​Swift goes open source at Apple WWDC 2015

It took Apple long enough, but Swift, Apple's iOS and OS X programming language, is finally going open source.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When Apple introduced Swift, "Objective C without the C" in 2014, some people thought it would be great, Others saw it as highlighting Apple's worst side. In any event, programmers have quickly adopted Swift. Now, at Apple WWDC 2015, Apple has lit a fire under the language by open-sourcing it.

Apple is making Swift open source.

In an announcement that had the crowd shouting its approval, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said "We think Swift is the next big programming language. We think Swift should be everywhere and used by everyone. So we're going to do something really big. Today we're announcing that Swift will be open source."

While Apple hoped Swift would make coding easier, faster and more stable while creating results that perform better in the end. it hasn't been without problems and bugs. By open-sourcing it, Apple hopes to find and fix these bugs faster.

"We will be rolling out the compiler and standard libraries for iOS, OSX and Linux. It will all be out there by the end of the year," said Federighi,

Federighi continued:

"Swift provides a single language to create apps for both OS X and iOS. There are really so many possibilities for you to use these platforms and these tools to create unbelievable apps that will impact health-care, education and really everything in our lives. There's seemingly no limit to what you can do."

He added that Swift will be adding new language features. This won't be at the expense of speed. Federighi said, "Swift was designed from the beginning to be fast. continued to roll out targeted optimizations all year long. Now [in Swift 2.0 the language will include] whole module optimization."

Before Apple made this move there was already an effort afoot to make an open-source Swift fork, Phoenix. With this move, Apple has stolen this group's thunder.

Linux developers, such as Red Hat's Jan Wildeboer, are already finding the idea that Apple is not just open-sourcing Swift, but bringing it to Linux, fascinating.

Apple has not announced a hard date for when the code will arrive other than it will be by year's end. In addition, Apple did not announce which open-source license it would use for Swift 2.0.

Apple WWDC 2015 keynote highlights

Related Stories:

Editorial standards