Ahead of these layoffs, Fuchsia appeared to be on an upward trajectory within Google. After years of being a skunkworks project, the company’s from-scratch operating system has grown to be used in the Nest Hub series and is poised to be used in an upcoming device. There are even indications of Google ramping up Fuchsia development internally in recent months. Considering Google’s overall workforce is set to be reduced by around 6%, the Fuchsia team appears to have been targeted more directly by the layoffs than other divisions. It’s not yet clear what this may mean for the project going forward. It doesn’t seem like a good idea to heavily cut the workforce of a team building a brand new operating system from scratch that you’ve only just started putting in consumers’ hands, but what do I know?
Google is working on upgrading its Nest Audio smart speaker to run on the company’s own Fuchsia operating system. For the last few years, Google has been steadily working on switching its Nest Hub smart displays from running on “Cast OS” to the company’s in-house OS, Fuchsia. The original Nest Hub was the first to make the jump in 2021, and the Nest Hub Max made a similar move earlier this year. In all likelihood, the Nest Hub 2nd Gen should get its Fuchsia update soon too. The slow, deliberate, and calculated rollout of Fuchsia continues.
This week, the Fuchsia team shared a new proposal titled “ADB on Fuchsia” that shares the team’s intention to support ADB for controlling devices and the reasoning behind wanting to do so. At present, the core “fx” and “ffx” tools used to control Fuchsia devices are only compatible with Linux and macOS computers. And while there’s an effort to get ffx running on Windows, that’s not projected to be completed until the end of 2022. Sadly, ADB for Fuchsia won’t work for consumer Fuchsia devices, such as the Nest Hubs, since Goolgle states that it will only be available during early development phases of Fuchsia devices.
Work on this Fuchsia project within Android — dubbed “device/google/fuchsia” — stalled in February 2021, with no public indication of how things were progressing. This week, all of the code for “device/google/fuchsia” was removed from Android, formally signaling the end of this particular avenue. In its place, we have a lone “TODO” message, suggesting that Google may be building up something new in its place. The developer responsible for the change primarily works on Fuchsia’s “Starnix” project. First shared in early 2021 as a proposal, Starnix is designed to make it possible for Fuchsia to “natively” run apps and libraries that were built for Linux or Android. To do this, Starnix would act to translate the low-level kernel instructions from what Linux expects to what Fuchsia’s Zircon kernel expects. Fuchsia is still very much in flux, and stuff like this further illustrates that while I firmly believe it’s the future of Google’s consumer operating system efforts, it’s still got a long way to go.
Roughly a year after launching on the original Nest Hub, Google is making the Fuchsia operating system available for the Nest Hub Max. For over five years now, Google has been quietly toiling away on Fuchsia, an operating system intended to replace and/or compete with Linux. While many Google fans were hoping that Fuchsia’s launch would be a splashy one, like that of Android in 2008, the real launch was nearly as quiet as the development itself. The slow, steady march to replace every operating system on consumer Google devices with Fuchsia continues.
Alexander Popov, Linux kernel developer and security researcher, takes a very detailed look at Fuchsia and its kernel. Fuchsia is a general-purpose open-source operating system created by Google. It is based on the Zircon microkernel written in C++ and is currently under active development. The developers say that Fuchsia is designed with a focus on security, updatability, and performance. As a Linux kernel hacker, I decided to take a look at Fuchsia OS and assess it from the attacker’s point of view. This article describes my experiments. This is a long, detailed account of his findings, much of which goes over my head – but probably not over the heads of many of you.
Workstation (workstation) is an open source reference design for Fuchsia. Workstation is not a consumer-oriented product. Workstation is a tool for developers and enthusiasts to explore Fuchsia and experiment with evolving concepts and features. Workstation is one of the many “product configurations” Fuchsia can be set up with, and it targets both the Fuchsia emulator as well as an Intel NUC – so real hardware. This configuration’s goal is to be “a basis for a general purpose development environment, good for working on UI, media and many other high-level features. This is also the best environment for enthusiasts to play with and explore.” They’re emphasizing this is not some ploy to desktop dominance, but there’s no denying that with every step Fuchsia takes – from shipping it on Google Home devices to porting and running Chrome – they’re getting it ready for more than just some IoT project.
This document is a high level overview of the Fuchsia Interface Definition Language (FIDL), which is the language used to describe interprocess communication (IPC) protocols used by programs running on Fuchsia. This overview introduces the concepts behind FIDL — developers familiar with these concepts already can start writing code by following the tutorials, or dive deeper by reading the language or bindings references. Some light reading going into the weekend. Knowing how Fuchsia works might become quite important for developers over the coming years.
There are many interesting things to discuss about Fuchsia. In this article, you will get a taste of how Fuchsia OS works through a deep dive into some of its core features. We’ll also run the Fuchsia emulator on our systems and try running some example components on it. A great resource if you’re considering getting started with Fuchsia.