Back in June at WWDC 2015 Apple surprised a number of people by announcing that they would be making their Swift programming language open source in the near future. Swift is, in a way, a successor to Apple's Objective-C programming language. It opens up development for iOS and OS X to developers that may have struggled with some of the idiosyncrasies of Objective-C, while also including a number of features that have become common among modern programming languages.

Today it appears that everything relating to licensing has been sorted out, and with version 2.2 the Swift programming language will now be made available under the Apache License 2.0, which is the same open source license used by the Android operating system. With Swift going open source, any member of the community can now propose additions to the language. The project is now available on the Apple Github account, along with some other repositories that are home to supporting tools like versions of the LLVM compiler and LLDB debugger for Swift.

Along with today's announcement of Swift going open source, there are some notices regarding the development of Swift 3. With Swift still being very much in development, Apple is giving developers a heads up that anything they write now is liable to break with future updates and will need to be fixed to support new coding styles, syntax, etc. There are some other announcements as well, such as a new package manager for sharing and distributing Swift code which would be great to see integrated into OS X in the future. Developers who are interested in some of today's Swift-related developments can get more info from the official Swift website.

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  • robco - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    In exchange for covering hosting, bandwidth, transaction fees, providing development tools, etc.
  • dsumanik - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    actually, apple charges you the developer 100 bucks a year, just for the opportunity to take 30% of the money you would make normally.

    It's funny how IOS devs think they are something special, when really all they are doing is learning how to use an API, lol
  • solipsism - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    "actually, apple charges you the developer 100 bucks a year, just for the opportunity to take 30% of the money you would make normally."

    No they don't. You're free to use their tools and docs, make a Mac app, and distribute anywhere you wish without Paying Apple a dime. It's only if you choose to use the Mac App Store do you have to pay 30% for your Mac app.
  • robco - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    Google charges $25 and also takes a cut.

    Unless you've written every piece of code in the stack, all you too are doing is learning how to use tools created by others. But I'm sure you wrote your own programming language, compiler, editor, etc.
  • jasonelmore - Saturday, December 5, 2015 - link

    and make you buy a $1500+ Apple machine on top of 30%
  • IanHagen - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    What a salty comment. Tell me, how is Cocoa development any different from Android, Rails, Java EE, .NET, Django, etc? Writing software on top of an framework (which is different from an API) is similar across the board. The only funny thing in here is the rubbish you're writing.
  • easp - Monday, December 7, 2015 - link

    Hosting/bandwidth/transaction fees, etc, are all significant costs. Costs are only half the equation though. For most developers, Apple also provides a lot of value by making a market for iOS apps.
  • OreoCookie - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    Microsoft and Google make these attempts because of iOS, and you need a Mac to develop for iOS. So from that perspective it's clear why Microsoft and Google do what they do, and it's not because they have a fundamentally different attitude towards open source, it's that this is what their goals require. To misconstrue that as altruism is misleading. Excluding Windows at this point makes sense to me: Swift on other platforms seems better suited to projects that do not require a native GUI. Instead, I reckon it'll be used first for back end stuff, not exactly Windows forte.

    Developers should choose whatever gets the job done. Soon plenty of people will know how to program in Swift because this is where iOS and OS X are going. So being able to use Swift on other platforms will allow programmers to re-use their skills and potentially even their code. That actually sounds quite enticing, but of course only time will tell.

    People forget that Apple is behind one of the most successful open source projects there is, WebKit. So while some of their open source efforts are meh (Darwin) others are indeed very popular. In principle, open sourcing Swift (which is part of a larger trend, see .NET) is beneficial for the company because it in principle allows for it to be used much more broadly. If you read Apple's documentation, they provide a guidance what features to expect in 3.0, and one of the major features is a stable ABI. Hence, from 3.0 on things should not “totally break”. We have no idea how they will react to community input and whether it will be successful, only time will tell. But IMHO they are doing the right thing.
  • IanHagen - Friday, December 4, 2015 - link

    What excites me the most is that companies as RemObjects which makes really nice cross-platform portings of programming languages will be further empowered with Swift being open-sourced. I really like the idea of using Xamarin and C# to develop for three platforms at once and I prefer Swift to C#, so the prospect of a Swift version of Xamarin really, really appeals me.
  • ciparis - Thursday, December 3, 2015 - link

    "If you are a developer which path would you chose?"

    I chose the path with the most paying app-users.

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