Apple this week made an announcement worthy of applause and, indeed, the news received the loudest applause of opening day at WWDC. The company said it will open source its programming language Swift and allow developers to compile programs on Linux.
This is a smart move for Apple and a big win for the developer community. Apple has long valued developers, but this week adopted a key strategy that has become the defacto approach to programming languages: open source. For broad adoption, technology companies have realized they need to temper friction. By open sourcing Swift and allowing developers to innovate with it on any platform they use, Apple will benefit from increased innovation. With open source, you never know who will use your technology and that is a good thing. Open sourcing a programming language means easier adoption but also more collaboration as coders can share more easily, identify bugs and use the language on their platform of choice.
It’s inspiring to see companies like Apple and Microsoft validate the work we’ve been doing for more than two decades. As we move deeper into the complexities of the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile computing and automotive technologies (key battlefields in tech), Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google and many others look to open source software to advance innovation in these areas. Equipping the developer community with what it needs is the right way to go. Congratulations to Apple on this important move.