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April 13 2015: emscripten vs Native client and other things

Posted on April 22, 2015
( 2 minute read )

Alice sent their apologies via Twitter as she was still in Kazakhstan time.

Brian asked about Swanky Paint and asked for help with hostapd which was no longer working as he expected.

Kriss mentioned playing with CSS Filters which allow you to manipulate images in a browser and which are at Working Draft stage. He then introduced emscripten, which takes LLVM code created from C or C++ and creates Javascript or OpenGL code and creates WebGL; the code can then be run in a browser using asm.js, a small virtual machine, which is a native application in Firefox. It is an alternative to Google’s Native Client which allows you to run C code in a sandbox; emscripten generates JavaScript instead of assembler.

Google uses the Pepper API and has disabled the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) in Chrome with the intention of removing it later this year. However, elsewhere the Unity 5 game engine plug-in has gained Linux browser support — only Google want the Pepper API.

Kriss finds asm.js a little slower and Native Client better — it is sandboxed and verifiable; but asm.js is safer than using OpenGL. Examples: Bouncing Ball, BatWsBat and Swanky Art.

Kriss commented that it is annoying to have to support two opposing browser choices, much like the choice between the Betamax and VHS formats where the inferior format won — something he thinks may happen again.

Kriss also passed round an Android camera — an Android device without a ’phone!

David S demonstrated how it is possible for registered users of the Telegraph & Argus to increase or reduce the likes on a comment by using multiple tabs.

He also drew attention to The Lib Dems’ digital rights bill — an empty promise? which points out that the LibDems do not comply with the very legislation they are promising to ‘beef up.’