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Google Working On New 'Fuchsia' OS (digitaltrends.com) 146

An anonymous reader writes: Google is working on a new operating system dubbed Fuchsia OS for smartphones, computers, and various other devices. The new operating system was spotted in the Git repository, where the description reads: "Pick + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System). Hacker News reports that Travis Geiselbrech, who worked on NewOS, BeOS, Danger, Palm's webOS and iOS, and Brian Swetland, who also worked on BeOS and Android will be involved in this project. Magenta and LK kernel will be powering the operating system. "LK is a kernel designed for small systems typically used in imbedded applications," reads the repository. "On the other hand, Magenta targets modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors, non-trivial amounts of RAM with arbitrary peripherals doing open-ended computation." It's too early to tell exactly what this OS is meant for. Whether it's for an Android and Chrome OS merger or something completely new, it's exciting nonetheless.
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Google Working On New 'Fuchsia' OS

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  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Saturday August 13, 2016 @09:44AM (#52695961) Homepage Journal

    The OS space has really dwindled to just Unix based OS's and Windows of late. You have QNX still in the embedded space and Contiki and FreeRTOS but noting really interesting in general use area for a while. A new kernel could be really interesting. Of course the apps will be the issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Apps might not be an issue. If Google can port the JVM to this thing than most of the Android stack could come along with it, mostly effort free. That would give you Android just hosted on a different kernel. The only things that would not be compatible would be 'native' apps.

      So Google would have a huge library of existing software if that is what is being planned.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        True but then it is just another flavor of Android. You do not even really need to port the JVM. You could write a bytecode to native compiler to created native code.
        The issue with that kind of layer is that you can slow down the development of native apps.
        My guess is that Google is going to try what Microsoft really should do. A unified eco system that spans mobile and the desktop. You bring your phone interface it to a keyboard, mouse, and screen and it becomes a desktop. You interface it to your car and

        • by johanw ( 1001493 )

          > A unified eco system that spans mobile and the desktop.

          Would there really be much demand of that? I'm perfectly happy to keep them separate. I have file sharing on my home network with my phone but that's about it. Most people I hear about such things are windows phone fans who often work in systems administration and don't have a personal life. Most other people don't care.

          Merging with a car could be handy, if carkits would give a usable sound quality (and tracking would not be so bad as with the curr

          • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

            "Would there really be much demand of that?"
            I can see it. Today how many people still buy mini computers or workstations? A workstation today is just a high end PC. Servers are more often then not just PCs. IBM and SUN still sell what used to be called mini computers but they are few and far between.
            When a phone has as much power as modern i7 with a GTX 1080 why would you need a PC?
            BTW if you think that is crazy talk just remember a PC with TB of storage, GB of ram, and Ghz of clock speed would have sounded

            • A troll who went by the handle Scott Nudds vehemently predicted that we would never see a PC with gigabytes of memory. He's not given credit, but I remember and here is the quote [siliconbeat.com]. The internet never forgets.
            • The problem with this scenario is UI. You may make UI libraries that support all the features of the various sized devices with various types of hardware attached (buttons/keyboards/touch screen/trackpad/mouse/multiple screens), but, as Microsoft has found out, app developers in general don't have the time, money, expertise, capability, or hardware to make/adjust the UI to work well on a variety of devices. What works great on a 5" touchscreen phone absolutely fucking sucks on a 27" monitor with a keyboar

              • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

                It is an issue but if you are going to have a tablet version, mobile version, and desktop/laptop versions of a program why not make it one program?

                • Sure, there is nothing technically wrong with making a "universal" application.

                  Even with phones getting more and more memory, apps are getting larger and larger, and universal apps will have a bunch of resources and code not needed for the device it is running on. For example, one of my iOS iPhone+iPad weather apps is over 200Mb.

                  But the main problem will be, apps built with the framework, in general, will be crappy on most devices. They will be developed for one device, now generally a phone, but offered

            • When I was a little kid, I once said I wanted a terabyte floppy disk & a 6 GHz CPU (& was told something similar to that being either never needed or not possible). A terabyte of flash is smaller than a floppy disk, but I still want my 6 GHz CPU. (With air cooling & 85 degrees Fahrenheit ambient, that is.)
              • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

                I am much older than you. I can remember reading about Intel demoing a 100mhz x86. It was cooled by liquid nitrogen. At the time an 8mhz system was really fast and I thought yeah like that will ever get to the average consumer.
                Then I remember when the 68020 came out and it was a real 32-bit cpu. I thought we will never need more than 4GB of ram so we will never need more than a 32 bit CPU. "Frankly I am still not sure we "need" more than 4GB of ram on desktops except that programers have gotten really lazy.

                • Regarding lazy programmers: I have written programs where I used packed bitfields & still ended up needing around 4-8 GB RAM. I was counting how many of something existed & marking them off as they were discovered—enumerating in (much) less space would make it take a lot longer, barring a computational complexity breakthrough (or maybe spending weeks discovering a different special-purpose enumeration method).

                  But for the most part, programs do seem to take up more space than necessary these da

                  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

                    "Regarding lazy programmers: I have written programs where I used packed bitfields & still ended up needing around 4-8 GB RAM."
                    I am betting that was not a game, spreadsheet, or any other typical program...
                    Yes their are tasks that can use huge memory spaces. I speaking about your average users more than STEM users.

          • Google is focusing a lot now on the "next 5 billion", which I guess is basically people in households that make $2000-20000 a year.

            You can easily see how having a smartphone with multiple user accounts coupled with a cheap wireless keyboard and a cheap monitor could make a big difference for a family in that income range.

            • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

              "cheap wireless keyboard and a cheap monitor"
              Or a chomecast hooked to a cheap HD TV or even a USB 3.1 to HDMI converter hooked to a cheap TV?

          • by mlts ( 1038732 )

            I really don't want a unified OS. With the requirements by carriers, device makers, and governments, any cellphone OS will be locked down to keep the user out, while letting in plenty of remote attacks, be it the local country's LEOs, advertisers, or whatnot. I want my desktop OS to remain open, not rendered into some iOS variant where someone else controls my workflow, interaction with apps, ability to use hardware, and physical security of data.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              This is going to be completely open. Unfortunately, it will be MIT licensed, so carriers are free to put in back doors without you knowing it.

            • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

              Carriers are not going to keep power of the OS for much longer. Apple does not give carriers control and more and more people are going contract free and buying a phone. When a user buys the phone they become the customer and not the carrier.
              Unified does not have to be any more closed then a desktop OS is.

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          What exactly about the linux kernel is preventing Android from being that single OS that spans IOT, mobile and the desktop already?

          All I can think of is that the linux driver model counts too heavily on everything being open source. I.e., the kernel interfaces are allowed to change to the point that hardware manufacturers - without the motivation to keep up - don't keep up with kernel changes. That holds Android back, since it either has to stick with an old kernel, or obsolete old hardware faster than ne

          • Isn't the binary driver ABI something that they could resolve by going BSD instead of Linux? Assuming that they ain't license fanatics about Open Source vs 'libre' software?
            • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

              You would not have to even move off of Linux for that. Just write one for Linux and make the source available.

              • Uh, no, that would have to be blessed & endorsed by Linus and co-opted upstream. I believe the Linux team had already considered and declined the idea, for whatever reason
                • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

                  "Uh, no, that would have to be blessed & endorsed by Linus and co-opted upstream."
                  Uh yes. You just have to have your own version of the kernel. It is called forking and as long as you compile with the GPL.
                  Linus just has to bless what goes into his fork of the Kernel.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      I have to agree The OS market has got really boring.
      Back in the old days we had a bunch of OS
      Dos/Windows for the PC
      MacOS (No X) for Apple
      UNIX/Linux for servers (each one designed for different platforms)
      VMS for digital systems servers.
      Z/OS for IBM mainframes
      PrimeOS for prime mainframes...

      Now in 2016 almost all of our OS are based in 1970's or 1980's technology.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        You left out AmigaOS, BeOS, STOS/GEM, RiscOS, and OS/9.
        VMS wasn't for "servers" it was the OS for VAX super mini-computers.

        • by robi5 ( 1261542 )

          and CP/M and MSX and NeXTSTEP and ...

          • NeXTSTEP is now macOS (OS X)
            • It's very different. The only common platform b/w them is x86. NeXTstep lived on the Mot 68k, and towards the end of its life, the HP 9000 and SPARCstations. OS X lived on first the PowerPC, and later moved to x86.
        • Actually, if one bunches all the UNIX like OSs together - be it SVR4, BSD, OSF/1, Linux, Solaris, HP/UX, AIX, Irix, Ultrix, et al, as well as the Windows flavors together, there were still plenty of OS's. RISCos was an UNIX for MIPS workstations that weren't from SGI or DEC

          • OS/2 for both x86 and for a bit, PPC
          • BeOS for PPC, and later x86
          • NeXTstep for first Motorola 68k, and later PA-RISC and SPARC. Yeah, I know it falls in the UNIX category, but its UI was not the Motif/OpenLook/GNOME/CDE/et al, nor was it
      • I have to agree The OS market has got really boring. Back in the old days we had a bunch of OS
        Dos/Windows for the PC
        MacOS (No X) for Apple
        UNIX/Linux for servers (each one designed for different platforms)
        VMS for digital systems servers.
        Z/OS for IBM mainframes
        PrimeOS for prime mainframes...

        Now in 2016 almost all of our OS are based in 1970's or 1980's technology.

        VMS - from the 1970's.

        z/OS - it's still around (and, unlike VMS, not at end-of-life), but it's a descendant of the 1970's MVS, itself a descendant of the 1960's OS/360 MVT.

        (And Prime machines were minicomputers/superminicomputers, not mainframes.)

        • Besides z/OS, IBM still supports z/VSE on the z systems. It's the latest generation of DOS/VSE from the mid-1960s. We see a fair number of organizations still using it. And there's still zVM, which underpins z/OS and zLinux virtualization (the z hypervisor is basically a stripped-down zVM) but can also be used directly as an OS with CMS as the shell.

          And there's IBM's i OS, which is the latest version of the S/38 and OS/400 line. Still widely used.

          Bull still sells and develops GCOS (two different branches, a

    • I particularly would like to see a resurgence of OS research. Things have changed enough in both the hardware and the application landscape since Windows and Linux were designed that I think it would be worthwhile to revisit the questions of what an OS can and should be. But in my view the real problem for the commercial success and/or widespread deployment of a new OS is not so much legacy applications as it is device driver support for the very broad range of devices that are found across the major hardwa

    • The OS space has really dwindled to just Unix based OS's and Windows of late. You have QNX still in the embedded space and Contiki and FreeRTOS but noting really interesting in general use area for a while. A new kernel could be really interesting. Of course the apps will be the issue.

      So is this new OS from a completely different approach from UNIX like OSs as well as Windows OSs? The summary didn't say, and just b'cos Geiselbrech worked on all those other OSs - some of which included UNIX like OSs like webOS and iOS - doesn't automatically mean that the new OS is something completely different - like BeOS or something else.

      Also, is the LK kernel in any way related to the L4 microkernel? Is it a microkernel, or a totally different critter?

    • The OS space has really dwindled to just Unix based OS's and Windows of late. You have QNX still in the embedded space and Contiki and FreeRTOS [...]

      I don't know what the current breakdown is, but 10 years ago, most houses contained more devices that run ITRON than run any other OS. If you had a digital camera, a smart electricity meter, an aircon, a TV, a DVD player, a microwave oven... chances are it ran ITRON.

  • Imagine what would happen if goog put its energy into developing groundbreaking products, instead of tracking, exporting, profiting from users.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      You mean like Google search, Google Now, Google Maps, Google Docs, Android, Android Auto, and Gmail?
      If it stops profiting from it's users it goes out of business and we will be left with Microsoft and Apple.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        every single google product is a tool for tracking its users. Think about it... why do you think they chose to develop Google search, Google Now, Google Maps, Google Docs, Android, Android Auto, and Gmail? because they want to cover all sorts of the parts of somebody's life. soon they'll have google clothes and google pets and google sex toys. ::mind blown::

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          You mean that they want to develop products that make money??? mine blown....
          Funny but I would much rather see ads that target my interests than those that do not.

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

          Or to put it another way, every single google product is a useful service that can be supported by advertising tied to what you're searching for. Obviously, Google is in business to make money - or maybe to be more charitable, to stay in business so that its founders' vision can continue to be realized. Less charitably, well, there have been compromises along the way...

          As a side benefit, though, they've done a lot for the open source movement - if only in promoting the web as the primary platform for appl

          • Re: Goog (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Google cares jack shit about open standards. They don't give 2 flying fucks about OSS except when hey think it can damage a competitor. If they have even a sense their product can succeed, they won't touch OSS or open standards with a 10 foot pool. Hell they'll even REMOVE already built in open standards when they think they can get away with it (see Hangouts and XMPP). I'm happy to see in that case they badly miscalculated.

          • Wow, sorry but you're super ignorant.

            Firstly, go study the history of Microsoft with their IE5 and IE6 browser and the battle Mozilla launched in making everyone aware of closely following standards.
            Microsoft abused their power by developing many proprietary components, but thanks to Mozilla and Opera, they were forced to change with IE7/8.

            For some reason, especially the new hipster kiddies who code for the web with web-apps, they seem to forget who they owe so so much to - primarily Mozilla and Opera for d

            • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

              It's not that Mozilla didn't play an important role in keeping open web standards alive, but Google took it a step farther by building applications with what many would've thought an impossible or impractical level of 'desktop-like' functionality. And doing it with a name that gave the efforts credibility. Not saying that only a multibillion dollar company can do that - but it helps in getting the pointy-heads to take notice. Many companies today standardize on Chrome, when those same companies used to r

    • Re:Goog (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheCreeep ( 794716 ) on Saturday August 13, 2016 @10:19AM (#52696019)

      Imagine what would happen if goog put its energy into developing groundbreaking products, instead of tracking, exporting, profiting from users.

      Their market value would plummet and they would finally be bought by Oracle and dismantled.

    • Just what the fuck should a company do if not profit from its users? Thats the entire point...

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        you can profit without tracking and abusing them.

        • Thats not what you said tho...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fix the typo at least please

  • WebOS was made under a big set of shady dealing. With it designed to trick iTunes to think it was a different model iPod. Causing Apple to fix their iTunes which caused a back and forth fight between the two companies causing WebOS users to be the real victims.
    A big company like Palm advertising iTunes support makes people figure they got some sort of license with Apple. No they just hacked Apple thinking that Apple wouldn't do anything about it.

    • I loved WebOS and I loved that Palm stuck their finger right into Apple's eye. The USB ID shenanigans were small potatoes compared to the crap Apple has pulled.
  • A simple matter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fubarrr ( 884157 ) on Saturday August 13, 2016 @10:15AM (#52696007)
    They want to throw out a Linux kernel outa android and gpl compliance matters with it. Qualcomm already has a unit that writes a HAL midware for it.
  • How to mix colors:

    First, start with at least 2 colors. (NOTE: "pick" is *NOT* a color!)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 13, 2016 @10:53AM (#52696105)

    Rant:

    They have: 1) Chrome OS, which is basically Chrome browser and a few extensions 2) Android, can run Chrome browser aswell 3) Android Wear, a small OS seeking a market.

    Now they've already shown Chrome OS running Android apps, which is the dumbest thing ever, when Android is perfectly capable of running the Chrome browser why would you run a browser under Android under another browser! What is the f-ing point of Chrome OS to an Android user? And to the Chrome OS market (basically schools who want locked down minimal machines), what is the point of Android to them?? Do you think they want their Bejeweled on their school laptops?

    Then we have Android, it is a big win for Google, but doesn't scale to large tablets. It's been held back by the lack of side-by-side apps. FINALLY they're adding multi-window support this month in Android Nougat... like only 4 years after Samsung introduced it on their Note range..

    Big heap? I should be able to consume 90% of memory on a single app if its needed. Yet Big Heap limits me to 512MB on a 3GB tablet.

    Limited stylus support. Samsung did a good job years ago, the only support on generic Android tablets is the mouse handler. If you pull out a stylus on Android, on most non-Samsung devices it looks to the program like a mouse pointer. With no information on when the stylus has been pulled out of the holder, or when its been removed from the screen. Because the software thinks its a mouse.

    Crapware, every device loaded with unwanted surveillance crapware, some of which is yours. Don't ever ask me again if I "Agree" to send Wifi data to Google for a better location calculation, the answer is "Disagree", just like the last 50 times your shitting spyware app asked.

    I have money, I want a powerful Android tablet to upgrade from my Galaxy Note pro 12.2.... if Google can't deliver a decent Android someone else should. Really Apple are the slowest at software development, yet their iPad Pro was out last year and Google can't even keep up with Apple, let alone Samsung. /rant

  • License (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lkcl ( 517947 ) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Saturday August 13, 2016 @11:46AM (#52696243) Homepage

    https://fuchsia.googlesource.c... [googlesource.com]

    the consequences that we've seen from google's failure to use a self-protecting license includes:

    * companies incorporating GPL'd code into Android (particularly video players) and not releasing the source
    * performing DRM or other lock-downs ("Tivoisation") and in the case of qualcomm ending up with 900 million devices that are basically landfill
    * causing confusion in the minds of corporations over the fact that the linux KERNEL (and u-boot) is still GPL'd

    do i need to continue the list? i don't but i believe a reference to mjg59's list is appropriate:
    http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59... [codon.org.uk]

    google seems unable to comprehend the severe detrimental consequences of its actions, and the effects that their decisions have on the rest of the software libre community. i appreciate that they're an advertising company so are required to maximise the effective distribution of devices so that they can thus maximise the number of devices through which they can advertise, but pissing all over the free software community that MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO HAVE A BUSINESS AT ALL is completely unethical, not to mention the detrimental consequences and money that users have to throw away when devices turn out to have major security flaws that the designers CAN'T FIX IN THE FIELD. http://arstechnica.com/securit... [arstechnica.com]

    • Agreed. They could put it into the public as GPL, and as they require a CLA for contributors anyway, they can still do as much tivoisation as they want. That would be eons better than what they are doing now.

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Saturday August 13, 2016 @12:03PM (#52696283)

    I hope they do a better job stewarding this thing than they did with Android. Todays Android is repeating all the same mistakes that Microsoft made with earlier versions of Windows. They gave way too much power to developers, so now Android may be an extremely flexible and powerful mobile OS, but it also requires every user to act as a sysadmin, constantly monitoring resources, manually killing apps, etc etc. Battery life is abysmal, and malware is ripe in the android ecosystem. And that's on top of the myriad landfill android devices which are so breathtakingly shotty that they arn't even fit for purposes as simple as a basic e-reader.

    The fact is, is that you can't trust developers to code properly. Whether by design, lack of competence, or due to time crunches that result in taking short cuts, an OS *must* guard against rogue applications. Google's finally starting to understand that, based on what I'm reading in the release notes for Android 6 and 7, but they still have a ways to go.

    If they don't correct this mistake while creating Fuscia, it won't matter how excitig and awesome it is. It will already have a major uphill battle, competing against established systems, so it will need to be solid right out of the gate just to compete.

    • I hope they do a better job stewarding this thing than they did with Android. Todays Android is repeating all the same mistakes that Microsoft made with earlier versions of Windows.

      I'm not sure what's funnier, the idea that the most popular mobile OS somehow is somehow a failure worth avoiding in the future, or that Microsoft made a mistake by giving people too much power.

      Both statements are absolutely absurd at first glance, and a second glance, realising we're on a pro-open source, pro choice forum the statements seem outright insane.

      • My statements are only insane if you completely ignore the greater context that the mobile industry lives in, which is apparently what you are choosing to do. The way you phrased your comment, I can only assume that you consider it equally absurd that Google put restrictions on their app store in order to reduce the number of malicious applications that were being submitted? Perhaps you should stop using the Google app store and switch to one of the unregulated app stores, which have a 1 in 3 chance of yo

    • They gave way too much power to developers, so now Android may be an extremely flexible and powerful mobile OS, but it also requires every user to act as a sysadmin, constantly monitoring resources, manually killing apps, etc etc. Battery life is abysmal, and malware is ripe in the android ecosystem. And that's on top of the myriad landfill android devices which are so breathtakingly shotty that they arn't even fit for purposes as simple as a basic e-reader.

      An open OS / image will be used by people/organizations to their liking or preferences. This will include everything you mentioned, including the fact that the low entry barriers make the ecosystem affordable to all and sundry.

      When I am in Mumbai, the guy who owns vegetable shop uses a slightly advanced Samsung Note, and the youngsters manning the counters use a cheap entry level Android. Both play videos, and allows most common apps. In other words, they are using the same software, and that's what matt

  • So, in typical Google fashion, rather than fix Android, they just walk away from it like every other Project, and create ANOTHER OS, but this time with a brand new luster of Vulnerabilities.

    What a bunch of arrogant, ADHD children are Google...
    • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Saturday August 13, 2016 @02:03PM (#52696651)

      This has nothing to do with ADHD, and everything to do with the GPL. The GPL is seen as something negative by many companies like google or apple. Apple has rewritten gcc, google is now rewriting linux.

      I am partly a fanboi of linux because of its license.

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        LLVM isn't GCC, isn't inspired by GCC, isn't fully compatible with GCC and uses a completely different design than GCC.

        Any OS that isn't Linux isn't a rewritten Linux...

        Really, is this a troll or are today's /. users this clueless?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          LLVM isn't even an Apple project. It's from the University of Illinois. Apple has been primarily involved with the Clang compiler front-end.

          The University of Illinois release LLVM with the University of Illinois license, which is based of the MIT license. Apple had nothing to do with the choice of license, and probably didn't even know that the project existed until years after its first release.

        • LLVM/Clang may use a different design than GCC, but it appears that one of the reasons apple did it is to give people a GPL free alternative of the GCC compiler.

          And gcc and clang do have many things in common: many of their non standard (as in: not part of the C/C++ ISO standard) language extensions and macros are replicated by the other (either by llvm because initially gcc was the more popular one, now llvm is the more popular one ...).

          Fuchsia IS a rewritten Linux because Linux was THE OS that google work

  • I don't know WHY Google is doing this. That description doesn't sound like it will do anything significantly better than an existing OS. QNX is a Realtime Operating System that also runs on a small hardware footprint, Android and Chromium already scale to mobile devices and desktops, what niche will this Fuschia run in?

  • FOSS drivers is the problem, not the OS. They should sit with all HW makers and find a way to release FOSS drivers for everything while protecting their IP and even standardize interfaces. This problem is what impedes OS research and new OSes. Nothing else.

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