Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th May 2017 17:05 UTC
Google

Ars Technica has an article with screenshots about a new development in Fuchsia, Google's research (maybe?) operating system. The project has a very basic and barebones graphical user interface now.

The home screen is a giant vertically scrolling list. In the center you'll see a (placeholder) profile picture, the date, a city name, and a battery icon. Above the are "Story" cards - basically Recent Apps - and below it is a scrolling list of suggestions, sort of like a Google Now placeholder. Leave the main screen and you'll see a Fuchsia "home" button pop up on the bottom of the screen, which is just a single white circle.

The GUI is called Armadillo, and Hotfixit.net has instructions on how to build it, and a video of it in action.

Google still hasn't said anything about Fuchsia's purpose or intended goal, but Travis Geiselbrecht did state in IRC that it isn't a toy, and it isn't a 20% project. At this point, the safest bet is to just call it a research operating system, but of course, it's exciting to imagine this brand new open source operating system having a bigger role to play.

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oiaohm
Member since:
2009-05-30

I think you are underestimating the influence that google has.

Google > manufacturer > hobby os dev/lone coder working in basement.

All google has to do is brand fuchsia as an android upgrade and as long as they don't commit any microsoftian blunders they'll easily be able to get hundreds of millions of users on board.


You are presuming a few key problems.
1) that google is not going to stuff it up.
2) the cost of the drivers in the Linux kernel.

100 million users for sure might be worth it. You are talking a few billion dollars to replace what the Linux kernel provides in hardware support.

Look, I'm well aware of the difficulties caused by proprietary drivers, you are right about the problem and I'll stand right there with you in advocating for more accessibility.


This will be a very hard for a lot of people to hear.

Hardware vendors are very happy with the Linux breaking their closed source drivers all the time. This means the OEM vendor has to pay the hardware vendor every time they want top update.

If Fuchsia has a stable driver ABI with stable drivers this means hardware vendors make less cash.

You are aware of difficulties caused with proprietary drivers you are not aware that the ones that release their drivers open source Fuchsia will have not trouble getting the ones that keep there drivers closed source are not interested in a stable driver ABI as this will mean less income for them.

So Fuchsia design equals head to head with hardware vendors.

Microsoft end up with Windows phone being restricted to a single hardware vendor and Fuchsia could face the same problem.

Having the Fuchsia kernel MIT license I see it only a matter of time until a hardware vendor makes a customised version so creating unstable driver ABI all over again because that is a feature they want.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

oiaohm,

You are presuming a few key problems.
1) that google is not going to stuff it up.
2) the cost of the drivers in the Linux kernel.

100 million users for sure might be worth it. You are talking a few billion dollars to replace what the Linux kernel provides in hardware support.


1) that's what I meant by "microsoftian blunders".

2) it's likely a non-issue because google/manufacturers would only need to support the hardware they actually plan on shipping, not every single device supported by linux.

I'd agree with you there's no real money in supporting hardware you don't sell. This is especially tough on indy OS developers, who don't sell any hardware, yet are chastised when it doesn't work ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

2) it's likely a non-issue because google/manufacturers would only need to support the hardware they actually plan on shipping, not every single device supported by linux.

Soc chips are more than 1 vendors parts in most cases.

So you are never dealing with a single manufacturers with SOC chips in most cases. Linux kernel GPLv2 creating a common pool of shared drivers from those who reverse on those who don't release is a interesting effect.

I'd agree with you there's no real money in supporting hardware you don't sell.

The Linux world does it run Linux motto means the Linux kernel runs with old ball hardware include hardware like playstation 4 where the vendor totally does not want Linux there.

So there are a few odd things about Linux kernel that has made it such a great choice.

MIT license you are not going to have the culture the Linux world has. Yes the very culture of wanting drivers open source is the very reason why Linux supports so many different soc chips and vendors who have used third party options have a reasonable time.

So the very thing that makes Linux world argue with closed source drivers is the very thing that give Linux cost effective SoC chip support.

If you cannot make your hardware work right because 1 driver is missing is a brick.

The billions in cost in drivers happens as soon as you want to support a pack of soc chips like the current android phone is. Windows Phone that is a restricted soc list in is over 100 million in driver development.

So basically your arguments still don't stack up.

The scary part is the few billion in Linux kernel development could explode out to a few trillion if each OEM/hardware vendor makes their drivers uniquely for the SOC chips used in mobile phones.

The idea that each hardware vendor individually can write the drivers for their hardware is in fact unworkable.

Understanding the driver side means you understand how much of a up hill battle Fuchsia is in for.

Note it would be a different matter if we were seeing ARM or other major IP block providers taking a direct interest in Fuchsia. Please do note you see Arm, Intel... and other core IP block vendors taking part in Linux kernel development. You even have documented cases of the major IP block vendors directly working with Microsoft and Apple.

Fuchsia without the hardware IP block vendors is possible dead man walking. Can google win those vendors over? That is the question. No matter how good the OS if you have not won the IP block vendors over its in for a hard and costly development process.

Reply Parent Score: 2