Apple Open Sources Snow Leopard's Grand Central Dispatch

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Despite being a unique, key marketing feature of Snow Leopard, Apple has decided to open the code behind Grand Central Dispatch under the liberal Apache 2.0 license.



Snow Leopard's new Grand Central Dispatch feature, which serves as a system-wide mechanism for managing parallel task execution across multiple processor cores for developers, involves multiple components in the operating system.



The user-space implementation of the Grand Central Dispatch services API, called libdispatch, has been delivered as its own open source project, joining with other components that are part of projects Apple has already designated as open, including the kernel components in the Darwin OS XNU kernel and the blocks runtime that is part of the LLVM project.



Apple's code giveaway was "something of a surprise," according to MacResearch, a website covering the use of Apple technologies in the scientific research community, because the new feature of Snow Leopard "could be seen to give Apple a competitive edge in the new world of multi-core."



However, opening the code to the community could help pave the way for its adoption. Writing for MacResearch, Drew McCormack noted, "Until today, it would have been very unlikely that any new UNIX tools would be developed on Mac OS X using Grand Central, simply because they would only run on the Mac. With the possibility that Grand Central will become available on other UNIX systems, the likelihood that Grand Central will be incorporated into command line tools is greatly increased."



McCormack said there was little risk to Apple of sharing its new code, saying that it was "unlikely that Grand Central would be used by any direct competitor to Apple, like Microsoft," and noting that its adoption by other Unix and Linux systems would not "really pose a threat to Apple?s consumer-based business."



Apple contributes to and runs a variety of open source projects, from WebKit to CUPS. Some efforts to open source its code have been wildly successful, while other have seen little enthusiasm. For example, there has been no real interest in Apple's launchd among the greater open source community out side of Mac OS X, in large measure because it would require a massive reworking of Linux in order to put it to use.



Open source support for other Apple code that is easier for others to use has been a mixed bag. There has been some limited use of Darwin Streaming Server, Apple's RTSP streaming project incorporated in Mac OS X Server as QuickTime Streaming Server. Webkit has been wildly successful, particularly in the mobile arena. Bonjour has been implemented for Linux, and taken in new directions.



Significant new outside interest in Grand Central Dispatch could result in a wider support base for building parallelism compatible with Apple's other open technologies, such as OpenCL. The availability of the dispatcher on Linux and other Unix operating systems would also help generate demand for other command line utilities that tap into its power. That would help Apple leverage its technologies in markets where it has a minority position, such as in the enterprise and supercomputing.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    Clearly a move against Microsoft Windows ... the ground work for further Mac OS X and 'X' adoption will be the trend in the next few years.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    A major software effort and now they are releasing it? They obviously believe strengthening Unix in general will strengthen OS X.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    Very little risk indeed.



    Grand Central Dispatch is technology with great promise but that hinges

    on its ability to be integrated into tools and put into use.



    Apple only benefits by having the technology in more hands and it certainly

    helps OpenCL's chances as well.
  • Reply 4 of 43
    So much for the critics that have charged Apple only takes from the FOSS community and doesn't give back. Glad to see that a legitimate company can make money while still benefitting the FOSS community. Not all companies have to be Microsoft to get ahead.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    So uh... When can I expect to see this in Ubuntu?
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Because of Exchange, Mac users at work are being forced to use Entourage/Exchange for email.





    It would be ideal if Apple could release a robust, user-friendly, feature-filled open-source mail server. We need an "Exchange killer" to stem the tide of migrations from unix mail systems to Exchange.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,729member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Despite begin a unique, ...



    Typo?
  • Reply 8 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bourgoises Pig View Post


    Because of Exchange, Mac users at work are being forced to use Entourage/Exchange for email.



    What do you mean? I'm using Apple Mail right now using ActiveSync with Exchange, and I don't feel forced into anything.



    If you're talking about Exchange market share, Apple's addressed the functionality in the latest Server product. Time will tell but nothing says Microsoft's hegemony must or will continue if the functionality exists elsewhere, and it does.
  • Reply 9 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's code giveaway was "something of a surprise," according to MacResearch, a website covering the use of Apple technologies in the scientific research community, because the new feature of Snow Leopard "could be seen to give Apple a competitive edge in the new world of multi-core."

    However, opening the code to the community could help pave the way for its adoption.



    Right. The time of excuses "we don't really have any applications, but we can run windows' ones for you" has gone along with Mac OS X 10.0. Something new should come in handy now.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    Gusty move by the smartest software developer on Earth. Lets hope this paves the way for total Windows PC humiliation.
  • Reply 11 of 43
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Typo?



    Exactly. The first sentence should have begun:



    Quote:

    Despite being a unique ...



  • Reply 12 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tauron View Post


    Gusty move by the smartest software developer on Earth. Lets hope this paves the way for total Windows PC humiliation.



    how could it, if someone would port GCD to Windows?
  • Reply 13 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobrik View Post


    how could it, if someone would port GCD to Windows?



    Not the style of Microsoft. They usually don't port existing technologies but rather try to copy the technology function in something of their own, that way they can make it proprietary so that developers can't create apps that are cross-platform. Why do you think opensource hates Microsoft so much, they take all their good ideas & ruin the tech market by developing their own poorer, incompatible, cousin.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bourgoises Pig View Post


    It would be ideal if Apple could release a robust, user-friendly, feature-filled open-source mail server. We need an "Exchange killer" to stem the tide of migrations from unix mail systems to Exchange.



    I don't agree with this. Cloud-based solutions are where the industry is going. Google's premium apps is a prime example of this. The days of maintaining your own server are numbered, at least for small-medium sized businesses.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ion497 View Post


    I don't agree with this. Cloud-based solutions are where the industry is going. Google's premium apps is a prime example of this. The days of maintaining your own server are numbered, at least for small-medium sized businesses.



    Please correct me if I am wrong, but state and federal government institutions require that email reside on servers owned by them. Apple should at least cut universities some slack...........
  • Reply 16 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Exactly. The first sentence should have begun:



    No kidding...I think that editor took the day off today! There are several typos in this...good read though!
  • Reply 17 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macosxp View Post


    So uh... When can I expect to see this in Ubuntu?



    Indeed! I would love to see my ubuntu server run circles around all the video trans-coding I have it do over night!
  • Reply 18 of 43
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Despite  being a unique, key marketing feature of Snow Leopard, Apple has decided to open the code behind Grand Central Dispatch under the liberal Apache 2.0 license.



    Snow Leopard's new Grand Central Dispatch feature, which serves as a system-wide mechanism for managing parallel task execution across multiple processor cores for developers, involves multiple components in the operating system.



    The user-space implementation of the Grand Central Dispatch services API, called libdispatch, has been delivered as its own open source project, joining with other components that are part of projects Apple has already designated as open, including the kernel components in the Darwin OS XNU kernel and the blocks runtime that is part of the LLVM project.



    Apple's code giveaway was "something of a surprise," according to MacResearch, a website covering the use of Apple technologies in the scientific research community, because the new feature of Snow Leopard "could be seen to give Apple a competitive edge in the new world of multi-core."



    However, opening the code to the community could help pave the way for its adoption. Writing for MacResearch, Drew McCormack noted, "Until today, it would have been very unlikely that any new UNIX tools would be developed on Mac OS X using Grand Central, simply because they would only run on the Mac. With the possibility that Grand Central will become available on other UNIX systems, the likelihood that Grand Central will be incorporated into command line tools is greatly increased."



    McCormack said there was little risk to Apple of sharing its new code, saying that it was "unlikely that Grand Central would be used by any direct competitor to Apple, like Microsoft," and noting that its adoption by other unix and Linux systems would not "really pose a threat to Apple?s consumer-based business."



    Apple contributes to and runs a variety of open source projects, from WebKit to CUPS. Some efforts to open source its code have been wildly successful, while other have seen little enthusiasm. For example, there has been no real interest in Apple's launched among the greater open source community out side of Mac OS X, in large measure because it would require a massive reworking of Linux in order to put it to use.



    Open source support for other Apple code that is easier for others to use has been a mixed bag. There has been some limited use of Darwin Streaming Server, Apple's RTSP streaming project incorporated in Mac OS X Server as QuickTime Streaming Server. Webkit has been wildly successful, particularly in the mobile arena. Bonjour has been implemented for Linux, and taken in new directions.



    Significant new outside interest in Grand Central Dispatch could result in a wider support base for building parallelism compatible with Apple's other open technologies, such as OpenCL. The availability of the dispatcher on Linux and other Unix operating systems would also help generate demand for other command line utilities that tap into its power. That would help Apple leverage its technologies in markets where it has a minority position, such as in the enterprise and supercomputing.



    i guessdr spellgood is on vacation



    Hey mr kasper the whole world reads here . Looks so tacky when your writers can't spell.



    This is a great web site filled with cool people ,



    peace

    9
  • Reply 19 of 43
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bourgoises Pig View Post


    Please correct me if I am wrong, but state and federal government institutions require that email reside on servers owned by them.



    Really? Do you have something specific or is this just conjecture?



    I'm sincere - if you have something that can substantiate your claim please provide it as it would be most useful.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    This is to help facilitate the adoption of 'blocks' as part of the ANSI C language spec. These things take years of course but the concurrency stuff Apple have created is very, very cool and deserves wide adoption in Unix circles. Microsoft will of course have some overly complex fucked-up 'extended' version of it at some point.
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