Apple's Swift Goes Open Source So You Can Tailor it to Your Needs

By Gerald Lynch on at

Apple has announced that its Swift programming language is to go fully open source, following on from a June trial period. That walled garden badge? Apple's trying to shake it off.

Version 2.2 of the language, first launched at last year's WWDC, is now available at GitHub under an Apache 2.0 license that's free for anyone to tinker with. In theory, this should lead to more OS X, iOS, tvOS and WatchOS apps, not to mention those for the underlying Linux platform.

Designed to be reasonably welcoming, Swift is a simplified alternative interface to the Objective-C framework at the heart of Apple's software output. Compiler, debugger, foundation libraries, standard library, package manager, a read-eval-print loop - it's all in there.

“By making Swift open source the entire developer community can contribute to the programming language and help bring it to even more platforms,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.

That "more platforms" comment is an interesting one. Now open source, there's nothing to stop users tweaking Swift so that a version for Windows or Raspberry Pi could be developed. It's not quite a sledgehammer to Apple's walled-garden ecosystem, but at the very least it's handing devs a chisel to chip away at it with. Oh brave new world.