Facebook to developers: Here, have some code!

The company releases "Scribe," a product developed internally to help scale the social-networking site, as open-source code.

Facebook is known for keeping its cards pretty close to its chest, so to speak. But in recent months, the company has been drumming up its commitment to open source --and on Friday, Facebook announced that a piece of internally created software, called "Scribe," would be released back to the open source community.

So what is Scribe? Well, per a post on Facebook's blog, it's been instrumental in helping Facebook handle the enormous amounts of data that come through its servers. As the page for Scribe says, "If you use the site, you've used Scribe." More specifically, it's a "server for aggregating log data streamed in real time from a large number of servers...designed to be scalable, extensible without client-side modification, and robust to failure of the network or any specific machine," which means that the average Facebook user won't have much use for the newly open-sourced product.

The release of Scribe is also, in a sense, a message to some of the critics who've been skeptical of Facebook's ability to keep its infrastructure humming along at a reasonable cost now that it has more than 100 million active users sending messages and uploading photos around the clock. By releasing Scribe as open source, Facebook is effectively saying, "Not only can we come up with something to run our site efficiently, we'll let you see it, too."

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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