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Google nativeclient might be a start... http://code.google.com/p/nativeclient/



In my experience NaCl is not a viable platform at this time.

My friend and I spent a couple weeks just trying to get the developer tools to work. We tried on Ubuntu, OS X, Windows, and Arch Linux. We weren't able to get started on a single platform. In the process we came across bugs that were several months old that haven't been fixed, even on their supported platforms.

Another thing to worry about is whether NaCl will take off. We can't know how committed Google is and how many users will install the plugin. It was supposed to be enabled by default in Chrome 6 (I believe) but it still isn't enabled in 7.

NaCl is still promising (especially Portable Native Client) but Google has to get it working first.

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I think the change to PNaCl (LLVM) is largely responsible for this - after that decision was made and without much in the way of existing apps, there really isn't much incentive for them to invest more effort in the x86 specific version of NaCl. When PNaCl is ready and bundled with Chrome and Android, it's only going to take one killer app to really establish it.

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I was at David Sehr's presentation at the LLVM conference. There are something like a dozen Googlers working on getting PNaCL working. They are able to get pretty close to the performance of native code, which is pretty enticing. There's still plenty of work left to do though.

One of the problems that needs to be fixed is that LLVM bitcode is kind of bloated, something like 6x as compared with native code. Another issue is that bitcode is not platform independent. Things like pointer sizes and exception handling are dependent on the target you are compiling to. Thus, they have to define a bunch of specifications for PNaCL programs so that they'll run everywhere.

It will definitely be interesting to see if anyone uses it. Like you said, one killer app will do the trick. I'd like to see Google Earth reimplemented for PNaCL, or any Google project for that matter. That would give more confidence that this is a project that is going to be taken seriously within Google.

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LLVM is really how NaCl should be done anyway. The idea of compiling your Web app for a physical hardware architecture is completely backwards, particularly now that there are two families in wide use among consumers.

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There was a session about it, this time in the Google Developer Day at Munich. Interesting stuff. Right now they're stressing on C/C++, but probably C# is up next.

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Go! Go is the cool lang for NaCl!

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Well, Mono supports LLVM, so it sounds feasible.

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Mono has already been made to work with PNaCl (for some experimental-prototype-y definition of "already been made to work").

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