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posted by Fnord666 on Friday June 02 2017, @07:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the virtual-town-hall dept.,34583.html

Google announced that its Portable Native Client (PNaCl) solution for making native code run inside the browser will be replaced by the new cross-browser web standard called WebAssembly.

Around the same time Google introduced Chrome OS in 2011, it also announced Native Client (NaCl), a sandboxing technology that runs native code inside the browser. This was initially supposed to make Chrome OS a little more useful offline compared to only running web apps that required an internet connection. Two years later, Google also announced PNaCl, which was a more portable version of NaCl that could work on ARM, MIPS, and x86 devices. NaCl, on the other hand, only worked on x86 chips.

Even though Google open sourced PNaCl, as part of the Chromium project, Mozilla ended up creating its own alternative called "asm.js," an optimized subset of JavaScript that could also compile to the assembly language. Mozilla thought that asm.js was far simpler to implement and required no API compatibility, as PNaCl did. As these projects seemed to go nowhere, with everyone promoting their own standard, the major browser vendors seem to have eventually decided on creating WebAssembly.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Pino P on Saturday June 03 2017, @12:04AM (3 children)

    by Pino P (4721) on Saturday June 03 2017, @12:04AM (#519643) Journal

    So that we can collectively comment on a document.

    The no-script way to do that is to follow the document each comment with a link to a separate document containing a form to reply to that item.

    The article "Please don't use Slack for FOSS projects" by Drew DeVault [] begins by condemning Slack, HipChat, Skype, Discord, and other real-time chat services for relying on non-free software and service as a software substitute []. Instead, it recommends Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a published protocol with numerous free servers and free clients. The article acknowledges that IRC doesn't archive conversations permanently (unlike the other services), requiring the use of a "bouncer" proxy, nor does it allow attaching a text, image, or other file to a message in a channel, requiring the use of a pastebin or similar. But a private IRC server could offer these features.

    In any case, IRC and proprietary web chat share a few problems.

    IRC requires downloading software
    Mainstream PC and smartphone operating systems ship with a web browser but not an IRC client. IRC-to-web proxies exist, making the experience similar to that of proprietary web chat, particularly if your proxy integrates a bouncer. But use of any web chat tends to be unwieldy unless you allow the proxy to download JavaScript software to your computer to check a WebSocket for incoming messages.
    Real-time communication is discriminatory
    Some users take longer to reply to a particular thought. They might have a different native language or learning disabilities. And not all users are available at the same time. Users in a time zone close to that of the maintainer have an advantage over users in less populated time zones.

    I remember reading another article that condemned chat for discriminating against users in other time zones. Instead, it encourages people to use asynchronous communication systems, such as mailing lists, Usenet, and web-based bulletin boards. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding this article again using Google Search.

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  • (Score: 2) by tibman on Saturday June 03 2017, @03:57AM (2 children)

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 03 2017, @03:57AM (#519723)

    The no-script way to do that is to follow the document each comment with a link to a separate document containing a form to reply to that item.

    That's not "no-script". That's no client script. There is still a web developer writing code to validate your comment, store it, and render the dynamic document. That's a long way away from the original quote "the question remains why the web is anything more than a document system". You'd have to redefine document to mean anything rendered to the screen.

    I totally agree that the current state of chat really sucks. I remember when people were using libaim and similar libraries to write their own chat client that communicated over open-ish protocols.

    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday June 03 2017, @04:57PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 03 2017, @04:57PM (#519904) Journal

      That's not "no-script". That's no client script.

      Well DUH!.

      The thread started with a condemnation of the practice of foisting all manor processes to run on the client side.

      Client side scripting is, after all, the root of all hacks. Sandboxes have been historically a majestic failure as each successive pwn2own proves over and over again.

      We've been doing this stuff for going on to 30 years now, and it has gotten progressively more risky each year. Not just because the stakes got higher (on line banking, remote control of machinery, etc), but also because the attack vectors are expanding with each new gotta-have feature, and each new browser plugin.

      Serious browser induced exploit announcements use to occur maybe once a year. Now they are revealed once a month.

      Yet we continue to add stupid extensions to browsers. Now my browser can manipulate to my blue tooth. Who ever thought that was a good idea deserves a 38 caliber vasectomy.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Saturday June 03 2017, @05:24PM

      by JNCF (4317) on Saturday June 03 2017, @05:24PM (#519919) Journal

      That's not "no-script". That's no client script.

      In this context, the term "NoScript" [] is just concerned with the client.

      You'd have to redefine document to mean anything rendered to the screen.

      The distinction being drawn is whether or not there is arbitrary logic happening in the browser. You can have an embedded video and still be "just a document," if your video is embedded using a DOM element. If you roll your own video player, that's "more." You can deliver a document with comment boxes and submit buttons, and as long as they're only making requests which redirect the browser the original page is still "just" a document. If there's a client-side script involved in processing the form data it becomes "more."