Is Eclipse adoption peaking?

The rise and rise of Eclipse, the open-source tools platform, is now an old and familiar story. It’s possible though that Eclipse adoption is nearing its peak. I’ve just received issue 43 of the EclipseSource newsletter, which includes the results of BZMedia’s November 2006 survey. Here are some snippets that interested me:

  • The survey is in its third year, and shows Eclipse Enterprise adoption at 54% in 2004, 62% in 2005 and now 67% (the survey says “two thirds”). Still growing, but a flattening curve.
  • The single most popular feature of Eclipse is its low cost (cited by 65% of respondents)
  • By far the primary use of Eclipse is for Java development (more than 70%), despite its support for other languages. In terms of languages, the next most used is SQL at 25% and C++ at 24% (of course these stats overlap).

Although Eclipse clearly still dominates Java development, I’ve picked up some dissatisfaction among developers I’ve talked to at conferences. Some of the complaints are the variable quality of Eclipse plug-ins, difficulty in managing plug-in dependencies especially across a team, and the view that Eclipse is less productive than favourites such as IntelliJ IDEA.

I also note that “free” is not such an unique feature these days, and that the Sun-sponsored NetBeans is winning praise for advances in its Java tools.

Don’t misunderstand me; Eclipse is not under threat. But I would not be surprised to see further levelling off of its adoption curve, or even a small decline in the next year or two.

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2 thoughts on “Is Eclipse adoption peaking?”

  1. 67% is not a bad point to be at really. Much higher than that and you are an effective monopoly which is never good for us users.



  2. I can’t disagree with your analysis. I wouldn’t expect a lot of substantial growth in the Eclipse Java IDE numbers. In fact, I think some of the commercial Eclipse based products will see more growth.

    In addition, I do think we are seeing substantial growth in the C/C++, PHP and AJAX Tools numbers and in the use of our frameworks.

    Ian Skerrett
    Eclipse Foundation

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