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Google PixelBook is now being used to test the mysterious Fuchsia OS

12 January 2018

We've been talking on and off about Fuchsia, Google's new (ish) operating system that it's been working on for quite a bit of time now.

Developers can now test out Google's mysterious Fuchsia operating system on its high-end Pixelbook.

As of right now, you can definitely file this one under interesting.

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Google has now released the tools needed for developers to install Fuchsia on a Pixelbook, its Chrome OS-powered laptop. The development documents describe the OS as targeting "modern phones and modern personal computers", which would seemingly put it in competition with both of Google's existing OSes. And beyond Android, Google has the Chrome OS platform that has become increasingly popular on laptops in recent history, particularly in the education space where value is the primary concern. It was very card heavy and similar in terms of looks to Android's Material Design. FYI, Andromeda project was basically a merger of Android and Chrome OS on a Pixelbook. The OS is open source, but with no Linux kernel, there's no GPL components-the OS is licensed under a mix of BSD 3 clause, MIT, and Apache 2.0. "Good support" is only available for the Pixelbook, Intel NUCs, and the Acer Switch 12. Fuchsia can run on the open source emulator QEMU, but Fuchsia's graphics stack requires Vulkan support. The main difference is in how the build will boot; many Windows systems use the UEFI bootup and BIOS standard, while Chromebooks use a vBoot system. Google stopped developing this branch of the system UI, though, so there's no way to get it running on an Android phone anymore. In any case there's no telling on when Google might share details about the platform, but Google I/O 2018 is taking place later this year so perhaps this is the year Google could finally announce something.

Chromebooks in general are flexible devices, and it makes sense for Google's flagship computer to be used as a testbed for its next-generation operating system, even if it's not exactly clear what the whole objective of Fuchsia is at this point.

Fuchsia has been in development for well over a year already.

Google PixelBook is now being used to test the mysterious Fuchsia OS