Google has removed its open source Zircon-based operating system Fuchsia’s code from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), per 9to5Google.
Google seemingly started working on Fuchsia back in 2016 and in 2019, it was described as one of the company’s experiments around new operating system concepts. The first-generation Nest Hub became the first device to run Fuchsia in May 2021.
Google apparently wants devices running Fuchsia to be able to run apps from other platforms such as Android and Linux. This will theoretically allow Fuchsia to replace other operating systems one day.
We have already heard rumors that Google may have thought about migrating Android and Chrome devices, including its Pixel phones, to Fuchsia, and even Samsung is contributing to its development. A couple of reports have also indicated that future Samsung phones may run Fuchsia.
Google had initially tried running Android using a virtual machine on Fuchsia devices, but that wasn’t necessarily the most efficient way as virtual machines could cause stability issues.
To create a more direct relationship, the company created a project called device/google/fuchsia in public Android code (AOSP) in 2019 that would create builds of the Android Runtime designed for devices running Fuchsia. Work on the project stopped in early 2021 and this week, all code for it was removed from Android.
That code has been replaced with a “TODO” message, which indicates that Google might be working on a replacement. The developer who made the change works on the Starnix project, which has been designed to enable Fuchsia to run apps and libraries that were originally built for Android or Linux natively. This is similar to how Apple M-series-powered Macs run Intel-based apps using dynamic binary translator Rosetta 2.
As we expand the universe of software we wish to run on Fuchsia, we are encountering software that we wish to run on Fuchsia that we do not have the ability to recompile. For example, Android applications contain native code modules that have been compiled for Linux. In order to run this software on Fuchsia, we need to be able to run binaries without modifying them.
The Starnix team currently seems to be working on making Fuchsia compatible with Android and its applications. All of this seems to suggest that Google is actively working to bring Fuchsia to more devices and make it into a general-purpose operating system.