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23 January 2013, 11:41

Chrome 25 to get Native Client for ARM

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Google Chome logo Google has announced that from the currently-in-beta Chrome 25 onwards, the Google Native Client will support ARM as well as x86 processors. Native Client, shortened to NaCL, was introduced to allow developers to create C and C++ code that could be compiled to native instructions yet downloaded and run, safely, by the browser. The advantage, says Google, is that developers get native code levels of performance, while users run the code in a sandbox that has been heavily tested.

Developers who already have a native client and are using the latest newlib library can use the Native Client SDK to also compile an ARM .nexe file and, after adjusting the manifest, they will be able to use the native ARM version in Chrome 25. As The H understands it, this will have most impact on users of Chrome on either Android or Chrome OS devices such as the ARM-based ChromeBooks.

ARM support has been some time in coming. In March 2010, Google announced it was working on enhancing NaCL to support ARM processors. At the same time, the company said that it was working on a portable version of NaCL, known as Portable Native Client PDF, PNaCL, or "Pinnacle". PNaCL uses LLVM bitcode which is generated by the developer compiling their C or C++ code with an LLVM compiler. The bitcode is optimised and linked to create a "Portable Executable" file which can be downloaded to a browser on any architecture and translated at run-time into appropriate machine code. Google has said it will be open sourcing the technology and now says it plans to deploy PNaCL over the course of 2013.


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