Portions of Apple's Grand Central Dispatch Go Open Source
Daring Fireball's John Gruber noted yesterday that Apple has released libdispatch, the source code for the user space implementation of Grand Central Dispatch, taking a significant portion of the company's technology for more efficiently utilizing multicore processors open source. While some may consider the move a surprise due to the technology's key role in the core of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, MacResearch points out several reasons why the move may not be all that risky for Apple.
So why did they do it? Only Apple knows for sure, but there are compelling arguments for open sourcing Grand Central Dispatch, even for a commercial enterprise. First, Apple will of course reap the rewards of any development that takes place, just as they have with WebKit. Second, it is unlikely that Grand Central would be used by any direct competitor to Apple, like Microsoft. Grand Central is more likely to be added to other UNIX and Linux systems, none of which really pose a threat to Apple's consumer-based business.
Opening up Grand Central Dispatch for broader distribution into the UNIX community could ultimately serve to spark new innovations using the technology that could make their way back to the Mac platform. In addition, wider distribution of the technology could drive the adoption of other technologies such as blocks, the non-standard extension to the C programming language upon which Grand Central Dispatch is based.