Linux growing, Windows declining among Eclipse users

Results from Eclipse Survey 2009 show Linux growth on the developer desktop and production environments -- at Microsoft's expense

Ian Skerrett just posted six insights from the Eclipse community survey. They're all very interesting, but Insight No. 1 is really surprising. Ian writes: "Insight #1 – Linux is doing really well at the expense of Windows." Ian bases this on the following data:


It's long been held that developers build applications on Windows regardless of which operating system the (server side) application will be deployed on. This Eclipse data suggests a change might be under way.

[ Though Linux gains traction with developers, InfoWorld's Neil McAllister argues desktop Linux may have lost its chance | Keep up on the latest open source developments with InfoWorld's open source topic center and newsletter. ]

Is anyone else surprised that nearly half (27 percent vs. 64 percent) as many Eclipse users build applications on Linux as they do on Windows? Frankly, I've worked with more customers whose developers build applications on Mac OS X than on Linux; emphasis on the word "on" versus "for." Nonetheless, this data should definitely get some attention from folks at Microsoft.

Yes, these results are based on Eclipse users and do not account for the Visual Studio developers who are 100 percent on Windows. But let's say Eclipse and Eclipse-based tooling is used by (as little as?) one-third of all enterprise developers; it's still a large enough audience that Microsoft needs to keep on Windows. Maybe there's work that Microsoft could do to optimize Eclipse for Windows, much like Microsoft has done with PHP and Windows?

More worrisome (to Microsoft) is the fact that Linux has secured the No. 1 position for deployment operating systems among Eclipse users. In related news, Sun Solaris/OpenSolaris fared no better, declining from 8 percent in 2007 to 5.2 percent in 2009. My data analysis spidey senses are tingling. I'd love to have more time with this data! But alas, life calls...

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P.S.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."