But for once, the danger was in the open source
The Inquirer, August 17, 2015
By Chris Merriman
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INCREDIBUILD has been telling The INQUIRER about the release of the latest version of its acceleration software, including the debut of a Linux version.
The Tel Aviv-based company began producing Incredibuild 13 years ago under the name Xoreax Software with a suite to accelerate building, compiling and development. Originally produced for Microsoft Visual Studio, the suite has now branched out into versions for dev tools, make and build tools and game development.
The company has now announced that it is bringing the tech, which can decrease compilation time by a factor of 30 in some cases, to Linux and Android development.
The INQUIRER spoke to CEO Eyal Maor about the release. He told us: “When we started out, we wanted to break the paradigm that compilation had to take forever in Windows and more recently we decided we wanted to do the same for Linux.”
The software uses virtualisation techniques which were, to say the least, ahead of their time when the company started out.
“We hear a lot today about Docker. What we’ve developed is actually quite similar to Docker in that it has agents which are installed on many different computers, and we use the computers’ idle CPU cycles to process other types of application processes. Plus, we have the ability to visualise the granular build of a process itself,” he said.
But initially, the company wasn’t sure whether there was an opportunity there. “At first, we weren’t even sure if it was feasible, so there were several months just doing experiments and proof-of-concept and we were quite convinced that it was a reasonable endeavour before production began,” explained Maor.
Unusually, the problem comes from the open nature of Linux – not a complaint one hears every day!
“Any API call, any file is very specific and we need to know what’s going on, because we’re using a different computer or computers to speed up the compilation. That is not something very easy to do as you have to predict any possible scenario that might occur in real time,” he said.
“Windows is a closed environment, and one of the advantages of a closed environment is that you know what you can expect. In an open environment, someone could change a flavour, or add a line of code that changes the behaviour in a way that you haven’t been able to predict.”
Incredibuild has already confirmed support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 and Windows 10 in its latest edition, and has demonstrated a rebuild of an Unreal engine which took 50 minutes on a local machine reduced to 7.5 minutes.
Adding Linux and Android to the mix will bring the benefits to even more developers and, while Maor wouldn’t be drawn on timescales, there are suggestions that iOS and OS X versions could arrive further down the line.
Incredibuild 7 is available now on a freemium pay-as-you-use model.