Web: Google Developing new OS that Runs on Everything

August 2016 by: From The Web

Every single operating system developed by Google to date has one thing in common: they're based on the Linux kernel. Chrome OS, Android, Chromecasts, you name it. Linux has powered Google hardware for years.


However, the Linux kernel is not ideal for every situation. Especially in the case of embedded devices like car dashboards or GPS units, full-blown desktop kernels like Linux impact performance and cause other issues. There’s a massive ecosystem of operating systems designed for embedded hardware, and Google may be working on their own.


Enter “Fuchsia.” Google’s own description for it on the project’s GitHub page is simply, “Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System)”. Not very revealing, is it? When you begin to dig deeper into Fuchsia’s documentation, everything starts to make a little more sense.


First, there’s the Magenta kernel based on the ‘LittleKernel’ project. Just like with Linux and Android, the Magenta kernel powers the larger Fuchsia operating system. Magenta is being designed as a competitor to commercial embedded OSes, such as FreeRTOS or ThreadX.


However, Magenta is designed to scale much better, enabling Magenta to work on embedded devices, smartphones, and desktop computers. For this to happen, Magenta improves upon its LittleKernel base by adding first class user-mode support (a necessity for user accounts) and a capability-based security model (which would enable something like Android 6.0’s permissions to work).


But that’s just the kernel; what about the rest of the OS? It looks like Google is using Flutter for the user interface, as well as Dart as the primary programming language. The icing on the cake is Escher, a renderer that supports light diffusion, soft shadows, and other visual effects, with OpenGL or Vulkan under the hood. Shadows and subtle color reflections are a key component of Material Design, so it seems Flutter and Escher could be designed for the Material Design UI in mind.


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Continue Reading: Android Police


Our Take One of the consequences of the ever expanding hardware universe (smartphones, laptops, tablets, wearables, home automation etc.) is the disconnect users face on the software side. While many OEMs try to bridge this gap with partial integration between their desktop and mobile interfaces – it has been the 'old world' wisdom that user hardware and software operate in discreet spaces (i.e. its desktop OR mobile).


However, as usage patterns have evolved to blend the lines of distinction, users now want seamless transition between their hardware – everyone wants an operating system to rule them all. Google is certainly in a good position to bring such a dream to market with its command of the smartphone space through Android, its budding efforts into laptops via Chrome OS and its growing list of hardware offerings.


But could we potentially place too much power in the hands of a provider who gives us the OS of everything? There will be little room for keeping personal data outside this network as our reliance on technology only grows.