Eclipse Community Survey: Good News, Bad News


The results of the Eclipse Community Survey 2010, in which 1696 people took part, are now available. There's good news, and bad news.

The good news is the following:

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%.

That's really significant, because for many free software applications, historically people have tended to develop on Windows, and then deploy on GNU/Linux. If the developers are moving to GNU/Linux on the desktop – as this survey suggests - maybe the tide is beginning to turn there, at least among that particular community (well, it's a start...).

And the bad news:

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.

This does seem odd: anyone got any thoughts on why it might be the case – or first-hand experience of a clampdown on contributing to open source in their companies?

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