We learned in 2016 that Google was working on an entirely new operating system called Fuchsia. Development continues with newfeatures and testing on a variety of form factors spotted regularly. Google has since hired 14-year Apple engineer Bill Stevenson to work on its upcoming OS, and help bring it to market.[…]
It’s not surprising why Google would want someone with that background and experience to bring up Fuchsia. In a LinkedIn post shared yesterday, Stevenson specifically notes “joining Google to help bring a new operating system called Fuchsia to market.”
That’s a serious name Google is adding to the already large Fuchsia team, and the focus on bringing the new operating system to market adds fuel to the fire that Fuchsia is definitely more than just a mere research or vanity project.
So I guess this is a thing that is going to happen, and in the fairly near term. Sigh. Fuchsia depresses me inordinately because, while I have no particular emotional attachment to Android, it was somewhere deep in its core Linux. Because Linux is GPL’d, having a vibrant Linux ecosystem gave us a bunch of almost documentation for a wide range of hardware that was never documented before. Software is lousy documentation, but it’s better than nothing at all.
Before Android we had a bunch of weird little pop up communities that lived and died with the hardware that supported them, which tended to be months rather than years. I’m thinking of things like handhelds.org that was chiefly supported by Linux on the iPaq. With Android there has been a flourishing of third party experiments that parasite on the Android ecosystem like Boot To Gecko and Sailfish, as well as even more esoteric individual projects.
But everything is going to die with Fuchsia, because it’s not like silicon vendors have had a come to Jesus moment in the past decade. They’re not joining hands round the campfire singing the Free Software Song, they’re just doing the minimum they have to do to meet the requirements of the GPL. Give them a BSD licensed kernel and they’re just going to ship closed source drivers. Turns out that freedom is actually slavery after all.