Compared to other technology companies, Apple is known to lock down its code. However, last year the company decided to open source Swift, its rapidly growing iOS and OS X app development programming language.
Going one step ahead, Apple has decided to bring Swift to Linux with the release of Swift 2.2. If we talk about specific Linux distributions, at the moment, Swift supports Ubuntu Linux 14.04 and 15.10.
In its announcement post, Apple writes that the Linux port is relatively new and this release excludes the Swift Core Libraries which will be ported later in Swift 3. However, the current support includes the REPL and LLDB. LLDB is LLVM project’s debugger and also finds use in Apple’s Xcode. On the other hand, REPL is a the language shell.
Swift 2.2 is a minor release that includes contributions from 212 non-Apple developers which is a great news for the open source future of the programming language.
Some main features of Swift 2.2:
- Linux support
- Allowing keywords as argument labels
- Naming functions with Argument labels
- Numerous bug fixes
- Enhancements to diagnostics
- Faster-running code
- Tuple comparison operators
- Swift Language Version Build Configuration
- Replace typealias keyword with associatedtype for associated type declarations
- Referencing the Objective-C selector of a method
It looks like Apple is following its arch rival Microsoft in the open source playground. Maybe these tech giants have realised the true meaning of open source and FOSS. “I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software. It’s the right way to do things,” as Linus Torvalds says.