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Intel proves its open source chops with Threading Building Blocks 2.0

Intel isn't the first company you'd suspect of a dalliance with open source. It's a hardware company, after all. Right? Well, not really, as its recent open source activity would suggest, and especially today's announcement of the open sourcing of Threa

Peter Galli at eWeek is reporting on Intel's open sourcing of its Threading Building Blocks 2.0 software, a C++ template library that simplifies the development of software applications running in parallel. The software solves a big problem: helping developers write applications that live and breathe well in a multi-processor world.

Intel is not doing this out of pure charity, though after spending some time with Dirk Hohndel this morning, I think there is some of that involved. No, the more value people find in applications, the more applications they'll buy/systems they'll buy. That helps Intel.

Intel, however, shows its open source acumen in how and why it's open sourcing TBB:

While the commercial product supports Windows, Linux and the Mac OS X, the open-source version will also support Solaris 10, FreeBSD and the G5 processor on Mac OS.

"These are implemented in a build, but we don't have much experience using them on those platforms, so we are looking to the community to help us with those. The plan going forward is to support even more processors and operating systems," Reinders said.

The TBB product was first released in August 2006, and Intel has been hearing from users since then that they wanted the product to be available everywhere and for a very long time, Reinders said. "They told us that if they had both those assurances, then it would be worth programming using this method," he said. Open source was a very natural and appropriate way to provide both of those....

Indeed. As Public Image Ltd. (PIL) once sang, "This is not a love song." ("Happy to have, not to have not. Big business is very wise. I'm crossing over into enterprise.") Intel is proving itself to be one of the savviest of open source companies. Not bad for an alleged hardware company.