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Google's mysterious Fuchsia OS developer version now runs on the PixelBook

12 January 2018

Previously, developers have released Fuchsia's Android-like Armadillo system user interface, but according to the notes, there's now no way to install the OS on ARM-based "targets".

Way back in August 2016, we began hearing about Google's mysterious new operating system called "Fuchsia". Plenty. According to Google itself, Fuchsia is designed for modern smartphones and personal computers. The OS doesn't use the Linux kernel-Fuchsia uses a Google-developed microkernel formerly called "Magenta" and now called "Zircon".

"The "Escher" renderer is written in the Vulkan graphics API", notes ARSTechnica, "and seems custom-built to run Google's shadow-heavy Material Design interface guidelines".

As it stands Chrome OS already allows the running of Android apps, so perhaps Fuchsia could be an evolution of that. The OS is open source, but with no Linux kernel, there's no GPL components-the OS is licensed under a mix of BSD 3 clause, MIT, and Apache 2.0.

Google has put its premium entrant in the Chromebook space, the premium Pixelbook, in the crosshairs as the latest device to be targeted for Fuchsia OS test builds.

You can also run Fuchsia on Android. The main difference is in how the build will boot; many Windows systems use the UEFI bootup and BIOS standard, while Chromebooks use a vBoot system. It's possible - and likely - Google developers had this project running well before it was discovered in open source code. In any case, if you have any of the three devices listed, you can run Fuchsia OS right now.

The Pixelbook installation process for Fuchsia is definitely unique. Detailed by Google, the media creation process is "destructive" to the USB drive, so don't use a USB stick that you're attached to. In any case there's no telling on when Google might share details about the platform, but Google I/O 2018 is taking place later this year so perhaps this is the year Google could finally announce something. Also, there is no clarity on why Google feels the need to build a new operating system, and what devices will it run on.

Check out Chrome Unboxed for more info on this new Fuchsia release, and we'll be on the lookout for further developments.

Google's mysterious Fuchsia OS developer version now runs on the PixelBook