Developers and programmers are always the earliest adopters of technology, paving the way for the rest of us. And nowhere is that more evident than with Linux. Over the last 10 years, developers have brought Linux in through the back door and sold its benefits up the corporate flagpole. And successfully so. Even with Microsoft's stronghold, Linux today might be the fastest growing OS in the enterprise.
The 2010 Open Source Developer Report, compiled by The Eclipse Foundation, seems to confirm this trend among developers, programmers, and system architects. For the second year in a row, Linux is gaining market share on the developer desktop at the expense of Windows. Linux gained 13 percentage points this year while Windows lost 16 points, according to the report. Linux also continues to be the most popular deployment OS with 44 percent of the respondents stating that they prefer Linux for deploying applications into production environments.
These numbers support similar conclusions drawn by Forrester's Jeffrey Hammond when he reported recently, based on his Developer Technographic data, that a new generation of developers is choosing Linux to develop web and enterprise apps (you can hear more from Hammond at LinuxCon in August). Matt Asay refers to it as the "youthquake."
The confidence and comfort associated with developing on Linux, reflected in the growing number of developers who say they prefer the OS to alternatives, are also leading indicators of Linux's adoption in the enterprise. Linux use has been growing among enterprise users for a decade, but we're at a proverbial tipping point. The collision of technology maturity, a new generation of developers and IT professionals, and a new economic reality are putting Linux in a position to experience faster growth than other OSes in the enterprise.
Consider the study we commissioned from IDC titled "The Opportunity for Linux in a New Economy." From 2006 to 2013, Linux and Linux-related software is growing at about 3X the rate of Windows and the overall market. We will see these numbers and more like them begin to reveal a clear picture as to the future of enterprise computing and the increasing rise of Linux, one that even Microsoft won't be able to smudge.