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Eclipse survey shows Windows decline

In May 2009 the open source Eclipse project surveyed its users. Visitors to the Eclipse site were asked to complete a survey, and 1365 did so. That’s out of around 1 million visitors, which shows how much we all hate surveys. Anyway, this report [pdf] was the result. A similar survey [pdf] was carried out in 2007, potentially making a valuable comparison, though the earlier survey has different questions making direct comparisons difficult in most cases, which is a shame. I especially missed the detail on which Eclipse projects are used most which is well covered in the 2007 report.

Here is what I found interesting. First, there’s a shift towards Linux and Apple Mac in the desktops developers use for Eclipse. In 2007 it was 73.8% Windows, 20% Linux and 3.5% Mac. In 2009 it is 64% Windows, 26.9% Linux and 6.9% Mac.

This is echoed in deployment platforms too (client and server). In 2007 it was 46.5% Windows, 36.6% Linux, 1% Mac; today it is 40.5% Windows, 42.7% Linux, 3% Mac.

Those surveyed were asked what other IDEs they used. I noticed that Microsoft Visual Studio and NetBeans feature fairly strongly; I also noticed that Embarcadero’s JBuilder is hardly a blip on the chart – intriguing, given how popular this used to be in the pre-Eclipse era.

The most popular code management tool is Subversion (57.5%) followed by CVS (20%). For build tools, Ant (33.4%) and Maven (18%).

Here’s an intriguing one: I often hear that Java is only successful on the server. That presumption is not supported by this survey. 23.4% said that desktop client apps are the primary type of software they are developing, compared to 30.2% server, and 24.7% web or RIA apps.

The preferred app server is Apache Tomcat (34.8%) followed by JBoss (12.7%) and Websphere (6.9%).

The most popular database manager is MySQL (27.7%) followed by Oracle (27.3%). That’s 55% for Sun+Oracle, of course, though bear in mind that many of the MySQL users are likely attracted by its free licence.

Before drawing too many conclusions, bear in mind that it is a small sample self-selected by people willing to take the survey; apparently it was also featured by a German technology site which resulted in a larger response from German visitors.

Although it suggests a declining use of Windows – which is especially plausible given the trend towards web applications – it does not prove it beyond the Eclipse community.

And next time – how about using the same questions, which would make it possible to identify trends?

I’ve also written about Eclipse here: The Eclipse Conundrum: can it grow without hurting its contributors?

Related posts:

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  2. Appcelerator mobile developer survey shows Windows 8 progress, uncertainty
  3. Eclipse, WebSphere winners in latest Java survey
  4. PHP Developer survey shows dominance of mobile, social media and cloud
  5. jQuery usage soars as Adobe Flash shows slight decline

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