For the past five years, Google has been developing a new operating system, Fuchsia, from the ground up. Starting today, Google’s Fuchsia OS is now being developed more openly, including accepting contributions from the public.
For almost as long as it’s been in development, Fuchsia has been open source, meaning anyone can view and download the necessary source code to build the OS for themselves. In fact, last year, Google quietly launched an official Fuchsia.dev website for the project, teaching developers how best to work on Fuchsia and, to a much lesser extent, how to make Fuchsia apps. All throughout the last four years, however, Fuchsia has been something of a skunkworks project, with Google remaining surprisingly quiet about its purpose.
That changes today, as the company is making something of a splash with Fuchsia on the Google Open Source Blog, opening a call for developers to contribute to the project. In fact, this is the first formal announcement of the Fuchsia operating system’s existence and how Google plans to use it.
Fuchsia is a long-term project to create a general-purpose, open source operating system, and today we are expanding Fuchsia’s open source model to welcome contributions from the public.
Fuchsia is designed to prioritize security, updatability, and performance, and is currently under active development by the Fuchsia team. We have been developing Fuchsia in the open, in our git repository for the last four years. You can browse the repository history at https://fuchsia.googlesource.com to see how Fuchsia has evolved over time. We are laying this foundation from the kernel up to make it easier to create long-lasting, secure products and experiences.
To both support developers and make the Fuchsia development process less skunkworks and more public, Google is opening Fuchsia’s bug tracker to the public. Just like Android and Chromium, Fuchsia now even has public mailing lists for those who want to be aware of major changes. If you want to contribute code, there’s also a formal process to become a member of the Fuchsia project.
More importantly for both interested developers and the general public, Google now has a public roadmap for Fuchsia’s development. On it, we can see the projects that the Fuchsia team is actively undertaking, such as a revamp of the “components” system.
Lastly, to help developers get started with working on Fuchsia OS without needing Fuchsia-compatible hardware such as the original Google Pixelbook, Google has put out a detailed guide to using an official Fuchsia emulator on your Mac or Linux computer.
One concern developers may have with contributing to Fuchsia is that in the past Googlers have referred to Fuchsia as an “experiment” in new technologies for operating systems. Standing in direct contrast to that notion, the Fuchsia.dev website was updated earlier this year to state that Fuchsia is intended to become a full operating system used on real products.
Fuchsia’s goal is to power production devices and products used for business-critical applications. As such, Fuchsia is not a playground for experimental operating system concepts. Instead, the platform roadmap is driven by practical use cases arising from partner and product needs.
Overall, this is a very strong sign of life for the Fuchsia project, putting it one step closer to an eventual launch. For now, though, Google emphasizes that Fuchsia is not yet ready for primetime on a formal product, so don’t go trying to run Fuchsia as your primary OS.
Fuchsia is not ready for general product development or as a development target, but you can clone, compile, and contribute to it.
More on Fuchsia:
- Google certifies Fuchsia OS’s ‘Sapphire’ through Bluetooth SIG
- Fuchsia Friday: ‘Nelson’ and ‘Luis’ may point to 2020 Made by Google devices
- Fuchsia Friday: Google is beginning to ‘dogfood’ test Fuchsia OS
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