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Android Google Operating Systems Programming

Google's Not-so-secret New OS (techspecs.blog) 128

According to reports late last year, Google is working on a new operating system called Andromeda. Much about it is still unknown, but according to the documentations Google has provided on its website, it's clear that the Fuchsia is the actual name of the operating system, and the kernel is called Magenta. A tech enthusiast dug around the documentations to share the followings: To my naive eyes, rather than saying Chrome OS is being merged into Android, it looks more like Android and Chrome OS are both being merged into Fuchsia. It's worth noting that these operating systems had previously already begun to merge together to an extent, such as when the Android team worked with the Chrome OS team in order to bring Update Engine to Nougat, which introduced A/B updates to the platform. Google is unsurprisingly bringing up Andromeda on a number of platforms, including the humble Intel NUC. ARM, x86, and MIPS bring-up is exactly what you would expect for an Android successor, and it also seems clear that this platform will run on Intel laptops. My best guess is that Android as an API and runtime will live on as a legacy environment within Andromeda. That's not to say that all development of Android would immediately stop, which seems extremely unlikely. But Google can't push two UI APIs as equal app frameworks over the long term: Mojo is clearly the future. Ah, but what is Mojo? Well it's the new API for writing Andromeda apps, and it comes from Chromium. Mojo was originally created to "extract a common platform out of Chrome's renderer and plugin processes that can support multiple types of sandboxed content."

Google's Not-so-secret New OS

Comments Filter:
  • by Big Hairy Ian ( 1155547 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @10:26AM (#53873267)
    If it gains popularity when will Google pull the plug on this one?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      OUCH !

      At some point Google have to remain committed to marginally- or non-profitable businesses just so they do not lose EVEN MORE respect from developers !

    • Google competence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by emil ( 695 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @12:22PM (#53874197)

      Despite a blinding array of talent that works for the organization, this [slashdot.org] is the architecture for multimedia that they produced:

      Don't start me on Stagefright and Mediaserver, I could rant for 2 or 3 hours non-stop! Seriously, the code over there is crap, and has insane concepts, like aborting the whole mediaserver (and all related media decoding of all other applications running at the same time), when it parses a file with attributes it does not know, instead of skipping the file. We discovered some issues in Stagefright (busy loops, device reboots, mediaserver crashes) quite early, but we never thought about submitting them.

      Google has in no way acknowledged the exceptionally poor design of Android, and there is no evidence that the organization has improved and learned from their management mistakes. How then can they be trusted to produce a new operating system? And why would anyone trust them to produce a secure system that is closed source?

      I don't care if Verizon gives it away. Absolutely not.

      • Re:Google competence (Score:5, Informative)

        by adam.voss ( 1854938 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @01:01PM (#53874581)

        ... to produce a secure system that is closed source?

        It may not make a difference in your argument, but it is worth noting that Fuchsia is currently open source: https://github.com/fuchsia-mir... [github.com].

      • And why would anyone trust them to produce a secure system that is closed source?

        So you are therefore suggesting that Apple's operating system's are not secure because they are not open-source?

        • by emil ( 695 )

          I don't use iOS, and I'm not familiar with their Apple's record on security. However, Google suffered 115 CVEs in 2015 on Stagefright and the Mediaserver. Nexus is a tiny fragment of the Android ecosystem, and most users have 3rd party devices that will never see these completely patched. These flaws are carved in stone in the /system mountpoint, and can never be corrected.

          Apple may not have ideal security, but at least they CAN issue patches on the core OS that will reach the majority of their users. Googl

  • What is an OS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucasnate1 ( 4682951 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @10:27AM (#53873281)

    Why do we refer to a userspace infrastructure/UI API as an OS? Are KDE and GNOME OSes now?

    • It's all marketing, babe! Just look at how bloated "apps" are, and how shitty the performance is. It's pretty bad when an "app" takes up more space and resources than a full-blown desktop application.
    • Re:What is an OS? (Score:4, Informative)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @10:47AM (#53873421) Homepage Journal

      We refer to them as part of an OS. An OS is kernel + userspace. The original author's comment can be explained by his disclaimer at the end that he's not a programmer and may have gotten much of the terminology wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because without userspace infrastructure, this would be called a kernel?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe a virtual machine running on a kernel running on a hypervisor? It's kernels all the way down...

        • by sinij ( 911942 )

          Maybe a virtual machine running on a kernel running on a hypervisor? It's kernels all the way down...

          The real programmers manually load their boot loader that they personally wrote in assembly on every reboot, and like it!

        • by ubrgeek ( 679399 )
          > It's kernels all the way down...

          Nope. It's all ball bearings nowadays.
    • Re:What is an OS? (Score:4, Informative)

      by YukariHirai ( 2674609 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @11:14AM (#53873597)
      While generally a valid complaint about the way people talk about operating systems, the article does mention that they're replacing the Linux kernel here.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Thats right, linux kernel is the whole operating system, and it is being replaced here now. And that is THE news in whole article.

        First time for long time a article really means "new OS" when they write so.

        And yet some idiots want to come and say that things aint so that OS is something else than Linux Kernel.

    • Why do we refer to a userspace infrastructure/UI API as an OS?

      Post-truth.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      If you can't run it on top of Emacs then it must be its own OS.

    • Because we always have. The term "operating system" has always referred to the foundation software on any machine, from the kernel to the standard operating environment.

      Are KDE and GNOME OSes now?

      No, but they can form part of an OS.

  • to what end? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @10:29AM (#53873299)

    Chrome OS and Android are both untrusted, and inherently untrustable OS's. I would never allow one of them to run on any hardware I owned due to Google being a marketing and data harvesting company above all else. That is in their DNA and pervasive in their software which exists to collect as much of your data as possible.

    Merging them into one OS is not going to make that any better.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No it won't, but it reduces costs for Google (good for them), and focuses development efforts on one system. (Good for us.) Maybe this means it will bring real multiuser support to our phones. (Something Android lacks).

      Hopefully the new "OS" will continue to be open source like Android, so that we can update it ourselves when the enviable carriers refuse to update the damn thing.

      Although, I'm wondering about those ChromeOS devices. Alot of school systems bought into those because they were cheap. Is Google

      • If Google stops supporting them, the backlash will be pretty severe.

        Ridiculous. Any chromebook that is updateable can have its OS replaced with Andromeda.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Any chromebook that is updateable can have its OS replaced with Andromeda.

          If the update isn't official, the user will have to enable developer mode to install it. And once the device is in developer mode, its firmware will complain to the effect "OS verification is off; please press Space then Enter to wipe this device and reinstall stock Chrome OS" every time it's turned on.

          • The solution to that is patching the firmware.

            ...yeah, I don't like that either. But it can be done for most Chromebooks [chrx.org] out there (maybe not the ARM Chromebooks right now, though it's hard to imagine it's impossible if it's possible for the IA Chromebooks)

            • Will such a firmware patch void the warranty on the display hinge, the keyboard, and the power jack? I worry about the warranty because I've had to have my current laptop serviced once under warranty to replace the power jack.

              • It shouldn't, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't or that a malevolent hardware manufacturer wouldn't risk trashing their reputation by refusing to honor a warranty when they should...

                I'm a software guy however, not a lawyer. I don't even read EULAs.

    • To what end? That will depend on licensing. If it's not open source, then we will know

    • by hodet ( 620484 )

      May as well add Windows and MacOS/IOS in there as well. Just as bad.

  • Replacing Linux with a home-rolled kernel?

  • The NUC isn't humble (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Just because it's small doesn't mean that it's humble. With i7's and 32G ram they easily out perform the humble mac mini which used to be a new development, throw in a closet and let it run box.

    I'm running ESXi with decent results as well as other home lab experiments. (NVR, etc)

  • Since much of this already exists in Chromium, does that mean that Google is pushing for JavaScript / Progressive Web Apps? You could have lighter installs of application or just links to web apps run. It almost sounds like they're going the Firefox OS route.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Since much of this already exists in Chromium, does that mean that Google is pushing for JavaScript / Progressive Web Apps? You could have lighter installs of application or just links to web apps run. It almost sounds like they're going the Firefox OS route.

      Google has been threatened with serious problems by Oracle with Java. Google was effectively forced to build an alternative with zero Oracle input in it so that, if they had lost the suits, they had a place to go with their products. Now that it looks like Oracle is losing, there's a chance that Java based stuff will survive long term, however the groups that sprung up with alternatives will not be killed for a long time. They now have a chance to kill Java in Google or at least take its crown as the lea

    • I think they're going more for a language/framework agnostic route. ChromeOS was all about web technologies, but I think a sizable impetus around NaCl was that web technologies were always going to be limited and inefficient.

      I don't think NaCl is their long term bet, I just seriously doubt they'll try to get people to write everything in JavaScript. The major issue is that web browsers seem to double in memory requirements every two or three years, and are slower today on modern hardware than they were o

  • I'm old enough to remember when OS's and browsers were completely separate things, and tying them together was something only monopolists did [wikipedia.org].
  • Google has done a wonderful job of obfuscation to the fact that Android and Chrome are Linux distributions not OSes. They both use the Linux kernel and Google's in house Desktop Environment. Does Fuchsia replace the Linux kernel or is it simply a new distribution with yet another Desktop Environment?
  • Can we switch out of ARM please? Let's go with RISC-V or something super open source.

  • "it's clear that the Fuchsia is the actual name of the operating system"

    I have no problems with the color itself, but i don't want to have to either spell or pronounce "Fuchsia" on a regular basis when talking about my phone or looking up stuff about it on the internet. Also Fuchsia seems like a horrible idea for a mascot.

    Either this is a really poor choice, or somebody (possibly me) is misunderstanding what is meant by "actual name of the operating system." (If it's just a code name during development
  • What is Mojo? Well it's the new API for writing Andromeda apps, and it comes from Chromium. Mojo was originally created to "extract a common platform out of Chrome's renderer and plugin processes that can support multiple types of sandboxed content."

    As a former developer of Palm/HP WebOS applications, this statement fills me with dread.

    The WebOS application framework was also called Mojo and forced developers to use (WebKit) HTML, CSS & JavaScript for their entire application. Writing a UI, fine ... but having to write your entire application in JavaScript -- this glorious idea alone caused otherwise decent hardware to be about as powerful as a 286* as soon as you needed to push some heavier math operations (say, for de-/compression).

    Even once WebO

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