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Google’s Fuchsia OS was one of the hardest hit by last week’s layoffs

Enlarge / Google’s Fuchsia OS, circa 2018, working on a Pixelbook.

Ron Amadeo

Google remains to be reeling from the largest layoff in firm historical past final Friday. Earlier price cuts over the previous six months have resulted in a number of initiatives being shut down or deprioritized at Google, and it is arduous to fireside 12,000 individuals with out some further initiatives taking a success. The New York Occasions 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 minimize 6 p.c of its workers, the Occasions identified that Fuchsia noticed an outsize 16 p.c of the 400-person employees take a success. Whereas it is not clear what meaning 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 not often formally talks about it, leaving largely rumors and Github documentation for determining what is going on on. The OS is not a small challenge, although—it is not even primarily based on Linux, opting as a substitute to make use of a customized, in-house kernel, so Google actually is constructing a whole OS from scratch. Google truly ships the OS immediately to shoppers in its Nest sensible shows, the place it changed the older Solid OS. The in-place working system swap was fully invisible to shoppers in comparison with the outdated OS, got here with zero advantages, and was by no means formally introduced or promoted.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 sensible show, so even after transport, Fuchsia remains to be a thriller.

The largest questions surrounding Fuchsia are: “Why does this exist, and what are its objectives?” Is Fuchsia an eventual substitute for Android or Chrome OS? Round 2018, once we first obtained Fuchsia working on a Pixelbook, the supply code documentation for the customized kernel mentioned it “targets fashionable telephones and fashionable private computer systems with quick processors,” which actually made it sound like an Android and/or Chrome OS successor being constructed for flagship gadgets. That early codebase additionally included graphical consumer interfaces for PCs and telephones, additional driving residence that this was a shopper OS. After Fuchsia obtained 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 group deliberate to launch on sensible audio system in 2021 (which was spot on) and would later transfer into telephones and laptops in 2023.  Even the title “Fuchsia” was a reference to Apple initiatives some members of the group had been concerned with. “Pink” was the codename for a canceled successor to traditional 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 formidable.

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