Eclipse Community Survey: Good News, Bad News

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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?

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

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