May 28, 2009, 9:55 am
Many developers of open source projects are content to release their wares to their users and listen to feedback as it's given to them. Occasionally, however, project leaders will actively seek out their users' thoughts to find out just how the software is being used.
That's the case with the Eclipse Project, which conducted an extensive survey of its user base in April, and this week released the results of that survey to the general public. The big conclusion in 2009: Linux is making significant strides against Windows as a development platform and has outpaced Windows as a deployment platform.
According to Ian Skerrit, Director of Marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, 64 percent of Eclipse users surveyed use Windows as their development platform. Linux is used 27 percent of the time as a development platform. Compare this to the 2007 survey results, when Windows came in at 74 percent for the development platform and Linux was at 20 percent, and you can see the shift towards Linux.
More tellingly, Linux is now the leading deployment platform at 43 percent and Windows has dropped to 41 percent among Eclipse users surveyed.
"The developer community appears to be moving to Linux for their desktop development environment and the Linux server deployment platform continues to grow," Skerrit wrote on his blog, "Ubuntu and Red Hat appear to be the main beneficiaries of this movement. Microsoft not so much."
Another key aspect of the results is the predominance of Linux-friendly databases in the respondents' organizations, where 55 percent reported the use of MySQL or Oracle as deployed databases. And the deployment of these two platforms was just about dead even.
"Oracle DB was virtually tied for first place with MySQL at 28%," Skerrit noted. "I expected to see MySQL do well but not tied with Oracle."
The survey results also reported more openness in corporate approaches to open source, using the Open Source Maturity Model:
"Over the last two years, the survey results show that organizations are becoming more open to participating in open source software. When asked which best describes their organization‚Äôs approach to OSS, individuals affiliated with an organization showed a distinct maturing in their OSS participation.
"In 2007, 46% were allowed to use OSS but could not contribute back; now this group has decreased to only 27%. In contrast, 48.2% of respondents are now allowed by their company to use and contribute back to OSS communities--a significant increase from 37% in 2007. How much OSS impacts an organization has changed as well. 15.6% of respondents report that their organization relies on OSS as a business model, an increase from 10% in 2007."
Skerrit cautioned that there is still a ways to go to get users more involved in Eclipse.
"67% [of survey respondents] still claim they just use Eclipse and do not actively participate, so we have a long way to go to making it easy for them to participate," he wrote.
A more through breakdown of these result and more are available from the Eclipse Foundation.