WASI is an initiative with a clean set of APIs which can be implemented on multiple platforms by multiple engines, and which don't depend on browser functionality (although they still can run in browsers).
# Capability-Oriented The design follows CloudABI's (and in turn Capsicum)'s concept of capability-based security, which fits well into WebAssembly's sandbox model. Files, directories, network sockets, and other resources are identified by UNIX-like file descriptors, which are indices into external tables whose elements represent capabilities. Similar to how core WebAssembly provides no ability to access the outside world without calling imported functions, WASI APIs provide no ability to access the outside world without an associated capability.
For example, instead of a typical open system call, WASI provides an openat-like system call, requiring the calling process to have a file descriptor for a directory that contains the file, representing the capability to open files within that directory. (These ideas are common in capability-based systems.) page