Apple is open sourcing one component of its new Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) operating system. Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) is key new feature in Snow Leopard that is intended to help optimize multicore processing for apps.
The open source effort is called ‘libdispatch’ and it’s being made available under the Apache open source license. According to Apple, the project currently includes the user space implementation of
the Grand Central Dispatch API as seen in Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow
The project page also notes that though the overall GCD effort has support for the Mac OS X kernel it isn’t required.
That’s a big deal. It means that GCD can be ported to other platforms potentially.
I’m not sure who would want to implement this. Considering the shared lineage that Mac OS X has with Unix and specifically FreeBSD, that might be one potential target.
Apple does after all have an ok track record with spinning out open source efforts. Actually come to think of it, I can only really think of one and that’s WebKit. It’s an effort that is still mostly run by Apple but Google and now RIM are also active as well.
Could the same sort of success come to GCD? I’m not so sure, but time will tell.