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Apple-owned FoundationDB open sources the core technology at the heart of iCloud

Apple's FoundationDB on Thursday announced that its namesake distributed datastore tech for organizations has been turned into an open-source project, allowing public-driven customization and expansion.

Apple's FoundationDB



Source code is now available on GitHub, and developers can communicate with each other on official forums, the company said. FoundationDB is built to be deployed on hardware clusters, for instance making it easier to add machines or bounce back from device failures.

The open-source material represents the key-value store, on which "layers" can be added to scale functionality. The Github listing for the project calls it a "distributed database designed to handle large volumes of structured data across clusters of commodity servers."

"By open sourcing the FoundationDB core, we expect the quantity and variety of layers to develop rapidly," the company said. "All major development will be done in the open," it added, noting that it has outlined a design document process and project governance it promises will offer input and transparency. The community is also expected to follow a code of conduct.

Apple now has a variety of open-source initiatives under its wing. Perhaps the best known is Swift, its programming language. While not strictly limited, the language is almost exclusively used for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS development.

FoundationDB was originally a multi-model NoSQL database, designed around a "core" database. The core database allowed for read or write transactions with multiple keys stored on any machine in the cluster. Apple purchased the company and all of its intellectual property in 2015 to expand on the iCloud infrastructure.

In the past year Apple has made a strong push to put Swift in colleges and high schools —mostly in the U.S., but internationally as well. The company has positioned the program as a way of boosting coding skills, even as it benefits from encouraging development for its products.