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posted by charon on Thursday February 16, @01:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the more-data-to-not-be-evil-with dept.

TechSpecs Blog ponders:

I decided to dig through open source to examine the state of Google's upcoming Andromeda OS. For anyone unfamiliar, Andromeda seems to be the replacement for both Android and Chrome OS (cue endless debates over the semantics of that, and what it all entails). Fuchsia is the actual name of the operating system, while Magenta is the name of the kernel, or more correctly, the microkernel. Many of the architectural design decisions appear to have unsurprisingly been focused on creating a highly scalable platform.

It goes without saying that Google isn't trying to hide Fuchsia. People have clearly discovered that Google is replacing Android's Linux kernel. Still, I thought it would be interesting for people to get a better sense of what the OS actually is. This article is only intended to be an overview of the basics, as far as I can comment reasonably competently. (I certainly never took an operating systems class!)

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.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bob_super on Thursday February 16, @01:56AM

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday February 16, @01:56AM (#467688)

    Sure, you can bring a new OS to take over the world. Three things:
      - Security. From day 1
      - Easy to get executables for it (compatibility layers or well-fed app store)
      - Don't you [bleep]ing expect all form factors to use the same interface.

    Good luck.

    PS: if you fail, you have to fix all the Android fragmentation and security issues. If you succeed, you still have to fix all the Android security issues.
    PPS: Don't bake the spyware in.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @02:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @02:57AM (#467695)

      Don't want the spyware? Here's the cleaned version.

      begin 644 andromeda-sans-spyware
      `
      end

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Thursday February 16, @03:04AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 16, @03:04AM (#467698) Journal

      I don't think that Android is any less "secure" than Linux. The problem with Android is, who "owns" the device, and thus the OS. If your telco "owns" the device, and lets you use it for a fee, then the OS can be considered at least moderately secure, from their point of view. Relatively few of us actually root our phones, to take real ownership of the phone. Most phones continue to report statistics back to the telco and/or the manufacturer for all of their useful lives. That's pretty "secure" from their point of view. If other apps gain root, and report the user's data to third parties, that is inconsequential to the telco.

      The business model needs to change, before end users can consider their phones to be secure. I'm not an Apple fan, but those people have a much better perspective on security than the Android crowd does. The end user owns the phone, if they agree to stay inside the garden. He still owns the phone, if he goes outside the garden, but there are consequences for wandering around outside. Still, the phone stays pretty secure.

      --
      This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @02:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @02:03PM (#467778)
        The end user owns the phone?! Don't make me laugh. Apple has always truly owned the phone, just as much if not more than any Android phone is owned by its manufacturer or telco.
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 17, @04:19PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17, @04:19PM (#468250) Journal

          I gave your post a little thought, off and on. Didn't Apple tell Big Brother to take a leap, because they couldn't break into a phone? At the least, Apple respects your ownership of a phone enough to refuse to be a party to spying on you. Apple's phone, or your phone? Whichever, it's a better deal than you're going to get on the average smart phone.

          --
          This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
    • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by captain normal on Thursday February 16, @04:07AM

      by captain normal (2205) on Thursday February 16, @04:07AM (#467712)

      Why, oh why would Google host a new OS on Github?

    • (Score: 2) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Thursday February 16, @04:59AM

      by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <axehandleNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 16, @04:59AM (#467719)

      Sure, you can bring a new OS to take over the world. Three things:
          - Security. From day 1
          - Easy to get executables for it (compatibility layers or well-fed app store)
          - Don't you [bleep]ing expect all form factors to use the same interface.

        - Root access without having to do more than either login as root or su as a user
        - Any GNU/Linux (or BSD) software that works on my Atom netbook works on Fuschia

      --
      It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @07:48AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @07:48AM (#467739)

        - An OS completely free from proprietary blobs. In other words, freedom (and likely security) from day 1.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @08:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @08:47PM (#467950)

      It also helps if you give it ample targets for pejorative nicknames. I think that fucksya is rather appropriate given the company.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @11:59AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @11:59AM (#467755)

    What is gained by dropping linux and replacing it with something else?

    And why the merge with ChromeOS? Are there actually people out there using ChromeOS?

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Thursday February 16, @02:30PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 16, @02:30PM (#467791)

      Just Chromebooks as far as i know.

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @03:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, @03:02PM (#467806)

      Duh.

      • (Score: 1) by andersjm on Thursday February 16, @05:14PM

        by andersjm (3931) on Thursday February 16, @05:14PM (#467878)

        So what is the license? Presumably you found out, so why not tell the rest of us?

        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday February 16, @07:37PM

          by HiThere (866) on Thursday February 16, @07:37PM (#467922)

          They do seem to be rather shy about specifying the license. You may need to download the source to find out what it is, as I didn't see anything while around the site. A short google search reports "License, Various, including Revised BSD, MIT and Apache 2. ", so perhaps there's no consistent license.

          --
          Put not your faith in princes.
          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by andersjm on Thursday February 16, @08:25PM

            by andersjm (3931) on Thursday February 16, @08:25PM (#467943)

            That's a bit scary. If the "various licenses" are for libraries used by Andromeda and not Andromeda itself, it could be that there is no license at all. And that doesn't mean a free-for-all: If there's no license then they haven't granted the public license to do anything, and that means they could at any time sue anyone who's using their code for copyright violation.

            I'm not going near that code with a 1.5m pole.

            • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 17, @04:22PM

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 17, @04:22PM (#468253) Journal

              Don't worry, you don't need a license if you just drive it on your own property. If you cross the highway, just get off and push.

              --
              This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by butthurt on Friday February 17, @02:58AM

            by butthurt (6141) on Friday February 17, @02:58AM (#468056) Journal

            The Magenta Kernel (kernel/...) is under the MIT License, a copy of which
            may be found in kernel/LICENSE

            The Magenta System (system/...) and Bootloader (bootloader/...) are under the
            BSD License, a copy of which may be found in system/LICENSE

            The Third Party Components (third_party/...) are under various licenses
            (of the BSD, MIT, or Zlib style), which may be found in the root directory
            of each component, respectively.

            -- https://github.com/fuchsia-mirror/magenta/blob/4e0dd124b4e5f512b733bbbe517c028f1d3ecf05/LICENSE [github.com]

    • (Score: 2) by joshuajon on Thursday February 16, @03:40PM

      by joshuajon (807) on Thursday February 16, @03:40PM (#467826)

      I understand chromebooks are pretty popular in the k-12 market.

    • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Thursday February 16, @08:05PM

      by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Thursday February 16, @08:05PM (#467931) Journal

      Well, yes. I use a chromebook -- Asus Chromebook Flip; the best ARM netbook I know of. I was thinking of blowing away ChromeOS completely, but initially set up Crouton (a chroot-based heap of scripts and what-not to run Debian, Ubuntu, etc. alongside ChromeOS) and was won over by the convenience of that combination; I have ChromeOS on one hand for the 2/3 (or more) of time I'm in a web browser or ssh terminal, and an X server on the second virtual console for everything else.

      I'm not real concerned with Google spying on me, because even if I had nuked ChromeOS, I would still be running Chrome or Chromium, still using GMail, etc.; this computer was always going to be pre-compromised in the name of convenience. (I have other computers that I'm less tolerant of spyware on, but this one's not meant for serious business.)

      FWIW, I don't think I'll be interested in this successor OS; ChromeOS iis only handy because of the ease of running normal Linux distros alongside, and I don't expect that will be a priority for Andromeda.

    • (Score: 2) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Thursday February 16, @09:56PM

      by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <axehandleNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 16, @09:56PM (#467978)

      What is gained by dropping linux and replacing it with something else?

      Either:
                (1) the work and headaches involved in developing a new OS to ease NIH syndrome;
      or
                (2) the work and headaches involved in developing a new OS to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.

      Are there actually people out there using ChromeOS?

      I suppose there are, but I don't know them.

      --
      It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.