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Trends from the Eclipse Community Survey

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Trends from the Eclipse Community Survey

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The results of the Eclipse Community Survey 2010 are now available.   Thank you to everyone, all 1696 people, that took the time to give us your feedback.   A challenge for lots of open source communities is understanding the dynamics in the community, so these results provide  a useful data point.

We have published a report, called the Open Source Developer Report, that provides a summary of the survey results.  The detailed results and numbers are also available [xls]  [ods].  For those interesting in trends, we have done a similar surveys in 2007 and 2009.

Each year I learn a lot analyzing the survey results.  Last year I discovered the popular products used in the Eclipse community and in 2010 a lot of those same products are still very popular.  However, some things did jump out as interesting trends for 2010.

Trend #1. Linux on the developers desktop continues to grow.  We asked developers what was their primary operating system for software development.  In 2007, 20% said Linux was their development operating system. Now, in 2010 almost a third (33%) say Linux.  The biggest loser seems to be Windows 73.8% in 2007 down to 58.3% in 2010.  Interestingly, Mac OS X has only gone from 3.5% to 7.9%.

Trend #2. JQuery has a lot of momentum and usage in the RIA space. JQuery ranked the highest (26.9%) RIA framework of those the stated RIA/Web Apps was their primary style of software.    Th next closest was Adobe Flex at 9.1%.  In the 2009 survey, JQuery had around 5% adoption.

Trend #3. Open JDK has gain a lot of adoption. I don’t follow the JVM market that closely but I was pleasantly surprised to see 21.7% of the respondents state they target Open JDK.  Sun Hotspot predictably scored the highest at 68.8%.

Trend #4. DVCS usage is growing; CVS is shrinking. DVCS is a hot trend for software development and Git support is a hot topic for Eclipse project committers.  Therefore, I was not surprised to see Git usage up from 2.4% (2009) to 6.8% (2010).   Mercurial usage also increased from 1.1% to 3%.   This growth seems to be coming from the decreased use of CVS, 20% (2009) to 12.6% (2010).  Subversion continues to be the most popular at 58.3%.

Trend #5. Eclipse users upgrade quickly to new releases. 75.5% of the respondents said they were using Eclipse 3.5  (Galileo) and an additional 7.1% use the Helios milestones.   I’ve always known the Eclipse community moves quickly to a new release  but 82+% in less than 1 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.  Granted, products that are built on top of Eclipse probably don’t move as fast.

Trend #6. Lots of fragmentation in the methodology space. I don’t follow the software methodology space that closely but I was surprised by the fact that 1) 25% of the respondents don’t use a methodology and 2) the most popular, Scrum, has only 15% adoption.  The rest of the respondents identified over 18 different methodologies that they use for a development methodology.

Trend #7. Open source participation seems to be stalled. 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 the reason companies would become less restrictive in their open source policies.   Any insight or feedback from the community would be appreciated.

Trend #8. The community is satisfied. Once again it appears the Eclipse community is pretty satisfied, 39.9% are very satisfied and 48.5% are satisfied.   Pretty consistent with last year, so congratulations to everyone the makes Eclipse a great place.

There is a lot more information available in the report and in the detailed data [xls]  [ods].  Let me know what you learned and your impressions.  As with any survey, there are obvious biases and this is just one data point but I do think it represents a decent view of what developers are doing.

From http://ianskerrett.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/trends-from-the-eclipse-community-survey/

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