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Microsoft Brings ChakraCore to Linux and OS X (cio.com) 106

An anonymous reader quotes a columnist at CIO: A few days ago I wrote about Microsoft's revival of Skype for Linux. I called it "a big deal" -- less because of Skype itself and more because it signified Microsoft's recognition that Linux is a platform worth supporting... Now the company has done it again. At Node Summit this week, Microsoft announced the availability of ChakraCore for Linux. ChakraCore is the core part of the Chakra JavaScript engine that powers Microsoft Edge and Universal Windows Platform. With this move, Microsoft is putting one of its core technologies on a competing platform. This, more than any other Linux-friendly move the company has made, is a clear departure from the Microsoft of Gates and Ballmer that used its technologies to lock users into Windows...

While Ubuntu is the primary Linux distribution that Microsoft is using to showcase its ChakraCore technologies, the company said that the support should easily translate to other modern Linux distributions.

Microsoft's blog post says the experimental implementation runs not only on x64 Linux but also on OS X.
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Microsoft Brings ChakraCore to Linux and OS X

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  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:00PM (#52617395) Journal
    Microsoft sees themselves as less and less of an OS company, and more of a business services company, especially with the cloud. Windows is only a small portion of Microsoft revenue now [computerworld.com], so they don't feel such a need to support it. It's possible that within the next decade, they may become to view it as a cost center, rather than a profit center.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Microsoft is a huge company with fingers in many pies. It's tempting to treat companies like people, with a single mind carefully controlling everything, but it's not like that.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by gtall ( 79522 )

      I tend to think of Microsoft as a leech on the common computing infrastructure of the world. Sending it more blood won't make it let go.

      • lol.
        A Tibetan monk once recommended: "when the leeches attach to your body, do not pull them off, let them fill with blood and fall off on their own. Doing so will purify your soul and help you endure pain."
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Microsoft sees themselves as less and less of an OS company, and more of a business services company, especially with the cloud. Windows is only a small portion of Microsoft revenue now, so they don't feel such a need to support it. It's possible that within the next decade, they may become to view it as a cost center, rather than a profit center.

      And how much of their other products have any significant revenue on non-Windows platforms? I know they're trying with Office 365 and open sourcing .NET Core and SQL Server for Linux but once you leave the Microsoft platform you also tend to buy a lot less of their other products and services. Maybe it's not the big cash cow anymore but it's the foot in the door so Microsoft can push all their other business solutions. And you know they're dreaming of taking a 30% cut of every UWP application, which they ca

      • And how much of their other products have any significant revenue on non-Windows platforms?

        Not many, hence the move to support other platforms and start making that happen.

  • Then I wonder, what about the Skype application?
    Why is it so hard to bring that one up to speed on Linux? I mean, if you really wanted to support Linux?

    An alternative could be the Line application?
          http://line.me/en/ [line.me]

    It is for now only supported on these mobile platforms, and then Windows and Mac: (unfortunately not on MeeGo or Ubuntu Touch, which I have)

    iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Nokia

    If we could could get them to support wider, then Microsoft could possibly also be enticed to support wider, and more honest on Linux?!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "The current cross-plat implementation doesn’t yet support JIT compilation and concurrent and partial GC features"

    Which means it will be slow and useless.

    • Yep. And stupid people will use it and complain to Microsoft that it's slow and sucks on Linux and OSX.

      And they'll cry to me to save them.

      And I'll say no.

    • Which is a good way to describe Edge.

      • On Edge JS is slower than with V8 on Chrome. But the HTML Renderer is lightning fast.
        Slower it is, but useless, no.

        • I find Edge barely usable, like some sort of alpha piece of software. I have no idea how fast its rendering is, nor do I care, because it is so utterly deficient and prone to errors that it's irrelevant.

          At my organization where we've just completed our Windows 10 rollout, there is not a single person who wanted to stick with Edge for more than a few days, and more than a few that were exasperated that the damned thing was the default PDF reader. i sure learned how to make a default applications XML file to

  • by Cyphase ( 907627 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:10PM (#52617437) Homepage
    For those who don't know, ChakraCore is open source; the code is on GitHub, under the MIT license.

    https://github.com/Microsoft/ChakraCore [github.com]
    • by Torp ( 199297 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:18PM (#52617459)

      Unfortunately I still remember their patent threats; I don't think it's safe to go anywhere near Microsoft owned source, no matter the licensing.

      • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @06:53PM (#52617747)

        Unfortunately I still remember their patent threats; I don't think it's safe to go anywhere near Microsoft owned source, no matter the licensing.

        I agree, but I'm even more wary than that. Microsoft has a nearly perfect record of deceptiveness, sleaziness, and overall douchebaggery. Even if software patents didn't exist I would still suspect this is some kind of trap.

        • Unfortunately I still remember their patent threats; I don't think it's safe to go anywhere near Microsoft owned source, no matter the licensing.

          I agree, but I'm even more wary than that. Microsoft has a nearly perfect record of deceptiveness, sleaziness, and overall douchebaggery. Even if software patents didn't exist I would still suspect this is some kind of trap.

          When do you think MS will release their own Linux version? They must certainly want to compete with Oracle, RedHat and Ubuntu.

          • I think that is no longer the "MS way"... as in, they see themselves more as a service company now.

            I think they realize that there are just too many ardent opponents who will never buy an MS product directly outside of the enterprise.

            So, instead, they will use other people's platforms and design services for those. Just look at how much MS software is on Android and iOS these days. Some of which you might not even realize is MS software (like Swift keyboard).

            Being an OS vendor is a tough business... you are

      • by DeVilla ( 4563 )

        If it were under GPL3 it would be safe. There are probably a few other licenses with similar patent protection explicitly built in.

        Their patent pledges are useless. They have been written in the past such that they could sell the patents to a 3rd party who would be free to sue. They grant a non-revocable license or it does not count.

  • Be Very Suspicous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ytene ( 4376651 )
    Before Microsoft got their hands on Skype, the service was configured to use a central server to determine if your desired counter-party was on line, then the two end-points went through a handshake and all remaining communications were point-to-point.

    After Microsoft got their hands on Skype, the initial call setup used a central server - and then the entire remainder of the conversation remains similarly routed through that central server, thereby allowing Microsoft to record the entire conversation.
  • Really? (Score:1, Troll)

    by NotInHere ( 3654617 )

    Wake me up when m$ ditches directx in favor of ogl/vulkan (on the xbox platform and on windows) and when the non cloud version of office is available on linux on the desktop.

    Until then m$ is evil.

    • Vulkan has some merits, or at least novelty; OpenGL and DirectX are actually in competition, and DirectX long had features allowing DirectX programmers to more-readily take advantage of not-always-present extensions while OpenGL historically would just fail and not tell you. OpenGL has long since improved on that front; minor technical arguments still bounce back and forth between the two technologies.

      Stuff like that is why I find graphics programmers weird.

      • Vulkan is more a competitor to DirectX 12, and its better because it is probably more consistent due to throwing out all the legacy crap (read OpenGL).

        • It's also more-complex than OpenGL, although DirectX 12 is more-complex than DirectX 10. Direct-manipulation of atoms is more-complex than current processor fab tech, too, and can give certain results modern fab tech can't. Assembly is more-complex than C#, and can allow tight, highly-optimized code that C# can't approach; C# can make large, complex programs.

          Maybe Vulkan will get some higher-level APIs, or run alongside OpenGL, or something. Who knows? An integrated solution allowing leverage of low-

          • Well yes Vulkan is more complex than OpenGL, but its not in the same relation to OpenGL as Assembly is to c#.

            True, there is SPIR, but there are already compilers for SPIR out there, and it has been a critique point of OpenGL for a long time that shaders couldn't be compiled, while they could be compiled by DirectX.

            Either way, the indie gaming industry seems to be moving towards engines like unity that then expose simple high level APIs. They will enjoy vulkan because it will allow unity and similar engine d

            • That's the specialist argument: someone further down the line gets to deal with this complicated stuff. It's a valid argument; and the specialists still need to improve their skillset when the complicated stuff becomes more-complicated, with the trade-off that they can engage in their specialty more-effectively.

  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @05:28PM (#52617475)
    It was a Microsoft program called WISE and licensed to Bristol, Insignia, MainSoft and Locus( https://goo.gl/nrk4ML ). It allowed these vendors to build libraries for UNIX which let Win32 sources be built on UNIX systems. Lots of UNIX app developers porting UNIX apps to Windows since they could sell their apps for both Windows and UNIX. Only one problem, Microsoft pulled the rug out from under them all( save one ) and left all those UNIX software vendors with no path for their UNIX customers but moving to Microsoft Windows. They more than quadrupled the WISE program cost and only one of the vendors could afford to pay it. The one vendor who could still pay the licensing fee was also the one vendor Microsoft hired to port Internet Explorer to Sun Solaris.

    So unless every single bit of this ChakraCore stuff is open source and under a BSD or MIT license(ie loose) then stay away, far far away. IMO

    LoB
    • Took me two clicks to find the answer, ignoring the comment above yours. You do know how hyperlinks work, right? And reading?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So unless every single bit of this ChakraCore stuff is open source and under a BSD or MIT license(ie loose) then stay away, far far away.

      It is.

  • Soon all those Windows vulnerabilities will be available on Linux too. Do they allow you to compile from source at least or is it a closed binary that needs root rights?

    • Well this story isn't about Internet Explorer, it's about Chakra core which is the Javascript Virtual Machine that is used in Edge.

      Soon all those Windows vulnerabilities will be available on Linux too.

      Not quite sure what you mean by that.

      Do they allow you to compile from source at least or is it a closed binary that needs root rights?

      The release is source, it's right here https://github.com/microsoft/ChakraCore [github.com] licensed under MIT.

  • Microsoft must have an entire division devoted to coming up with names that make me glaze over sooner than I can get to a defining sentence in any article in which the word occurs.

    List of Microsoft codenames [wikipedia.org]

    Hmm, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was originally codenamed "Snowball", which primarily involved the introduction of a 32-bit TCP/IP stack into a 16-bit OS.

    Satan: I've got good news and I've got bad news.

    Yourself: What's the good news?

    Satan: I'm going to give you a choice.

    Yourself: And what's the bad news?

    • Hi! Welcome to Pedant's Corner, the best kind of corner!

      WfW didn't come with a TCP/IP stack. The bundled networking applications ran over Microsoft's SMB stack. It wasn't until 1994, nearly a year after the release of WfW, that Microsoft released an optional TCP/IP stack for WfW.

      And unfortunately for your joke, the name of the stack was Wolverine...

      Sorry, not trying to ruin your joke, just trying to avoid some minor misconception about a product that hasn't been sold now for 20 years and nobody uses

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @07:15PM (#52617831)

    Start the timer. Apple becomes a hardware-only company, running mostly microsoft software. One decade or two?

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Start the timer. Apple becomes a hardware-only company, running mostly microsoft software. One decade or two?

      Or minus half-decade. Ever since Apple went Intel and started supported running Windows (and indirectly, Linux), that has been true.

      And Apple has traditionally been a hardware company - their money is selling hardware.

      Less so these days as PC hardware designs have caught up to Apple, Apple has started to neglect their Mac line (though, apparently it's because Intel has been dropping the ball with the

      • Well, let's hope so, for if Apple decides to OSS MacOS/X then Unix on the Desktop might actually come true.

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @07:27PM (#52617877)
    real work. But for some reason, I should want to use their libraries on a system that actually is already useful for real work?

    Really must be something in the water. Gnome3, Wayland, systemd, Trump, and Microsoft on Linux?
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Sunday July 31, 2016 @09:02PM (#52618323)
    smells like a trojan_horse, after years of being belligerent towards Linux i can not trust microsoft to be honest, look at the mess windows 10 is when it comes to privacy and lack of being open to users,
  • I'm seriously asking -- why should non-Windows OS developers care about whether or not ChakraCore is supported on non-Windows operating systems?

    • Because V8 is having a monopoly.

      I think running node.js on Chakra will be a nice alternative even if you do not use it. Last thing we want is Google to rewrite standards ala old MS style.

      • Totally. Competition is the whetstone which sharpens these tools. Also, Chakra is aiming to run on more diverse platforms (think IoT, etc), so that's also good: encouraging V8 devs to step up their game.

        It's the same reason I used to cheer on Opera and why I'm rather sad they just threw in the towel. Who's going to set the ACID benchmarks now? Especially as FF loses ground?

        Competition is required for successful evolution (:

  • Whilst I applaud the effort (and welcome alternatives), Chakra isn't quite ready for prime-time on other platforms yet -- more specifically, node-chakra. What it does, it does blazingly fast -- outpacing the v8 core on 6.3.1 -- but there are some specific use-cases which just end in fail, and a commonly-occurring message about buffers not being used in an expected manner.

    Next release maybe? V8 needs the competition and I'll gladly take whatever is tops out stability, then features, then speed. I'm not a bra

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