Fuchsia is an open source capability-based operating system currently being A developed by Google. In contrast to prior Google-developed operating systems such as Chrome OS and Android, which are based on the Linux kernel, Fuchsia is based on a new microkernel called Zircon. The name Zircon refers to the mineral of the same name.The GitHub project suggests Fuchsia can run on many platforms, from embedded systems to smartphones, tablets, and personal computers.

Google Fuchsia remains shrouded in mystery, but the company is slowly beginning to open up about the next-generation operating system, what its purpose is, and what devices it might power. At Google’s I/O developer conference this past week, Android and Chrome chief Hiroshi Lockheimer offered some rare insight into Fuchsia, albeit at a very high level, in front of public audiences.

That being the case, it’s a bit of a surprise that Fuchsia is planned to be able to run apps for Linux and for Android, which is based on Linux.Fuchsia team has been working to bring the Android Runtime to Fuchsia, possibly by making it work directly with the Zircon kernel instead of the Linux kernel. Fuchsia’s Machina project goes in a different direction to support Linux, by running a full Linux OS in a virtual machine.

Features

Fuchsia’s user interface and apps are written with Flutter, a software development kit allowing cross-platform development abilities for Fuchsia, Android and iOS. Flutter produces apps based on Dart, offering apps with high performance that run at 120 frames per second.

Due to the Flutter software development kit offering cross-platform opportunities, users are able to install parts of Fuchsia on Android devices.A special version of Android Runtime for Fuchsia will be developed. It will run on machines with this system from a FAR file, the equivalent of the Android APK.

Fuchsia is based on a new microkernel called Zircon. Zircon is derived from Little Kernel, a small operating system intended for embedded systems. “Little Kernel” was developed by Travis Geiselbrecht, a creator of the NewOS kernel used by Haiku.

Cut to the chase

  1. What is it? An Android-meets-Chrome, multi-device operating system
  2. When is it out? An early form is available on the Google Pixelbook now
  3. What will it cost? Likely nothing, as is with Android and Chrome
  4. Performance

    The only question that remains is performance. Thus far, we’ve all been thinking about Fuchsia as an operating system that can be used on traditional computers, smartphones, tablets, and IoT devices, though Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer suggested Fuchsia may not necessarily be for phones.

    That being said, running a Linux or Android virtual machine on a smartphone seems like overkill even with some of today’s hardware. To have a better idea of how well Fuchsia may be able to perform with Android and Linux apps, we’ll need to keep an eye on Chrome OS’s Crostini and ARCVM as they continue to develop.