Programmer who spearheaded Swift to exit Apple [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 10
Apple's director in charge of Xcode, Swift, and other development tools -- Chris Lattner -- will be leaving the company later in January, according to an announcement through the official Swift mailing list.




Ted Kremenek will be taking over as the project lead on Swift, Lattner wrote in a message spotted by MacStories. Lattner nevertheless said that he will "remain an active member of the Swift Core Team."

The director didn't say who would be taking over his broader duties, but did note that his departure involves "an opportunity in another space."

He also suggested that the move shouldn't impact day-to-day matters with the Swift Core Team, and that Swift 4 should be a "really strong release" with Kremenek at the helm. The team will be shifting its focus to Swift 4 after primary 3.1 development concludes on Jan. 16.

Lattner is perhaps best known as the main figure behind LLVM, a set of modular compiler and toolchain technologies he worked on as a graduate student. After joining Apple in 2005, LLVM was intregrated into Apple's own toolset.

Indeed Lattner is responsible for a good deal of Swift as well. Work on the programming language began in 2010, though it was only launched four years later.

Swift is meant mostly to simplify development for Apple platforms, addressing a number of common complaints while performing faster. The language can also be used with Linux.

Update: Lattner has left Apple for Tesla where he will serve as Vice President of Autopilot Software, the company said in a statement today.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    nhtnht Posts: 3,367member
    That's a real shame but best wishes to Chris on his next great opportunity.
    tgr1rogifan_newpropod
  • Reply 2 of 36
    I am both thankful for his contributions (LLVM especially) but also frustrated by what I thought was his resistance to adding more functional oriented concepts to the Swift language.   Not sure what is going to change though.
  • Reply 3 of 36
    Is there a schedule for release of Swift 4?  Is it by WWDC (presumably June 2017), or is that too aggressive, given 3.1's completion of primary development on January 16?
  • Reply 4 of 36
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,547member
    I wonder if he's going to IBM? 
    1st
  • Reply 5 of 36
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if he's going to IBM? 
    As long as it isn't "Alphabet" or Samsdung! Seems to sharp for that. Perhaps it is just itchy feet after 11+ years at Apple?
    mwhitepatchythepirate
  • Reply 6 of 36
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,547member
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if he's going to IBM? 
    As long as it isn't "Alphabet" or Samsdung! Seems to sharp for that. Perhaps it is just itchy feet after 11+ years at Apple?
    it sounds like he intends to remain involved with Swift development, but I'm not sure what that means. If Swift is his greatest passion, then Google might make sense -- he'd be able to ensure Swift's dominance on both iOS and Android. But IBM might make sense, too, because IBM appears to have embraced Swift. 

    Or maybe he just becomes a professor.... 
    mattinoz
  • Reply 7 of 36
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if he's going to IBM? 
    My guess would be some small startup or something.  I think he went to Apple right after University, and he has a lot of name recognition which a company might be interested in using to their advantage and potentially a much bigger payday at a small company with growth potential.  Things might have changed at IBM since my "dance" with them.... but I think for the "salaried" employee ... it would not be the best environment for him to go to from Apple.... my guess is he would lose his mind and would not last long :open_mouth: 
      (and that is coming from someone that still has a soft spot for IBM and wish them well)

    edited January 10
  • Reply 8 of 36
    Looks like a director of machine learning (who came from the company Apple purchased called Cue) is leaving too. https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/10/daniel-gross-of-apple-leaves-to-become-y-combinators-newest-partner/
  • Reply 9 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,832moderator

    Emphasis mine:

    Lattner is one of the most influential and important figures in the history of modern developer tools, responsible for LLVM, Swift, and many of the systems use by Apple and Apple's community to create apps.

    It's great he plans to continue on with Swift, which he ran at Apple, but it's less than great (for Apple) that he plans to do it from the outside.

    Thanks to Chris Lattner for everything he's contributed and best wishes for whatever he takes on next. There's approaching zero chance we've heard the last from him.

    http://www.imore.com/swift-llvm-pioneer-chris-lattner-leaving-appl

    Sounds like an orderly, no-drama (and perhaps long-planned?) transition. Sure am curious what his “opportunity in another space” is, though.

    Lattner is a really smart, very well-liked, and deeply respected guy. His leaving is a loss for Apple.

    Swift really is Lattner’s baby — he developed the earliest versions of it by himself starting in 2010, before work expanded to a larger group in Apple’s Developer Tools group. (Swift wasn’t announced publicly until June 2014.) The Apple developer community is still in the middle of the transition to Swift. I’m a little surprised he’d leave in the midst of the upheaval. It’s a thriving language, but it is far from a completed project — neither the language itself nor the OS frameworks.

    http://daringfireball.net/ 

    This is big!  How many people do we know about that have created a Programming Language -- especially in this decade,  considering those entrenched for the last 20-30 years.

  • Reply 10 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,832moderator

    bkkcanuck said:
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if he's going to IBM? 
    My guess would be some small startup or something.  I think he went to Apple right after University, and he has a lot of name recognition which a company might be interested in using to their advantage and potentially a much bigger payday at a small company with growth potential.  Things might have changed at IBM since my "dance" with them.... but I think for the "salaried" employee ... it would not be the best environment for him to go to from Apple.... my guess is he would lose his mind and would not last long :open_mouth: 
      (and that is coming from someone that still has a soft spot for IBM and wish them well)

    IDK if a small startup would have the leverage to do what needs to be done with Swift -- giving birth to a new Language and its tools.

    He appeared to have freedom/independence at Apple.  Likely, he would have the same at IBM -- though with different goals.

    Possibly, he is interested a higher level of abstraction than just another language/system for writing code.

    Maybe, he is just restless... Approaching that magic age of 40, where you want to work for yourself and do it your way!

    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 11 of 36
    blastdoor said:
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if he's going to IBM? 
    As long as it isn't "Alphabet" or Samsdung! Seems to sharp for that. Perhaps it is just itchy feet after 11+ years at Apple?
    it sounds like he intends to remain involved with Swift development, but I'm not sure what that means. If Swift is his greatest passion, then Google might make sense -- he'd be able to ensure Swift's dominance on both iOS and Android. But IBM might make sense, too, because IBM appears to have embraced Swift. 

    Or maybe he just becomes a professor.... 
     That would make a lot of sense. Broadens the language. Frees him up from team management to get back to more academic parts of the language. Also means he can foster talent and ideas in Swift in a way he couldn't within Apple or another corp.

  • Reply 13 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,832moderator
    Mmm...

    We would like to welcome Chris Lattner, who will join Tesla as our Vice President of Autopilot Software.Chris’ reputation for engineering excellence is well known. He comes to Tesla after 11 years at Apple where he was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language for building apps on Apple platforms and one of the fastest growing languages for doing so on Linux. Prior to Apple, Chris was lead author of the LLVM Compiler Infrastructure, an open source umbrella project that is widely used in commercial products and academic research today. 

    As Chris joins Tesla, we would like to give a special thanks to Jinnah Hosein, SpaceX’s Vice President of Software, who has been serving a dual role as the interim Vice President of Tesla Autopilot Software and will now be heading back to SpaceX full-time. We would like to thank Jinnah for the efforts needed to achieve excellence in both roles, David Nister, our Vice President of Autopilot Vision, and the team for their exceptional work in advancing Autopilot.

    We are very excited that Chris is joining Tesla to lead our Autopilot engineering team and accelerate the future of autonomous driving.

    https://www.tesla.com/blog/welcome-chris-lattner
    edited January 10
  • Reply 14 of 36
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,006member
    That seems like a very odd move, from hands-on-engineering of an open-source general purpose computing language and compiler, right to the top of a highly specific and proprietary software implementation.

    Oh well, good luck to him.
    asdasd
  • Reply 15 of 36
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,479member
    The exodus from Apple is a bit scary. 
    voodooruelijahg
  • Reply 16 of 36
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 4,479member
    Not that latner is guaranteed to make a good VP - a whole different ballgame to being a technical lead. 
    tgr1
  • Reply 17 of 36
    asdasd said:
    The exodus from Apple is a bit scary. 

    Right? This stuff practically never happens.

    Everyone at Apple, regardless of position, pay, contribution, and other opportunities, stays at Apple, all the time, for the rest of their lives, even after death. 

    Why, I just had a glimpse of a mummified Bertrand Serlet being wheeled toward the Apple HQ cafeteria! I think he's having the veggie wrap.
    caliStrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,832moderator
    crowley said:
    That seems like a very odd move, from hands-on-engineering of an open-source general purpose computing language and compiler, right to the top of a highly specific and proprietary software 

    Oh well, good luck to him.

    My initial take is that Chris is being hired because:
    1. he is a visionary
    2. he is a leader
    3. he gets things done
    4. he is technically super-qualified

    edited January 10
  • Reply 19 of 36
    blastdoor said:
    I wonder if he's going to IBM? 
    Nope. He got hired by Tesla as VP of Autopilot.
    edited January 10
  • Reply 20 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 11,832moderator
    asdasd said:
    Not that latner is guaranteed to make a good VP - a whole different ballgame to being a technical lead. 
    That could be the exact reason he is taking this job -- to prove himself in a broader venue.
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