Google is working on a number of operating systems for different hardware platforms. Many of its employees use an in-house Linux distro called Goobuntu (recently replaced with Debian-based gLinux), and there’s Android and Chrome OS, of course. A relative newcomer is Fuchsia, a custom-made OS designed for modern PCs and mobile devices. It first appeared on Google’s GitHub repository in 2016, and slowly but surely progressed as Google’s software team fleshed out its features. There have been some major developments in Fuschia as of late, and Ars Technica recently published a video of the OS running on a Google Pixelbook.
It’s an incredibly early version of Fuchsia, and it’s pretty amazing that it boots on the Pixelbook at all — much less recognizes hardware like USB ports, mice, keyboards, touchscreens, and USB Ethernet adapters. In the video Ars Technica published, there’s what appears to be a home screen, a quick settings panel, a Google search bar, Google Feed cards, a web browser, a split-screen mode, a tabbed mode, and much more. Most of the content is filled with placeholders right now, but the walkthrough does a great job of showing how Fuchsia is evolving.
It seems that Google is going for a completely universal operating system, here — one that can run on devices of all sizes, expanding to fit desktop monitors and shrinking to fit smartphone-sized displays. There’s even one feature, likely a developer tool, that lets you switch between Fuschia’s PC interface and smartphone interface, and toggle the phone interface between landscape and portrait mode.
In Fuschia’s current state, you have to load up a bootable USB with Zedboot, a basic bootloader that gets you connected to a network. From there, you can compile Fuchsia on a host machine so that you can send the system files over the network to the computer running Zedboot. Once that’s done, you can boot to the Fuschia welcome screen.
Fuschia definitely isn’t ready for prime time, though. While some of the OS’s features are in a working state, others, including WiFi support, aren’t functional right now. As promising as Google’s new OS is right now, it has a long way to go.
Source: Ars Technica
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