Google already has two popular operating systems: Android for phones and tablets, and Chrome OS for laptops, desktops, and… some other tablets.

But for the past few years the company has also been working on a new operating system called Fuchsia. Development has been semi-public, with Google publishing the source code online. But now Google has announced that it’s expanding the open source model for Fuchsia.

Now anyone can follow development, read documentation and scan the issue tracker, sign up for a mailing list, set up an emulator, or view a roadmap. And independent developers can also now become a member and submit patches or new features that may be incorporated into the official Fuchsia code. Google Fuchsia logo

While this is a big step for Fuchsia, it’s still not entirely clear what the operating system is actually for. Some have speculated that it could eventually replace Android and Chrome OS. Maybe it’ll run on smart home devices.

What Google says is that it’s a “long-term project to create a general-purpose, open source operating system.”

But the OS could also be useful to Google in the future because it doesn’t rely on a Linux kernel or other technologies that Google has little control over. A new operating system developed from scratch could give Google more leverage in tailoring the OS to offer performance tailored for specific devices (whatever those devices may be).

While Google is now creating a process that allows outsiders to contribute to the project, any code that’s submitted is owned by Google, which then makes it available under a BSD-like license. So Fuchsia is still first and foremost a Google initiative, even though it’s a little more open today than it was yesterday.

The upshot of this new openness though, is that if and when it starts to become clear what Google is actually planning to do with Fuchsia, it’s a little more likely now that someone will figure it out from code commits without waiting for an official announcement from Google.

For now it’s interesting to note that a list of development hardware targets include the Intel-powered hardware like the Acer Switch Alpha 12 tablet computer, an Intel NUC mini-desktop, a Google Pixelbook Chromebook/laptop, and single-board computers with ARM-based processors including the Khadas VIM2, and NXP i.MX8M Evaluation Kit.

via Google Open Source Blog

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  1. My theory is that Google has no intention of developing Fuchsia into a product. I think they’re just using it as a testing environment for their new Zircon kernel. Once they have the Kernel worked out, then they’ll likely transition Android and Chrome OS towards that kernel. Or possibly a hybrid OS of the two (as Google long ago announced they would do some day).

  2. Leeches, that’s what they are!
    Why don’t they open the source for Google Search?
    Open the source for Android used on Chrome OS?

    I believe in the power of open source but Google is just greedy and hope developers contributing to their projects without any incentives realize that.

    1. There are open source versions of Android (AOSP) and ChromeOS (ChromiumOS). This is just a continuation of what they do with those (and chormium/chrome). They have an open source version to lull people into a false sense of cybersecurity and feed them notions that they can just fork it if it does something they don’t like. They develop in a way to make it really easy to inject spyware, then inject spyware (including into the open source version once there’s enough dependency on it, see chromium vs ungoogled-chromium). It’s just that nothing runs Fuchsia yet so they’re probably not too big on the spyware part right now.
      Complaining about this is made socially unacceptable because google is big enough to just make that happen, and meanwhile getting a contribution accepted to a big project with media recognition is great for your portfolio and increases your chance of getting hired by quite a lot.
      So it follows that everyone has to try to contribute to stuff like this to have a chance of getting hired at all (if you’re not gaming certain other parts of the system that also shouldn’t exist but are so entrenched I can’t even talk about them).
      So there are incentives, but it’s still leeching.

      1. Err I know there is AOSP and there is Chromium OS but the version of Android which runs on Chromium OS is not open source. I guess I said the same thing as you did in fewer words?