by Swapnil Bhartiya

Microsoft open sources Javascript engine behind its Edge browser

Jan 14, 2016
LinuxOpen Source

Source code for the Chakra Javascript engine is now available on GitHub

Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has started releasing more and more of its software as open source. Yesterday the company released as open source the Chakra Javascript engine that powers Microsoft’s Edge browser.

The sources for ChakraCore are now available under the MIT licence at the ChakraCore GitHub repository. This choice of licence is interesting because MIT licence is one of the most liberal licenses — anyone is free to take the code and use it in open source and proprietary products.

Unlike many other commercial open source projects, ChakraCore will be developed in the open and community contributions will be accepted. “Once the changes from any pull request have been vetted, our goal is to ensure that all changes find their way to be shipped as a part of the JavaScript engine powering Microsoft Edge and the Universal Windows Platform on Windows 10,” Gaurav Seth, principal PM manager, Chakra, said in a blog post.

Perhaps the biggest story here is that Microsoft is bringing ChakraCore to Linux. Really. Seth wrote: “In the future, we are committed to bringing it to other platforms, starting with Linux, and will keep the roadmap updated with details and status updates as we make progress.”

ChakraCore may be just the beginning of Microsoft open sourcing its core user-facing technologies.

Earlier Microsoft announced that it is killing backward compatibility with IE in Edge, freeing it from the legacy of IE, to move forward. In addition to the Chakra Javascript engine, Edge is also powered by a new rendering engine (EdgeHTML). It will be interesting to see if the company will also open source EdgeHTML and other components, making Edge an open source based browser similar to Google Chrome or Firefox.