Google Fuchsia and Redox

Google Fuchsia is a skunkworks project from Google apparently intended as a replacement for the Android and ChromeOS platforms. There is a good post on the implications of its architecture on security here on Redox Discourse. It is starting to progress quite nicely. Some of the engineers are actually veterans of BeOS (inspiration of Haiku), and that can only be a good thing.

It ditches the linux kernel in favour of an (almost) microkernel called Zircon. Interestingly, development in Rust is supported. The “capabilities” security model sounds interesting too.

Android is probably the biggest Linux distribution in the world. Its replacement in Google products could represent a turning point in the dominance of Linux and other *nix in general, a rival to Windows (the only current mainstream system that is not *nix), and thus lead to a greater receptiveness to new operating systems. That can only be good for Redox, should it be ready for production environments at that point.

Recently, I read in an article that Fuchsia is going to have a Linux compatibility layer called Starnix that duplicates all the quirks and function calls on top of Zircon. Despite all the help it would be for Redox to do something similar as far as getting huge amounts of source codes to work, I hope Redox stays away from that approach.

What I suspect about Fuchsia is that it will try to replace all of the mainstream operating systems with itself. Between WebAssembly and Starnix it will have both closed-source and open-source covered and may just become a monopolizing influence in the same way as Microsoft was prevented from becoming back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. With all of the Android and ChromeOS infrastructure to draw from, Google Fuchsia may someday be an unstoppable force if it is allowed to be such. I hope it never comes to that.