Top Apple Open Source Projects You Must Know


apple open source projectsWe’re bringing back the Top Open Source Projects watch list, and if you have been counting, that makes this one number five. Today’s industry player is the increasingly controversial Apple. Although Apple doesn’t advertise it, Apple has a long-time strong relationship with open source communities. Apple contributes to many open source projects as they incorporate them into iOS and the newly branded macOS, not to mention the pillars of the Apple operating systems being a mix-up of FreeBSD, the Mach Kernel, and the Darwin Kernel, plus much more open source software like the GNU Utils.

The benefits of opening up code come two-fold and tend to feedback into itself. First, the public benefits when the code is opened simply by having access. Then, the author benefits because the public can make recommendations, and possibly even changes. When the codebase becomes better as the result of the dialogue generated by the public forum around the code, it draws more attention. This is how the humble Linux kernel started and came to dominate the world of operating systems.

So, let’s take a look at the list of top Apple open source projects:


In 2014, Apple shocked the world with the announcement of its Swift programming language. Swift is a modern programming language with loads of features. It has seen unparalleled adoption rates and boasts quite out-of-the-box library considering it can leverage both C and Objective-C libraries and frameworks. Apple surprised the world, yet again, when they decided to open source their new language. Since then, Swift has gained popularity on Apple and Linux platforms.

WebKitapple webkit

Initially released in 1998 as KHTML, and part of the KDE project, WebKit has been around for quite some time. WebKit is the rendering engine that powers Safari, both desktop and mobile, as well as Google Chrome, desktop and mobile. WebKit has extensive standards support while maintaining performance, which is key with the sheer amount of media in modern websites. WebKit is a powerful piece of technology that continues to deliver.

ResearchKit and CareKitapple researchkit

These are two frameworks that are nothing but good intentions. ResearchKit is a framework that will allow medical professionals develop applications that can accurately track and measure illness and disease to an unprecedented degree, and combining with CareKit, it puts power in the hands of the patients themselves. Patients can easily supply their doctors with day-to-day updates pertaining to the progression or recession of medical conditions. This benefits both the patients as well as the medical research community. These two open source frameworks can potentially revolutionize medicine.

It’s easy to see that Apple takes open source seriously. They’re major contributors, and not just to the projects they lead. Be sure to check out the links provided to see where else Apple contributes as well as the contributions of other companies.

Do you think Apple contributes to open source enough? Do you think they can do better? Let us know how you feel about Apple’s relationship with open source in the comments below.

Also Read: Top Open Source Projects By Big Companies

Devin McElheran

Devin McElheran

IT professional by day and various hobbies by night.
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