FAQ

Licensing

How is Intel® TBB licensed?

As of September 2016 Intel® TBB is dual-licensed, with a commercial (COM) license as part of the suite products ( Intel® Parallel Studio XE Suites , Intel System Studio Suites ) and as open source under Apache v2.0 license.

What is dual-licensing?

Wikipedia offers a description of dual-licensing for software, “Dual-licensing is the practice of distributing software under two different sets of terms and conditions.” The articles later states, “When software is dual-licensed, recipients can choose which terms they want to use or distribute the software under.” This is true of the dual-licensing used by Intel® TBB. Although Intel® TBB is dual-licensed, both the COM and OSS versions are derived from the exact same code base (source and/or binaries).

Why does Intel® TBB use dual-licensing?

Some users of Intel® TBB want or require a COM license. Who are these users and why might they require this license type?

  • Commercial customers often want or require certain aspects particular to the COM license type. Some of these items might include guaranteed and private support services, product updates, or other provisions of COM license. The COM license is available only for those versions of Intel® TBB that have validated and supported binaries for a limited number of platforms. This means that those versions are the most stable and most tested releases. In conjunction with each COM release of Intel® TBB we also release the same source code and binaries via the OSS commercial-aligned releases. 
  • Some other Intel COM software products (e.g. Intel® Parallel Studio XE Suites, Intel® Intel System Studio Suites ) are used by COM users of Intel® TBB. Some of those products include COM licenses for Intel® TBB and therefore many users of Intel® TBB are comfortable using the version of Intel® TBB they acquired through a COM product bundle.
What are the ramifications of dual-licensing?

Users of Intel® TBB can get the same exact code as any Intel® TBB COM release (same code base, same binaries) under either the COM or OSS license. More frequent releases are available under the OSS license (stable releases, with source code and validated binaries; or development releases). COM or OSS users of Intel® TBB can use the contribution process on threadingbuildingblocks.org to make changes to Intel® TBB.

What is the COM license and what does it offer?

One year of technical support and product updates. For more information about the COM license please refer to the licensing agreement section at www.threadingbuildingblocks.com. In addition, there is a free evaluation (30-days of support and updates) license available from the commercial website. Although we used to offer a free non-commercial version of Intel® TBB that license type is no longer available due to the availability of OSS Intel® TBB.

What is the OSS license and what does it offer?

Intel® TBB is now available under Apache v2.0 license.Apache v2.0 license is a permissive free software license which allows the user of the software the freedom to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software, under the terms of the license, without concern for royalties..

Some users of Intel® TBB want or require OSS licenses. Who are these users and why might they require this license type?

Open-source customers often want or require certain aspects particular to the OSS license type. Some of these items might include the very latest developer updates, free access to the source code, or other provisions of OSS license.

Why is Intel® TBB licensed under Apache v2.0?

Intel® TBB is always committed to the needs of its customers and we want to encourage our customers to create successful commercial products using Intel TBB. Hence the move to a more permissive style Apache license that is conducive to commercial development and proprietary redistribution. The Apache License (ASL) is a permissive free software license written by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). The Apache License requires preservation of the copyright notice and disclaimer. Like other free software licenses, the license allows the user of the software the freedom to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software, under the terms of the license, without concern for royalties. For complete descriptions please visit the official Apache website for more information on Apache v2.0.

Has Intel® TBB recently moved from GPL to Apache license?

Yes. Intel TBB was under GPL license until August 2016. As of September 2016 Intel TBB is relicensed under Apache v2.0 license.

Which versions of TBB are on Apache v2.0 license and which versions are under GPL license?

TBB Version 4.4 and any older version will be under GPL license TBB Version 2017 and all future versions will be under Apache v2.0 license.