Windows is losing the battle for developer desktops and Subversion is still king of SCM, according to the results of this year’s Eclipse Community Survey.
When the Eclipse Community Survey began in 2007, only 20% of those who took the survey said they used Linux as their desktop operating system for development. That same year, 74% said they used Windows for their desktop development machines. But this year, that number has changed significantly.
In 2010, 33% of those who took the Eclipse Community Survey reported using Linux on their desktop. Conversely, only 58% reported using Windows there. Even Mac OS X gained ground on Windows, growing from just over 3% of Eclipse users to over 7%.
Ian Skerrett, director of marketing at the Eclipse Foundation, said that the move to Linux desktops was the most significant change seen in this year’s survey. Last year, SD Times and the Eclipse Foundation cited Canonical’s Ubuntu for its lagging support of Eclipse, as the distribution included only version 3.2 in its software repositories. Last fall, Canonical updated its Eclipse distribution.
When asked if this had an effect on the numbers, Skerrett said, “I think the Canonical package has helped, but I think in general Linux is just being used more on the desktop, so developers are more inclined to use Eclipse on Linux.”
While Linux gained significant ground on the developer desktop, it remained fairly static on the server. Forty-six percent of users said they were deploying to Linux. That’s just a bit more than the 44% who said they deployed to Windows. Neither number has changed significantly since 2009.
Eclipse developers are very up to date, said Skerrett. He said that more than 82% of users are on the latest version of Eclipse. “I’ve always known the Eclipse community moves quickly to a new release, but 82% in less than one year is pretty impressive. If you are building products that target Eclipse users, providing support for older versions of Eclipse might not be that important,” he said.
SCM systems were also a part of the survey. Subversion came out far ahead of the rest of the pack, with 58% of overall SCM usage in Eclipse. CVS use continued to dwindle and sits at 15% for 2010. The third most popular SCM system was Git, with 5.8% of users. Interestingly, 5% of Eclipse users do not use any form of SCM at all.
Atlassian’s JIRA and Mozilla’s Bugzilla each showed just over 15% of the change management tools used by Eclipse users. More than 20% of respondents said they used no CMS at all. These numbers did not change significantly from the 2009 survey.
Among the biggest growing Eclipse projects in the survey is the Hudson project. While ANT continued to dominate build management, having over 50% of the market, Maven is gaining ground slightly, moving up to 28% of users. But Hudson is now used by 21% of build managers using Eclipse. That’s a significant gain over 2009, but it should be noted that many participants selected multiple build tools in their answers.
Web and RIA development are still causing headaches for developers, according to the Eclipse Community Survey. Over 25% of users reported that they chose jQuery for building the Web applications, a significant boost for the framework. While other tools, like Adobe Flash, Google Web Toolkit and Microsoft Silverlight all combined to make up under 50% of the whole. Seventeen percent said they used no RIA or Web framework at all, while another 12% said they used something not listed on the survey.
Skerrett said that the survey also showed a disturbing trend. “In the survey, we asked a question about the corporate policies towards open-source participation. In 2009, 48% claimed they could contribute back to OSS, but in 2010, only 35.4% claim they could contribute back.
“Conversely, 41% in 2010 claimed they use open-source software but do not contribute back, but in 2009 it was 27.1%. Obviously not a trend any open-source community would like to see. I am not sure what the reason companies would have to become less restrictive in their open-source policies. Any insight or feedback from the community would be appreciated.”
The survey was answered by just over 1,900 respondents, 1,600 of whom completed the entire thing. Responses from France and Germany made up well over 35% of respondents due to media coverage of the survey in those countries.