Monday, March 8

Google’s future OS should run Android and Linux apps

Proposals on Google’s Fuchsia development page now suggest compatibility between the operating system and applications requiring a Linux kernel, like Android.

Since 2016, Google has been working on a new operating system, in addition to Android and Chrome OS. Called Fuchsia, this OS is still very mysterious, Google refusing to comment on its role in the ecosystem and on a potential release date.

Nevertheless, the observation of the source code of Google, updated regularly on a dedicated site, makes it possible to discover from time to time some features planned for this future system. This Friday, the 9to5Google site discovered a feature offered by one of the developers of Fuchsia. We can read that the system could make it possible to “Run unmodified versions of Linux programs”.

However, Fuchsia does not use a Linux kernel, but on Zircon, a kernel based on Little Kernel. In principle, therefore, the system should not be able to run Linux applications. To do this, however, Google plans to use a parallel system, called Starnix, which would make the link between Linux applications and Fuchsia’s Zircon kernel. “Starnix will serve as a compatibility layer, translating requests from Linux client programs to the appropriate Fuchsia subsystem”, says Google in its documentation. This would allow Linux software to run natively on the system, without any slowing down.

A way to make Android apps compatible

More so, Starnix could also be used to ensure compatibility between Fuchsia and Android applications, as indicated by Google itself: “Android apps contain modules of code that have been compiled for Linux. In order to run them on Fuchsia, we must be able to run the code without modifying it ”. Indeed, unlike Fuchsia, Android is based on the Linux kernel. Android applications are therefore Linux compatible software. It is therefore indeed this type of program that could be considered by Google when studying the possibility of ensuring compatibility between Fuchsia and Linux applications.

As a reminder, Fuchsia should be a global operating system for Google, supposed to equip both connected devices and more advanced devices. However, it is not known when Google plans to publish a final version of its system and when we can discover equipped devices.

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