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Take a sneak peek at Google's Android replacement, Fuchsia

Early days yet but check out that silky-smooth UI

By Andrew Orlowski, 9 May 2017

An enthusiast has compiled Google's infant Fuchsia OS and put the toddler through its paces.

The open-source OS is an open secret – anyone can download the platform from Github, and one enthusiast at Hotfix, a repair shop in Texas, has done just that.

When Fuchsia broke cover last August, we noted the project's ambition. The presence of a compositor indicated it was capable of running on more than lightbulbs and routers, although the tiny new Magenta kernel also allows it go there too.

Some pundits have predicted that Google needs a Plan B should it lose its multiyear IP litigation with Oracle, putting Big Red in the position of demanding royalties for Android. Google didn't get a licence to use Java in Android, although to be fair Sun was so busy being a hippy, it never got round to concluding a deal. ("We tried too hard to share," Sun's Scott McNealy reflected later. "I think we got the donate part right, I don't think we got the monetize part right.")

So what's it like? Well, you can see for yourself here, with the compiled binary for Android made by Hotfix's Kyle Bradshaw.

Youtube Video

Armadillo is a demo app that shows off Fuchsia's mock-up UI. It was lashed up using Flutter, a mobile framework popular with prototypers. Flutter is built on Google's Dart, which Google uses for its own in-house apps.

Today the demo app looks like Material Design, but don't read too much into that at this stage: flexibility is the goal. Fuchsia runs on x86-64 hardware and is backward compatible with key Android libraries.

Lead developer Brian Swetland – ex-Be, ex-Danger and formerly Android Kernel Lead for seven years – explained overnight that Fuchsia "is primarily BSD licensed (with some MIT bits like the Magenta kernel, and some third party code generally of the MIT/BSD/Apache2/Zlib varieties)".

You can find the project here and more from Hotfix's Kyle here.

Last year, Google was reported by The Wall Street Journal to be merging Chrome OS and parts of Android to create "Andromeda", one OS to rule them all. We may see more of that at Google I/O imminently.

Or not. ®

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