This week, a sizable portion of Fuchsia-related code was withdrawn from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), although Google’s two operating systems are still expected to interact with one another.
The Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max are two of the company’s smart displays that run on Fuchsia, Google’s internal operating system. However, based on how it has evolved over the past few years, we are aware that Google has far higher hopes for the Fuchsia project.
The goal to allow some Fuchsia devices to run programs from other operating systems, including Android and Linux, is undoubtedly the most ambitious of them. In theory, this might work! allow an Android phone or Chromebook to be smoothly replaced by a Fuchsia-powered device while maintaining regular operation of existing apps.
One of Google’s initial attempts was to run an entire instance of the Android operating system in a virtual machine. There are a few techniques to accomplish that goal. This is how Android app compatibility is added to Chrome OS and Google Play Games for PC, but there may be some performance issues.
A different route investigated involved a closer connection between Fuchsia and the Android Runtime. According to information discovered in 2019, Google established a project in the open-source Android code (AOSP) to provide releases of the Android Runtime tailored for Fuchsia devices.
In February 2021, work on the device/google/fuchsia Fuchsia project for Android came to a standstill with no updates to the general public. All of the device/google/fuchsia code this week was removed from Android , formally indicating the closure of this particular path.
We have a single TODO notice in its place, indicating that Google may be creating something new in its place. The change’s developer mostly focuses on the Fuchsia Starnix project.
Starnix, which was first released as a proposal in early 2021, aims to allow Fuchsia to run libraries and applications made for Linux or Android natively. To achieve this, Starnix would take the necessary steps to convert the low-level kernel instructions from what the Linux kernel anticipates to what the Fuchsia Zircon kernel anticipates.
Over a year has passed since the Starnix plan was approved and development got under way. Since then, the Fuchsia team has made great strides toward enabling Linux applications to operate on Fuchsia hardware.
In fact, the Fuchsias workstation included a special Starnix shell called briefly available for testing, which allowed users to experiment with the operating system. Notably, this shell was actually a little Android distribution that was integrated into the system rather than just Linux. The ability to use Fuchsia and Starnix’s Android features through the adb command as you would on any other Android smartphone has since taken its place.
Looking ahead, it appears that the Fuchsia Starnix team is committed to gradually bringing Android and its applications into the operating system. Better handling of Android’s init process is requested in One item on Fuchsia’s roadmap.
Another roadmap item from June refers to Google’s aim to properly launch and operate the Clock app in Fuchsia, which may allude to the or perhaps the open source Desk Clock from AOSP. Soon after it was published, this specific item was made private, but we were able to save a snapshot.
All things considered, it is apparent that Google’s Fuchsia team still has intentions to go beyond the smart home and turn Fuchsia into a general-purpose operating system with support for the vast selection of Android apps. It’s still unclear what kinds of devices Google plans to equip with these sophisticated Fuchsia features once they’re finished.