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Emscripten Compiler Gets Optimizations, Now Self-Hosting 60

Emscripten is an LLVM-based compiler from dozens of languages to JavaScript (previously demoed as a repl and used to port Doom to the browser), and some recent changes have made it a bit faster, and allowed it to compile itself. Some highlights include a redundant variable eliminator, parallelization of the optimizier and compiler, and a new relooper. From the developer's weblog: "With all of the emscripten optimization passes now in JavaScript, I then worked on parallelizing that. ... The speedup can be close to linear in the number of cores. ... For the LLVM to JS compiler, I made the emscripten compiler parallel as well: It splits up the LLVM IR into 3 main parts: type data, function data, and globals. The function data part is unsurprisingly by far the largest in all cases I checked (95% or so), and it can in principle be parallelized - so I did that. Like in the optimizer, we use a Python process pool which feeds chunks of function data to multiple JavaScript compiler instances. There is some overhead due to chunking, and the type data and globals phases are not parallelized, but overall this can be a close to linear speedup. ... [On the new relooper] Note that this update makes Emscripten a 'self-hosting compiler' in a sense: one of the major optimization passes must be compiled to JS from C++, using Emscripten itself. Since this is an optimization pass, there is no chicken-and-egg problem: We bootstrap the relooper by first compiling it without optimizations, which works because we don't need to reloop there. We then use that unoptimized build of the relooper (which reloops properly, but slowly since it itself is unoptimized) in Emscripten to compile the relooper once more, generating the final fully-optimized version of the relooper, or 'relooped relooper' if you will."

Sandboxed Flash Player Coming To Firefox 86

Trailrunner7 writes "Adobe, which has spent the last few years trying to dig out of a deep hole of vulnerabilities and buggy code, is making a major change to Flash, adding a sandbox to the version of the player that runs in Firefox. The sandbox is designed to prevent many common exploit techniques against Flash. The move by Adobe comes roughly a year after the company added a sandbox to Flash for Google Chrome. Flash, which is perhaps the most widely deployed piece of software on the Internet, has been a common attack vector for several years now, and the attacks in some cases have been used to get around exploit mitigations added by the browser vendors. The sandbox is designed to prevent many of these attacks by not allowing exploits against Flash to break out into the browser itself."
The Almighty Buck

Failed MMO APB To Be Resurrected As Free-To-Play Game 90

Two months ago, we discussed news that Realtime Worlds' action MMO APB closed its doors only a few months after launch, when it became clear that player interest and subscriber numbers couldn't begin to recoup the massive development cost. A few days ago, a company called Reloaded Productions, owned by free-to-play publisher GamersFirst, acquired all the rights and assets to APB. The company plans to relaunch the game as APB: Reloaded in the first half of 2011, abandoning its unusual business model in favor of free-to-play accounts supplemented by microtransactions and premium services.

Dwarf Planets Accumulate In Outer Solar System 93

An anonymous reader tips a piece in Australian Geographic indicating that Pluto may be in for another demotion, as researchers work to define dwarf planets more exactly. "[Australian researchers] now argue that the radius which defines a dwarf planet should instead be from 200–300 km, depending on whether the object is made of ice or rock. They base their smaller radius on the limit at which objects naturally form a spherical rather than potato-like shape because of 'self-gravity.' Icy objects less than 200 km (or rocky objects less than 300 km) across are likely to be potato shapes, while objects larger than this are spherical. ... They call this limit the 'potato radius' ... [One researcher is quoted] 'I have no problem with there being hundreds of dwarf planets eventually.'"

Venezuela's Last Opposition TV Owner Arrested 433

WrongSizeGlass writes "AP is reporting the owner of Venezuela's only remaining TV channel that takes a critical line against President Hugo Chavez was arrested Thursday. 'Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of Globovision, was arrested on a warrant for remarks that were deemed "offensive" to the president,' Attorney General Luisa Ortega said. This comes on the heels of last week's story titled Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom."

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