Chrome OS Weekly S1 Ep 3: Adobe Flash, Android Studio, Crostini, Flutter, Fuchsia Update
Fuchsia is Apparently no More Than an Experiment
Alphabet’s Google has been a pioneer in software development with an experience spanning several use-cases across industries but more specifically the tech industry. In personal computing, Chrome OS is where it is today due to Google’s never-ending effort in meticulously crafting its vision of the platform for the future.
This effort was centered around a web-based platform with Chrome at the core of the experience. This together with foolproof security and a rock-solid update schedule are at the usual representations of the Chrome OS identity.
It’s been established that Chrome OS is here to stay with all the effort Google has put into molding it to its current point. However, the mainstream gossip was that Fuchsia would be the one to unite them all – as in Android, Chrome OS and IOT – Something akin to Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform and Ubuntu’s Convergence. These aforementioned two, as you may know, are dead in the water and doubt they will ever see the light of the day in their original proposed form.
Google’s rep, Hiroshi Lockheimer, begged to differ claiming that Fuchsia is only but an experiment. In the fine individual’s words: “Fuchsia is about pushing the state of the art” and not necessarily trying to accomplish the goal of a unified/centralized platform. Furthermore, he added: “Fuchsia is really not about that. Fuchsia is about just pushing the state of the art in terms of operating systems and things that we learn from Fuchsia we can incorporate into other products.”
On the other hand, he highlighted the strength of Android and progression over the years suggesting it’s a strength that has been mustered and is here to stay for good as well as highlighting the strength of a diversified ecosystem of operating systems.
As per The Verge’s interview, Lockheimer added a “cryptic” response in regards the status/function of Fuchsia … “think about dedicated devices… right now, everybody assumes Fuchsia is for phones. But what if it could be used for other things?”
So it is rightfully conclusive that Fuchsia is a side Google-sponsored-enthusiast project and we may continue to frame it as such until its status officially changes.
Just last week, we covered some of the upcoming features in Chrome OS 74 update and many of them have been made a reality as the much-anticipated update is currently being rolled out – albeit slowly depending on your device – to the stable channel.
Flutter Arrives For the Web
A growing trend in the developer community is providing a one-fits-all solution to the quirks of application development, business solutions, and the likes. While this works most of the time, it’s typically an extraneous exercise especially in the case of app development.
Xamarin was the pioneer in the particular respect of mobile app development until Microsoft bought them folding the functionality into Microsoft Visual Studio. It is a shame, however, that Xamarin is slowly sinking into oblivion due to the presence of a relatively new but major player, Flutter. Flutter was announced at Google I/O in 2017 and was declared the saving grace developers yearned for. Characterized by the DART framework, It is touted as the platform of the future for app development and Google reinforces this notion by using Flutter primarily for its enthusiast project, “Fuchsia OS”.
Adoption of the platform has been steady with extensive documentation that’s easy to follow. The latest development to Flutter brings about support for web apps. Essentially, the principle remains the same, a single codebase for multiple platforms and this drives home Google’s emphasis on making Chrome OS the center of attention in the developer world. Undoubtedly, (provided a sizable rate of adoption – Flutter for Web initiative – materializes) we may begin to see professional grade apps natively available to Chrome OS either via the Chrome Web Store or a PWA. This is especially great news since PWA is coming by default in Chrome OS 76 slated for a Stable release in July. You can read more about it in the source article below.
Flutter, our portable UI framework for building beautiful, tailored experiences, now supports the modern web! We’re pleased to release a technical preview of the SDK that lets you take Flutter UI…
Flash is Going Away by 2020, Currently Blocked by Default in Canary 76
Flash has been a security nightmare as long as I can remember. This and the advent of HTML5 are amongst the primary reasons Adobe is phasing it out with a 2020 deadline. Unsurprisingly, this move prompted web browsers like Chrome to establish a roadmap for the slow death of Flash. This will come in the form of it being disabled by default and requiring your explicit consent to be enabled.
The current implementation of Flash in Chrome offers a dialogue box close to the start of the URL bar where you can click and be brought to a window dedicated to the specific site settings and adjust the availability of Flash on that website to “enable”, “disable” or “ask(default)”. In some cases, you might actually have to hit the lock icon in the URL bar to proceed to the site settings and play around with Flash as you may please.
Android Studio is Now a Breeze to Install on Chrome OS
Google has a way of incentivizing developers and this is a culture they maintain through their contributions in the open source community not to talk of the tools and services they provide to developers for free. Obviously, all these good things get them on the good side of developers and Google prospers. It is in the spirit of this tradition that Google made the announcement of an easy to install Android Studio package for Chrome OS. This inevitably sparked a lot of interest in the dev community and now that dream has been brought to fruition in the form of a precompiled executable .deb (debian) file.
In its new form, you can simply download the designated .deb package and save it in your Linux directory for an easy double click install and you may also right click to “Install with Linux (Beta)”. The video below demonstrates this on the Google Pixelbook, i5/128gb/8gb.
Google recommends the specifications below as the minimum for an efficient function. Ironically, neither the Pixelbook or Pixel Slate are mentioned in the list of recommended devices despite them having specifications that exceed the minimum requirement.
Intel i5 U-series or higher
HP Chromebox G2
8 GB RAM minimum
ASUS Chromebox CXI3
4 GB of available disk space minimum
Acer Chromebook Spin 13
1280 x 800 minimum screen resolution
HP Chromebook x360
Lenovo Yoga C630 Chromebook
Linux Support Will Come by Default in 2019 Chromebooks
Chrome OS continues to trudge along in the competitive computing space with incredible agility – winning hearts and minds. Prior to Google I/O 2018, there wasn’t as much excitement about the potential of Chrome OS as the platform of the future but that drastically changed with the official announcement of Linux support in Chrome OS.
Current estimates put the percentage of Chromebooks already supported or slated to receive support for the Linux container at about 50%. Furthermore, all 2019 Chromebooks will support the Linux container out of the box – that is irrespective of their CPU architecture … Full report below: