1. 31
    1. 34

      I fear the ramifications of Fuchsia. From where I’m sitting, it looks like Google bootstrapped Android off the back of Linux, didn’t really give much back, and then set out on a campaign to rid themselves of components with licenses that might obligate them to give anything back in the future. Android just keeps getting more and more closed, and what remains open is increasingly useless without adding on proprietary software. They’ve made a mockery of the freedoms granted by the GPL; for most Android users, the only alternative to “whatever OS we decide to give you” is picking some hacked-up mess from a forum that will be maintained for approximately 37 seconds. To me, Fuchsia feels like an attempt to close this loop; once the Linux kernel is out of the picture, Google will have rid itself of all those troublesome GPL components and can forget that whole “open source” thing ever happened.

      1. 7

        Frankly, this doesn’t make any sense since Fuchsia is open source? Yes, Fuchsia is not GPL, but Google wrote Fuchsia so Google can decide its license.

        1. 18

          It’s a difference between users having guaranteed rights to the source code now and in the future, vs users depending on continued benevolence of Google.

          Sadly, GPL covers only the kernel. Android is already problematic from software freedom perspective due to PlayServices dependency, and important components like camera image processing being kept closed-source.

          With such history, do not expect to Google to be a good steward of a project they can close as much as they want. Google already keeps Android forks inferior, and Fuchsia gives them even more code they could make closed at any time to make Android forks harder to maintain.

        2. 9

          But doesn’t this just confirm the statement ?

          Can decide its license

          and thus can do anything they want with it, including the addition of proprietary extensions and APIs that you need to run the android of the future, closing its source later on or changing the license such that it’s not free to use.

        3. 2

          that’s entirely compatible with what /u/jordemort said, is it not?

      2. 6

        There has definitely been this trend, and it’s not just Google. Amazon also comes to mind.

        Businesses tend towards rent-seeking behavior by nature, and often only “donate” when it is a means to that end. Google is neither a charity nor a non-profit.

      3. 5

        Your theory might be coincidental with what the interviewee said was the real motivation : the insanity of Google having 4 or more disjoint teams all separately customizing the Linux kernel?

        From the article:

        “At that time, Fuchsia was never originally about building a new kernel. It was actually about an observation I made: that the Android team had their own Linux kernel team, and the Chrome OS team had their own Linux kernel team, and there was a desktop version of Linux at Google [Goobuntu and later gLinux], and there was a Linux kernel team in the data centers. They were all separate, and that seems crazy and inefficient.”

        1. 9

          It doesn’t seem that crazy and inefficient to me. All those teams supported different products with different requirements. A big thing with Android was (finally) getting Binder upstreamed into the LInux kernel… that was a long process. I’ve not heard anything about ChromeOS or the desktop efforts that had IPC mechanism requirements that couldn’t be fulfilled by existing projects like dBus.

          ChromeOS is about providing a polished and narrowly focused experience, without the flexibility that a nominal desktop OS should provide. So I don’t see as much overlap there either. And the server team I’m sure was more worried about software defined networking, virtualization, and making sure process scheduling doesn’t bog down on a 64-core machine. Also not necessarily a lot of overlap.

        2. 6

          I think the reasons why an engineer might want to start a project aren’t necessarily the same reasons why management might want to get behind a project.

        3. 1

          so the solution to that inefficiency is not to unify their linux efforts, but to develop an entirely new kernel??

          1. 1

            Maybe they found that it wasn’t efficient to shoehorn basically the same monolithic kernel into everything from mobiles to cloud clusters.

            1. 1

              maybe but that’s not what the interviewee said

      4. 2

        I just got a new phone and installed LineageOS on it. The GPL is doing absolutely nothing to help keep AOSP free and open: the requirements to deploy Google things are due to the Play Store having a monopoly on most apps that people actually need and the fact that a lot of things depend on Play Services and so on.

        I’m looking forward to Fuchsia replacing Linux in Android. It’s a much better kernel design and a better implementation. The main obstacle for Fuchsia at the moment is that Google open source projects are very much Google projects that happen to be open source. They are very bad at building (and not then immediately screwing over) communities.

      5. 1

        yeah it’s bad, but we already knew everything would move in that direction without effective organized resistance.

    2. 4

      Wow, not much to say, everything was well said. I have no real criticisms, I think they’re doing great work.

      As an aside: holy moly the new logo looks exactly like Fedora’s.

      1. 5

        In all fairness, there are only so many logos you can produce by drawing flat shapes of one colour over solid backgrounds of another colour, and since that’s been all the “design” “work” that went into logos for the last six years or so, it’s inevitable that we’re starting to run into duplicates :-D.

    3. 3

      Tangentially related, Google joined seL4 foundation recently.

      If they dropped LK for seL4, it’d be clever.