Eclipse: Developers growing more fond of desktop Linux

Survey also finds Eclipse devotees not looking to cloud deployments and fewer are contributing to open source projects

Developers in the Eclipse open source community are becoming more inclined to use Linux as their primary desktop operating system, according to a report released Monday by the Eclipse Foundation that gauges sentiments on software development issues.

Linux also is popular for application deployments, the report reveals. But most in the Eclipse community are not sold yet on cloud computing.

[ InfoWorld Editor in Chief Eric Knorr discusses how desktop virtualization could boost desktop Linux, which overall has floundered. ]

Entitled "The Open Source Developer Report," the document features results of the Eclipse 2010 community survey, performed from mid-April to mid-May and assessing responses from 1,948 individuals. More than half of respondents -- 52.5 percent -- were programmers.

A key finding was the continued growth of Linux as a developer desktop. "Close to one-third of developers (33 percent) now use Linux as their primary development operating system; this is up from 20 percent in 2007," the report said.

"In parallel, Microsoft Windows has dropped from 74 percent in 2007 to 58 percent in 2010," Eclipse said in the report.

Linux is the most popular deployment environment noted in the survey, targeted by 46 percent of respondents, followed by 41 percent for Windows.

Asked about cloud computing, a majority of respondents -- 58.4 percent -- had no plans to deploy applications to cloud infrastructure while just 12.1 percent were using a cloud. Of those using cloud infrastructure or planning to, the leading options were Amazon's cloud, at 27.1 percent; Google App Engine, with 17.6 percent, and private clouds, with 12.6 percent.  This was the first time Eclipse had asked respondents about cloud computing in the periodic survey.

Cloud computing, however, still is in an early stage, said Ian Skerrett, Eclipse marketing director, in an interview. "It's actually pretty impressive that some people are using it," he said.

Also in the report, Eclipse found that the number of persons allowed to contribute back to open source projects had dropped, from 48 percent in 2009 to 35 percent this year. Meanwhile, 41 percent had organizational policies this year allowing them to use but not contribute back to an open source community, opposed to 27 percent last year.

"This clearly shows a change in the level of willingness to contribute to open source communities," Eclipse said in its report, adding, it was "not clear the reason for this change but it is something worth investigating."

"Some people have suggested the recent recession has caused people to tighten their belts," said Ian Skerrett, Eclipse marketing manager, offering up a possible explanation.

The survey also cast doubt on how much of a standard EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) is for server-centric development.  The Spring Framework, with 19.7 percent, narrowly beat out EJB, with 18.6 percent.

JQuery, meanwhile, was the top framework for rich Internet application development, at 26.2 percent.

In other findings, Eclipse found:

  • The most popular programming languages among respondents were Java (69.5 percent), C/C++ (10.5 percent) and PHP (9 percent). Many developers also use multiple languages.
  • Twenty-five percent of respondents said they did not use a particular software development methodology while 7.8 percent did not know what they used. Scrum was the most popular methodology identified, with 15.4 percent using it.
  • Subversion, at 58.3 percent, was top source code management system in use, followed by CVS with 12.6 percent, which actually was down 20 percent from 2009.
  • MySQL was the leading deployment database, with 31.8 percent using it, followed by Oracle's database, with 21.6 percent. Oracle became owner of MySQL earlier this year when it completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Besides developers, other respondents to the survey included system architects, students, consultants and others. Eclipse compared figures to results from previous surveys taken in 2007 and 2009 but no survey was taken in 2008. About 75 percent of respondents this year use an Eclipse IDE.

This article, "Eclipse: Developers growing more fond of desktop Linux," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter and on your mobile device at infoworldmobile.com.

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