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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 TheRaven on Saturday June 03 2017, @09:32AM (1 child)

    by TheRaven (270) on Saturday June 03 2017, @09:32AM (#519782) Journal

    And still this crazy idea that code from some random remote site should be free to run un-fettered on everyone's device persists!!

    Huh? JavaScript, PNaCl and WebAssembly all run the code in a sandbox. PNaCl and Google's implementation of WebAssembly both use NaCl on the back end and so provide a formally verified sandbox.

    I'm not sure why this is news, the entire PNaCl team was pulled off the project to work on WebAssembly a year or so back (J. F. Bastien is now at Apple, as are a few others, but most of the PNaCl team is still there working on WebAssembly).

    sudo mod me up
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +1  
       Informative=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Informative' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday June 03 2017, @04:58PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 03 2017, @04:58PM (#519906) Journal

    a formally verified sandbox.

    Chuckle. Famous last words.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.