Thursday, May 7, 2020

Swift Supports New Linux Distributions ↦

The Swift open source project recently announced that they are now officially supporting some Linux distributions other than Ubuntu:

It is my pleasure to announce a new set of Linux distributions officially supported by the Swift project. now offers downloadable toolchain and Docker images for the following new Linux distributions:

  • Ubuntu 20.04
  • CentOS 8
  • Amazon Linux 2

The above are added to the Linux platforms we already supported:

  • Ubuntu 16.04
  • Ubuntu 18.04

To include Ubuntu 20.04 in a list of newly supported distributions when versions 16.04 and 18.04 were already supported is a bit of a stretch but it is at least fairly quick turnaround1. The support of CentOS and Amazon Linux are nevertheless most welcome.

I can’t help but point out, however, that Swift’s support of Linux remains... quirky. The downloads for all of these platforms comes in the form of a .tar.gz file that must be manually verified, expanded, resulting files moved into a desirable location in the filesystem, and added to the PATH. Why aren’t they at least offering packages (.deb for Ubuntu and .rpm for CentOS and Amazon Linux)? Where is the PPA for Ubuntu to enable apt install commands? To say nothing of persuading the distributions to themselves include Swift as they do with other languages like Python, Ruby, Go, Rust, etc.

Still, this is progress.

  1. Ubuntu 18.04 wasn’t supported until several months after it was released. 20.04 is being supported within a week or two of its release.