We have written about the Fuchsia operating system several times on our blog. For several years it was spoken of as a strange project, the goals and positioning of which are unknown. Then the situation became clear – Google representatives announced that the OS can be used on a variety of devices.
How many months ago, the specifications of a new device from Google appeared on the network, which indicated that Fuchsia was used as the OS. This device is Google’s updated Nest Hub. The other day the company officially presented both this device and the OS for it. Thus, Google now has three operating systems at once – Android, Chrome and Fuchsia.
What kind of device?
This is a device that was originally called the Google Home Hub. It is equipped with a 7-inch display that can be used to control the company’s digital assistant. The gadget first appeared on the market in 2018.
In 2019, the device was renamed the Nest Hub, but it was still the first generation system. And now it is she, and not second-generation systems like Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, that receives a new “flower” platform as an OS.
Initially, the device was positioned as an element of the Android Things ecosystem. The company then installed the Google Cast Platform on the device, which was based on Linux. Well, now it has been replaced by Fuchsia OS.
This became known some time ago, when several media outlets published the Nest specifications.
If desired, Fuchsia can be compiled from source and installed on another device, which is what the craftsmen do from time to time. But this is not so easy to do, since some systems are protected against unsigned and unauthorized software.
When can Fuchsia be touched?
Soon, Preview Program participants who, of course, have a Nest Hub will be able to do this. Then, within a few months, the platform will be rolled out to other devices. The functionality of the systems will not be affected – most likely, the owners of devices that are not particularly close to IT will not notice the difference. The same functions, the same interface, the same graphic elements, including not boring wallpapers.
Be that as it may, but Google has finally presented its long-term construction. The OS is quite suitable for ordinary users – no special knowledge is required to interact with it. We can assume that now the company is testing its OS in the field, it seems like it is not a beta test, but also not a very large-scale distribution of the system. If all goes well, the company may consider installing Fuchsia on its other devices, which have so far been powered by Cast OS.
“It’s not just phones and computers. In the world of the Internet of Things, the number of devices that require new operating systems and platforms is gradually increasing. I think it is now possible to use different operating systems with different strengths and specializations. Fuchsia is one of those things, so stay tuned, ”said Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s Android and Chrome OS manager.
What are the components of Fuchsia?
The core of the system is Zircon’s own microkernel, not Linux. The microkernel is based on the developments of the LK project, expanding it with support as processesand shared libraries, user level, object handling system and capability-based security model. The developers implemented the drivers as dynamic libraries that run in user space. They are loaded using the devhost process, and controlled by the device manager (devmg, Device Manager). Custom operating system shell, Armadillo, written in the Dart language using the Flutter framework.
In addition, the project team develops:
- framework for building user interfaces Peridot;
- Fargo package manager;
- standard library libc;
- rendering system Escher;
- Vulkan driver Magma;
- Scenic composite manager;
- file systems MinFS, MemFS, ThinFS (FAT in Go language) and Blobfs
- FVM partition manager.
For application development, support for C / C ++, Dart is provided, Rust is also allowed in system components, Go is allowed in the network stack, and Python is used in the language assembly system.
During the boot process, the system manager is used, which activates appmgr to create the initial software environment. In addition, sysmgr is used to form the boot environment, and basemgr is used to configure the user’s environment and organize his login to the system.
The developers also took care of security, for which the “sandbox” is used. In it, new processes cannot access kernel objects, cannot allocate memory, or run code. A namespace system is used to access resources, which defines the available permissions.
Fuchsia OS is a completely open source operating system
The big plus of the operating system is that it is open – the corporation changed the platform’s positioning model in 2020. Accordingly, developers accept patches and commits from everyone. After Fuchsia opened to the community, commits were taken over by a governing board, which included a group of experienced tech executives. The council monitors the progress of the project roadmap and administers custom changes.
But even before the license change, OS development was completely transparent – for four years, anyone could evaluate changes in the project repo.
The developers position the system as secure and upgradeable, positioning it as multi-platform. It can work on PCs, smart TVs, speakers and other gadgets.