no way the kernel in current Android could possibly handle that, and also talk about "leaving iOS in the dust" I guess assuming that the iOS Mach kernel can't handle it either - and that Apple will just on their hands and watch it happen.

    The kernel has nothing to do with enabling those things, that's a problem for higher layer software. In fact, pretty much all research into that stuff is running software on either Linux or Windows. They aren't developing special kernels.

    Why is it whenever Wireless Watch articles are posted on the Reg they're filled with meaningless tech buzzwords and an utter misunderstanding of basic technical issues, like the relationship between a kernel and tasks like image recognition? They belong on a puff piece site like Infoworld, not the Reg.

  9. Nathan 6

    Dart?

    Isn't Dart dead for all practical purposes? This whole project seems like another compute science endeavor to create something "better" that will quickly be abandoned by Google once the uptake is not there.

  10. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    To Paraphrase Ballmer

    Applications, applications, applications! Any OS is useless without applications so the key for Fuchsia is can exiting applications run on it without any effort by the developers. If yes, then it has a reasonable chance. If no, then it will be in worse shape than desktop Linux for mass acceptance.

    Linux is the cautionary tale here. It has many useful applications that allow users to do almost all the tasks one can do on 'bloat and OS X. But it has a woeful user acceptance rate.

  11. jillesvangurp

    Developing your own OS kernel is not a business choice to be taken lightly. Just look at the github statistics for the linux kernel to see what you are up against in terms of change happening there.

    The simple fact is that it is pretty hard to compete with linux on features, performance, hardware support, etc. without investing huge amounts of resources. For most companies shipping hardware this does not make sense at all and hasn't for most of this century. Microsoft and Apple seem to be holding out so far maintaining their own kernels at great cost. From a functional perspective it seems to buy them very little other than a walled garden that keeps users in and hardware out. Apple sort of ships their own hardware so it is less of an issue for them since their profit margins are so obscene they can literally budget billions for software development. Microsoft on the other hand has had a hard time getting manufacturers to ship windows on things that are not PCs and needs to recover their R&D expenses through licensing and OEM, and SAAS business models. It seems that on mobile they have all but given up on shipping their own OS and on servers they've been embracing linux as well.

    So from that perspective, Fuchsia having its own kernel doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It needs to be more than a little bit better than Linux to make sense at all for Google or any OEMs. And if it is so shit hot that it's actually worth the trouble, you'll have Linux kernel developers all over whatever it is that makes it so much better to try and emulate whatever that is. There are way more full time linux kernel developers than whatever resources Google is able to allocate to fuchsia kernel development and they've been at it for decades. So, I don't see how Google can carve out a niche here with yet another OS kernel that isn't Linux.

    More likely is that this is yet another Google project in the category of "lets see if it will stick even though it probably won't". Google is quite regularly retiring things that have been announced with lots of press just a few years earlier. The lack of marketing around this means they're not convinced about this themselves yet.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, yes...

    Another OS. But will it run Office. I cant do any work without Office.

    /every consumer ever.

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