Google’s Fuchsia OS was one of many hardest hit by final week’s layoffs

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An external monitor sits next to a laptop computer.
Enlarge / Google’s Fuchsia OS, circa 2018, operating on a Pixelbook.

Ron Amadeo

Google continues to be reeling from the greatest layoff in firm historical past final Friday. Earlier value cuts over the previous six months have resulted in a number of initiatives being shut down or deprioritized at Google, and it is exhausting to fireside 12,000 individuals with out some extra initiatives taking a success. The New York Instances has a report about which divisions are being hit the toughest, and a giant one is Google’s future OS improvement group, Fuchsia.

Whereas the general firm reduce 6 p.c of its workers, the Instances identified that Fuchsia noticed an outsize 16 p.c of the 400-person workers take a success. Whereas it is not clear what which means for the way forward for the division, the way forward for Fuchsia’s division has by no means actually been clear.

Fuchsia has been a steady thriller inside Google because it first noticed widespread press protection in 2017. Google hardly ever formally talks about it, leaving largely rumors and Github documentation for determining what is going on on. The OS is not a small venture, although—it is not even based mostly on Linux, opting as a substitute to make use of a customized, in-house kernel, so Google actually is constructing a complete OS from scratch. Google truly ships the OS at present to customers in its Nest good shows, the place it changed the older Solid OS. The in-place working system swap was utterly invisible to customers in comparison with the outdated OS, got here with zero advantages, and was by no means formally introduced or promoted. There’s not a lot you are able to do with it on a locked-down good show, so even after delivery, Fuchsia continues to be a thriller.

The most important questions surrounding Fuchsia are: “Why does this exist, and what are its targets?” Is Fuchsia an eventual alternative for Android or Chrome OS? Round 2018, after we first bought Fuchsia operating on a Pixelbook, the supply code documentation for the customized kernel stated it “targets trendy telephones and trendy private computer systems with quick processors,” which actually made it sound like an Android and/or Chrome OS successor being constructed for flagship units. That early codebase additionally included graphical person interfaces for PCs and telephones, additional driving house that this was a shopper OS. After Fuchsia bought some preliminary publicity, it eliminated its public interface code.

2018 additionally noticed a foundational Bloomberg report calling Fuchsia “a successor to Android,” and saying the crew deliberate to launch on good audio system in 2021 (which was spot on) and would later transfer into telephones and laptops in 2023.  Even the identify “Fuchsia” was a reference to Apple initiatives some members of the crew had been concerned with. “Pink” was the codename for a canceled successor to basic Mac OS, and “Purple” was the codename for the iPhone OS. The colour Fuchsia is a mixture of pink and purple, so this all sounded very bold.

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