Google Fuchsia OS on a Nest Hub

Despite having officially launched earlier this year, there’s still quite a bit of mystery around Google’s next operating system, Fuchsia. To help explain the most important details, two Googlers have shared a video tour and Q&A with much of what you might want to know about Fuchsia OS.

Google has been working on a new operating system, Fuchsia, for over five years now, with the project’s code being freely available to browse, download, and even compile for yourself for the majority of that time. However, Fuchsia was handled very secretively by Google, with very few mentions of it at events like Google I/O, where developers sought to hear more.

Now that Fuchsia has both opened itself to contributions from the public and actually shipped as the new OS for Google’s first-gen Nest Hub devices, Googlers are now permitted to more freely engage with the community of Fuchsia enthusiasts. To that end, Rubber Duck Engineering — a weekly web show hosted by Fuchsia software engineer Adam Barth and Flutter engineer Eric Seidel — was able to record a dedicated episode teaching about the current state of Fuchsia OS.

In the video tour, Barth — who has also been sharing a multitude of insights into the inner workings of Fuchsia on Twitter — starts by showing a stripped-down version of Fuchsia OS running in an emulator, along the way explaining where to find and download the source code yourself and tidbits about important tools like “fx.”

Right off the bat, one of the most interesting things shown is the process of running software on Fuchsia. In the example, Barth runs the command “ls” (used to list files) and shows how Fuchsia resolves where it can get the “ls” program. On the emulated build, “ls” comes from the code you’ve compiled, and to help save time for developers, that code can be easily altered, recompiled, and run again without restarting your Fuchsia emulator.

More interestingly, for the average person, it’s explained that Fuchsia’s software can come from almost anywhere, such as a simple URL. In this way, Fuchsia is likened to a web browser, where it can run software from just about anywhere while also maintaining the utmost security. Instead of installing and uninstalling software, Fuchsia can simply obtain apps on the fly and cache them, clearing space from unused apps as needed.

From there, Seidel and Barth dive into some of the inner workings of various components of Fuchsia and how Google has sought to optimize them. Most of the rest of the video is spent covering a swath of questions from the community, offering insights into things like the connections between Fuchsia and Flutter. The full video tour is absolutely worth a watch if you have even a passing interest in what Fuchsia OS has in store.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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