The 2010 Eclipse survey seems to indicate that programmer are leaving Windows in droves. Is it time to abandon ship - or is there something more in the results?
The 2010 Eclipse Community Survey reveals some interesting trends - as long as you don't read too much into them. The results are based on only 1696 responses (up slightly on last year) with 54% identifying themselves as programmers and 18% as system architects which is more or less exactly last year's result.
The most quoted figure, however, makes it appear that developers are still moving away from Windows as their primary desktop operating system and moving to Linux. Over three years the survey indicates a drop of 16% in the number of developers using Windows, with the figures being 6% down on 2009. However this still leaves Windows with a 58% share compared to Linux at 33% and the Mac OSX at 8%.
A slightly less talked about result is the fact that Mac OSX use has doubled from 4% to 8% in three years - a shadow of the iPhone iOS effect. Notice that most respondents to the survey are using, or at least interested in Eclipse, which is primarily a Java development platform - 54% Java, 14% PHP, 7% C/C++. Of the non-Eclipse users only roughly 5% are using Visual Studio which is, of course, tied to Windows. Even so 41% claim that Windows is their main target operating system with 46% targeting Linux - no change from last year.
What these "demographics" imply is that the actual swing to Linux is likely to be smaller in the general population and the swing to OSX is likely to be bigger because Java programmers aren't tied to Windows and iPhone/iOS programmers aren't likely to use Java or Eclipse.
These are subtle arguments but essentially the survey says that of a group of people who aren't particularly committed to using Windows or Windows-based technologies are moving to Linux - well that's not surprising. In fact a more interesting question is why did they ever use Windows in the first place?
Another less well reported statistic from the survey is that 25% of the respondents use no development methodology at all. Which is only slightly better than the 5% who claim to be using "waterfall" development - don't these guys read any books! The other respondents used a wide range of methodologies with Scrum (15%) coming in at number one and agile methods in general (14%) doing well. Clearly we can't decide what to use even after making a positive decision to use something..
When it comes to source control it seems that Subversion has it with 58% and CVVS second at 13%. Although Git and Mercurial are minority choices, 7% and 3% respectively, they are on the up.
So what are we doing with our time?
The answer is that we mostly build web and server applications - so no surprise there. However we still dabble in desktop applications with the three - web, server and desktop - almost being an equal three-way split.
Perhaps the most interesting result of all is that, despite the hype, 58% have no plans to go to the cloud and active cloud users number only 14%. The most popular cloud infrastructure is Amazon EC2 at 27%.
So what should the headline be?
Programmers not particularly committed to Windows technology are moving to Linux while not using any development methodology and ignoring the cloud..
Probably not catchy enough....