Google Fuchsia dev team: Android, Palm, WebOS, Native Client, iOS

Chris Burns - Aug 15, 2016
Google Fuchsia dev team: Android, Palm, WebOS, Native Client, iOS

Today we’re having a look at the software team responsible for Google Fuchsia, a new operating system from Google. The initial commit file for this set of codes was made “6 weeks ago” by developer Petr Hosek. That first commit reads as follows: “Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System)”. That’s it! This operating system’s code and its developers have a wide variety of connections to operating systems you may have had some experience with in the past – everything from iOS to the software run by the original Sidekick phone.

Any user can find a mirror of this project on Github. In the License file for this system is a note that this code is copyright 2016 “The Fuchsia Authors.” It mentions that “Neither the name of Google Inc. nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.”

One notable author on this project is Travis Geiselbrecht, who previously worked on Android, Danger Inc., Hiptop OS (in the USA it was shipped with T-Mobile on a device called the Sidekick), NewOS, and BeOS.

Brian Swetland is also on the team – he previously worked with Danger Inc. and BeOS, and joined Android Inc. in December of 2004 as “Senior Robot Wrangler”. He joined Google when Google acquired Android, Inc. in 2005, and stuck around until January of 2015, when he went to work with Playground.Global for several months.

NOTE: Playground was founded by a team of four people, one of which was Google’s Andy Rubin. While Playground may look like a Google property – it uses a VERY similar font for its logo, after all – it’s not officially a Google-owned business. It’s described as its own independent artificial intelligence investment incubator – also Google is one of four main Series A investors in the company. In March of 2016, Swetland re-joined Google.

Tim Kilbourn is on this project as well – he worked from September of 2007 to September 2015 with Google as a software engineer, worked that same month in 2015 until May of 2016 with Tesla Motors as a staff software engineer, then returned to Google. Kilbourn has worked from June of 2016 to the present with Google as a software engineer specifically on Fuchsia.

Christopher Anderson is also on the project, having worked with Palm back in 2008-2010, moving on to Jawbone through March 2012, and on to Google starting in May of 2012. Anderson started at Google working on Android, working on Android TV hardware and companion devices as well as the Chromecast predecessor Nexus Q. He also worked as senior system software engineer (Robotics) with Google, and as of August of 2015 (through the present), he’s worked with Google as a Senior System Software Engineer with Embedded Devices.

George Kulakowski worked with Apportable for 2 years as tech lead for BridgeKit and developed and maintained Apportable Foundation’s test suite infrastructure. He went on to work with Google starting in May of 2015.

You’ll remember Petr Hosek from the beginning of this article. He has an interesting past with Google which reads as follows:

Student Participant, Google Summer of Code 2010 May 2010 – August 2010: Designed and developed Colladoc, a collaborative documentation authoring tool for Scala Programming Language.

Student Mentor, Google Summer of Code 2011 May 2011 – August 2011: Supervising and managing the development of Colladoc project, providing guidance and mentorship.

Software Engineering Intern, Google June 2012 – September 2012: Worked in the Native Client team, extending the memory management subsystem.

Software Engineering Intern, Google June 2013 – September 2013: Member of the Native Client team, contributed a number of improvements to the memory management subsystem and integrated runtime, refactored service runtime to allow for easier embedding; improved support for porting POSIX applications including process support.

Software Engineer, Google January 2015 – Present: Working in the Native Client team.

This operating system could be coming to a device near you – or every device you already own. If the talents of the top developers on this project are any indication, they’ve got the knowhow that’ll allow them to run this system through all manner of devices: truly an internet of things.

UPDATE: This system utilizes the physically based rendered Escher, which features Volumetric soft shadows, Color bleeding, Light diffusion, and “Lens effect” – all of which would assist in creating a visual-based operating system – files and folders and dragging and dropping and clicking and/or tapping and all that. Not necessarily – just in all likelihood.*

*An edit 3 weeks ago by Josh Gargus included “Rename TextureDescriptor to TextureSpec. Same for MaterialShaderDescriptor.” It should be clear at this point that this operating system will work within Google’s Material Design user interface plan – as both Android and Chrome do now.

Josh Gargus previously worked with Palm (from October 2010 to December 2011) as a WebOS media applications developer. He joined Google as a software engineer in November of 2011.

In a set of Escher code examples included in the Fuschia project can be found mentions of “IPHONEOS_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET = 9.3” and “SDKROOT = iphoneos” – and also mentions its ability to work with both iPhone and iPad. This mention COULD just be in reference to this one demo file. We’re still searching!

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