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InfoQ Homepage News Swift 5.3 Will Expand Officially Supported Platforms to Windows and Additional Linux Distributions

Swift 5.3 Will Expand Officially Supported Platforms to Windows and Additional Linux Distributions

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Swift 5.3 has recently entered the final stage of its development with the creation of the release/5.3 branch. One of the major goals for the upcoming Swift release is extending official platform support, including additional Linux distributions and Windows.

As usual, the Swift team has detailed the process that will eventually lead to the release of Swift 5.3, clarifying its motivations and goals. Besides "significant quality and performance enhancements", one of the key features in Swift 5.3 is official support for Windows and Linux. As a matter of fact, this is the first time the Swift release process will count on three platform release managers, Nicole Jacque for the Darwin platform, Tom Doron for Linux, and Saleem Abdulrasool for Windows. As usual, since Chris Lattner left Apple, Ted Kremenek is the overall release manager.

As a first outcome of the commitment to bring Swift to Linux, the Swift team has announced the availability of new Swift Linux distributions, including Ubuntu 20.04, CentOS 8, Amazon Linux 2. Porting Swift to CentOS and Amazon Linux required a number of subtle changes such as switching to a different libcurl version for FoundationNetworking, adapting the Swift package manager to Fedora packaging system, and dropping the dependency on libatomic. For each supported platform, the Swift team provides a downloadable toolchain and Docker images.

It is not clear at the moment if Apple has any plans to port Swift UI to Windows and/or Linux, thus pushing Swift adoption for client-side development on those platforms. It is hard to think that any Windows programmer would prefer Swift as a language over .NET languages, as many commenters pointed out on Reddit, but a port of Swift UI on Windows could be a game changer.

The availability of Swift on Windows and Linux will overcome one of the major hurdles that impaired Swift adoption for server-side development and possibly fuel the growth of an ecosystem of Swift cross-platform packages.

You can get the list of all proposals that are being considered for inclusion in Swift 5.3, including full discussion of motivation and solution, in the Swift Evolution repository.

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