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Google today announced that Fuchsia, its open source operating system, is welcoming contributions from the public. Specifically, that means opening public mailing lists for project discussions, adding a governance model for how strategic decisions are made, posting a technical roadmap, opening an issue tracker, and outlining a process to become a member to submit patches or a committer with full write access.
Fuchsia, which first became publicly available on GitHub in August 2016, is a long-term project to create a general-purpose operating system (repository history). Google rarely talks about Fuchsia — it didn’t bother announcing it, for example. As a result, even though the project is being developed in the open, it’s still notable when the company has news to share.
While Google emphasized that Fuchsia is not ready for production or as a development target, anyone can now clone, compile, and contribute to the project. Fuchsia supports a limited set of x64-based hardware, and you can also test it with the emulator.
Google emphasized today that “Fuchsia is designed to prioritize security, updatability, and performance.” The team is laying this foundation “from the kernel up to make it easier to create long-lasting, secure products and experiences.” As for the technical roadmap, highlights include a driver framework for updating the kernel independently of the drivers, improving file systems for performance, and expanding the input pipeline for accessibility.
Speculation has run high that Fuchsia could replace Android and Chrome OS, as well as power all of Google’s smart home hardware. As I have argued in the past, Fuchsia is an experimental project that Google will borrow from in bits and pieces. That could mean actual code, design concepts, and user interfaces, but more importantly, learnings from building an operating system from scratch. Whatever its ultimate use, you can now join in — download and build the source code by following the getting started guide.
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