Intel Takes Open-Source Hyperscan Development To Proprietary Licensed Software

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 10 May 2024 at 10:07 AM EDT. 31 Comments
While Intel can be praised for their dozens (or likely by now, hundreds) of open-source projects they maintain and countless other existing open-source software projects they actively contribute to and are covered by Phoronix on a near-daily basis, not everything there is open-source. Intel is a wonderful and leading open-source promoter but occasionally there are closed-source blobs or questionable moves such as today: Intel is taking their Hyperscan library development from BSD-licensed open-source software to now the Intel Proprietary License moving forward.

Hyperscan has been developed by Intel for many years... It's been open-source since the Hyperscan 4.0 release in 2016. This is a high performance regular expression matching library optimized for Intel processors from Atom/embedded type systems all the way through Xeon Scalable. Hyperscan is further described on the project site as:
"Hyperscan is a high performance regular expression matching library from Intel that runs on x86 platforms and offers support for Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE) syntax, simultaneous matching of groups of regular expressions, and streaming operations. It is released as open source software under a BSD license. Hyperscan presents a flexible C API and a number of different modes of operation to ensure its applicability in real networking scenarios. Moreover, a focus on efficient algorithms and the use of IntelĀ® Streaming SIMD Extensions (IntelĀ® SSE) enables Hyperscan to achieve high matching performance. It is suitable for usage scenarios such as deep packet inspection (DPI), intrusion detection systems (IDS), intrusion prevention system (IPS), and firewalls, and has been deployed in network security solutions worldwide. Hyperscan has also been integrated into widely used open-source IDS and IPS products like Snort* and Suricata*."

The most recent tagged release was Hyperscan 5.4.2 last year under a BSD 3-Clause license. GitHub activity since then has dried up. It turns out Hyperscan has gone proprietary.

It was pointed out today on the Fedora mailing list that the Hyperscan package is being retired from that distribution. That's being done due to Hyperscan 5.5+ going under a proprietary/closed-source license.

The Intel Hyperscan documentation indeed confirms that Hyperscan is now developed as closed-source software under the Intel Proprietary License:

Intel Hyperscan gone proprietary

Well, that's an open-source disappointment... And it's a freaking regular expression matching library that Intel is now making closed-source.

The Hyperscan project page also mentions its new proprietary nature in being available via Intel sales reps:
"Intel has an upgraded library version that is available through your Intel sales representative."

Now that's even worse than being just proprietary software but if it were at least freely available to download... So now Hyperscan is just for Intel customers.

Fedora for their part is looking at packaging Vectorscan given Hyperscan going closed-source. Vectorscan is a fork from Hyperscan 5.4 while adding in ARM NEON/ASIMD and PowerVSX support among other non-Intel platform improvements. Vectorscan was started as a fork of Hyperscan after Intel engineers rejected open-source pull requests for enhancing the ARM support.

While Intel does immense good for the open-source and Linux ecosystems and have been doing so for many years, taking Hyperscan proprietary is a rather strange change of pace and hopefully isn't going to be part of any broader software trends at the company. Again, it's just a regular expression matching library (and one that performs best on Intel platforms already) that they now feel the need to make closed-source/proprietary and gated behind a sales rep after eight years as an open-source project...
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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