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Microsoft joins power-packed tech alliance to find new uses for WebAssembly

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Microsoft has joined the list of tech heavyweights in the Bytecode Alliance, centered around the WebAssembly (opens in new tab) open standard.

WebAssembly was conceptualized as a means to enable browsers to execute compiled programs directly. This allowed developers to have their applications in C, C++ and Rust and run at native speed within a browser, as opposed to porting them to JavaScript (opens in new tab).

Soon however the developers realized that WebAssembly’s technical properties, particularly memory isolation, which allows untrusted code components to interact with trusted code inside of a sandboxed environment, the open standard has a wide variety of potential use cases outside of the web browser. 

Non-profit alliance

This was the primary motivation for Mozilla (opens in new tab), Red Hat, Intel (opens in new tab) and Fastly to come together and form the Bytecode Alliance in 2019 (opens in new tab), to extend the WebAssembly and other related open standards such as the WebAssembly System Interface (WASI) to a broader set of environments. 

The alliance contends that WebAssembly and WASI help build the foundation that developers can leverage to run untrusted code securely across various deployments, from the cloud (opens in new tab) to Internet of Things (IoT) devices on the edge.

The alliance has since welcomed several other tech industry majors into their fold, including Microsoft, Arm, and Google.

"WebAssembly and the emerging WebAssembly System Interface (WASI) specification enable cloud-native solutions to become more secure by default and help solve computing challenges across a variety of environments, including the 'tiny edge' of systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) and microcontroller units (MCUs)," said Ralph Squillace, principal program manager, Azure Core Upstream, at Microsoft and Bytecode Alliance board member in a statement.

Via The Register (opens in new tab)

Mayank Sharma
Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.