Facebook may release its core C++ library this year

Facebook is looking to open source some of its core C++ library code, according to one of the company's research engineers. Other than sometime in 2012, exact timing is unknown.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook is considering open sourcing at least one of its C++ libraries. The little kernel of news is buried in a Server-Side Magazine interview with Facebook research engineer Andrei Alexandrescu, who works on Facebook's core C++ library. Here's the relevant excerpt that I found (truthfully, the whole interview is worth reading, so go check it out):

This year may also see the launch of some of Facebook's core C++ library code. We're quite excited about that; there is some really cool stuff in there, most of which is directly aimed at high-performance server-side computing. Definitely something to watch for.

Facebook uses C++ heavily on its back-end systems. This is for performance reasons, but of course there are drawbacks as well, such as compilation times. If the C++ code is open-sourced, it could be quite useful. After all, Facebook obviously cares more about its back-end than its front-end, which means its C++ code must be pristine, at least when compared to its PHP code.

If you want to learn even more about how Facebook uses C++, you should also read "HipHop for PHP: Move Fast" on Facebook Developers:

HipHop for PHP isn't technically a compiler itself. Rather it is a source code transformer. HipHop programmatically transforms your PHP source code into highly optimized C++ and then uses g++ to compile it. HipHop executes the source code in a semantically equivalent manner and sacrifices some rarely used features — such as eval() — in exchange for improved performance. HipHop includes a code transformer, a reimplementation of PHP's runtime system, and a rewrite of many common PHP Extensions to take advantage of these performance optimizations.

I don't pretend to understand it all, but I can definitely appreciate that Facebook is trying to explain it to anyone who wants to read it.

C++ and PHP have their own Facebook Pages, with over 73,000 Likes and 218,000 Likes, respectively.

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