Apple has open-sourced libdispatch, better known to most people as Grand Central Dispatch.
Grand Central Dispatch is something that developers - at least those who attend WWDC - have known about for well over two years. It's not something that your typical computer user would get excited over, but from the perspective of a developer, it's a really exciting technology that allows you to leverage the power of all the processing units in a given machine relatively easily.
When I saw the GCD demo that Bertrand Serlet gave at WWDC 2008, I was blown away. I looked at it as a game changer for the long term. Until there's a huge breakthrough in chip technology, utilizing multiple cores and multiple processors is the way to improved performance and this looked like something that was going to launch them way ahead of everyone else.
I saw GCD as a huge competitive advantage for Apple. And now, they're giving it away under a fairly liberal open source license (the
I think it's awesome, but I'm honestly surprised by it. Strategically speaking, it's an odd move. I see the benefit to Apple for having the block notation and syntax be an open standard. I'm having some trouble seeing the strategic benefit to letting other people use this amazing technology for free. I have to think this will buy at least a tiny amount of good karma from the Open Source community. Maybe.