Feeds

Linux kernel runs inside web browser

JavaScript mimics 486 PC

Remote control for virtualized desktops

An independent programmer has used JavaScript to build a PC emulator capable of running Linux inside a web browser.

French hacker Fabrice Bellard says his JavaScript PC Emulator can run the 2.6.20 Linux kernel inside Mozilla's Firefox 4 and Google's Chrome 11, two browsers designed to significantly advance JavaScript speeds. "I did it for fun, just because newer JavaScript engines are fast enough to do complicated things," Belllard writes. But he believes the emulator could be used to benchmark JavaScript engines.

According to Bellard – known for creating the FFmpeg open source multimedia project and the QEMU processor emulator – his JavaScript PC emulator is about two times slower on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine than on Firefox's Jaeger Monkey engine, and this was promptly seized upon by JavaScript creator Brenden Eich, who's now the chief technology officer at Mozilla. Bellard tested the 32-bit version of both browsers.

Douglas Crockford - the man who "discovered" JSON and now servers as senior JavaScript architect at Yahoo! – recently released a new JavaScript benchmark based on JSLint, his own JavaScript code quality tool. Firefox 4 bested Chrome on this test too, as did Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 preview.

Fabrice Bellard wrote his PC Emulator with pure JavaScript using the typed array specification, which provides an API for using native binary data, and he has tested his creation on browsers running atop Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.

The emulated hardware includes a 32-bit x86 compatible CPU, a 8259 programmable interrupt controller, a 8254 programmable interrupt timer, and a 16450 UART (universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter). According to Bellard, the emulated CPU is comparable to an Intel 486 chip, though it does not include a floating point unit. Bellard was able to emulate a floating point unit, however, using the Linux kernel.

Bellard believes his emulator could be used for client-side cryptographic processing. Or – if you're looking for a more serious pursuit – he also points out it could eventually let you play old DOS games. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature
You don't want everyone to compile app lists from your fondleware? BAD LUCK
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.