Linux Emulator That Runs In Your Web Browser

Bellard's jslinux runs within a web browser and provides a 32-bit X86 CPU, an interrupt controller, interrupt timer as well as serial interface within 90 KB. According to the developer, the emulator has been tested with Firefox 4 and Chrome 11 (it does not work in Chrome 12 beta) under Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The code runs substantially faster in Firefox than in Chrome.

Since it works with Firefox 4, it also works on Android smartphones and tablets using the browser (which we briefly tested). jslinux is not compatible with the standard Android browser.

Bellard said that the the Linux kernel in the emulator is version 2.6.20; the emulated CPU is similar to a 486 processor without FPU, which, however, is not a big deal as Linux integrates a FPU emulator anyway. The developer stated that he was inspired by Qemu and was interested in finding out how optimized JavaScript code could be programmed for modern JavaScript engines. The result has rather limited use, but further development could turn the application into a full emulator that could run old software or games within a web browser.

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Douglas Perry is an author and journalist from Portland, Oregon. His many articles have appeared in the likes of Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, The Oregonian, and several newspapers. He has covered topics including security, hardware, and cars, and has written five books. In his spare time, he enjoys watching The Sopranos.