Monday, April 21, 2014

Skeptical about emulation?

If you're skeptical about two trends I've been pointing to, the rapid rise of emulation technology, and the evolution of the Web's language from HTML to Javascript, you need to watch Gary Bernhardt's video that fell through a time-warp from 2035.

Also, at the recent EverCloud workshop Mahadev Satyanarayanan, my colleague from the long-gone days of the Andrew Project, gave an impressive live demo of C-MU's Olive emulation technology. The most impressive part was that the emulations started almost instantly, despite that fact that they were demand-paging over the hotel's not super-fast Internet.


David. said...

Simon Sharwood at The Register reports on Matt Godbolt's Javascript emulation of the BBC Micro. Not the first, but well done and blogged-about. Matt reports it was a couple of months of spare-time work.

David. said...

Emulation is also available as a cloud service (EAAS?):

"Swiss software emulation expert Stromasys has launched a virtualization product that can take vintage VAX, Alpha, HP 3000, PDP-11, and Sparc applications to the cloud."

David. said...

Javascript is the most popular and fastest-growing language at Github.

David. said...

Peter Bright at Ars Technica reports that The Web is getting its bytecode: WebAssembly:

"And now they're going to get their wish. WebAssembly is a new project being worked on by people from Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, and Apple, to produce a bytecode for the Web.

WebAssembly, or wasm for short, is intended to be a portable bytecode that will be efficient for browsers to download and load, providing a more efficient target for compilers than plain JavaScript or even asm.js. Like, for example, .NET bytecode, wasm instructions operate on native machine types such as 32-bit integers, enabling efficient compilation."

This was what the Java Virtual Machine was originally intended to provide. The difference here is polyfill:

"a JavaScript script that will convert wasm to asm.js for those browsers that don't have native wasm support. Either the browser will interpret the wasm directly, or it will load the polyfill and execute the resulting asm.js."

Developers couldn't be sure that the Java bytecode would run in the browser, they can be sure that wasm bytecode will run.

David. said...

About 4 hours and the Mini vMac emulator was all it took Nick Lee to get OS7 running on his Apple Watch. Love this image.

David. said...

martin Anderson at The Stack reports that Major browsers begin journey nearer machine-code performance with WebAssembly:

"Four major web browsers now offer experimental builds which leverage WebAssembly – a compiling technology capable of bringing the performance of complicated web output closer to native machine code than even the latest and speediest JavaScript compilers."