Android, iOS attracted open source developers in 2010

Black Duck's KnowledgeBase project development tracker finds little new traction for Windows, Palm, Symbian, and BlackBerry

If Black Duck Software's knowledge base of open source software projects serves as a barometer, then Google's Android software platform led the way in open source software development projects for mobile devices last year, followed by Apple's iOS platform.

A review of 9,000 free and open source mobile projects contained within Black Duck's KnowledgeBase found 3,800 mobile projects started in 2010, with 55 per cent, or 1,716 projects, geared to Android, Black Duck said this week. Apple's iOS followed with 39 per cent, or 1,219 projects. Windows, Palm, Blackberry, and Symbian, meanwhile, accounted for just two per cent each or fewer of new projects. MeeGo accounted only for a handful of projects, Black Duck said. The company surmises that since Android is "open" -- as in open source and supporting  GPL code -- and iOS is not, open source developers still will support the most popular platforms regardless of so-called openness.

[ See InfoWorld's report on how Motorola is looking to mend Android's security shortcomings. | Learn how to manage iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, and other smartphones in InfoWorld's 20-page Mobile Management Deep Dive PDF special report.]

"Mobile software has the full and focused attention of commercial and FOSS (free and open source software) development communities," said Peter Vescuso, executive vice president at Black Duck, in a statement released by the company. "As mobile apps displace desktop applications and mobile devices displace laptops and desktops, we expect to see broad commercial developer interest in the top mobile development platforms as well as consolidation in the number of platforms that draw developer support."

Many new mobile projects in 2010 did not declare a license. The most popular licenses were GPL, MIT, Apache, BSD, and Microsoft. Some open source mobile projects were written for multiple platforms, Black Duck noted. The company also saw an increase in projects developed for specific events, such as an application to support an agile development conference in Italy.

Continuously searching the Internet for open source and downloadable code, Black Duck's KnowledgeBase features more than 365,000 projects from more than 5,000 sites; it is updated regularly with thousands of new projects, Black Duck said.

This article, "Android, iOS attracted open source developers in 2010," 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. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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Tags smartphonesMotorolaGoogleAppleAndroidsymbianiPhonesoftwarePhonesapplication developmentconsumer electronicsmobile technologyPalmopen source softwareBlack Duck SoftwareMobile Development

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Paul Krill

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