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Windows losing ground with US developers

Linux popularity leads to measurable decline.

Article comments

Microsoft's Windows platform is losing traction with application developers in North America, according to a survey by Evans Data.

A survey this spring of more than 400 developers and IT managers in North America found that the number of developers targeting Windows for their applications declined 12 percent from a year ago. Just 64.8 percent targeted the platform as opposed to 74 percent in 2006.

"We attribute [the decline] largely to the increase in developers beginning to target Linux and different Linux [distributions]. Both Novell and Red Hat are the two dominant ones right now," said John Andrews, the CEO of Evans Data.

The arrival of Windows Vista likely only kept the numbers from being even worse. "I think Vista probably offset some of the decline," Andrews said.

The share for Windows is expected to drop another 2-percent, to about 63 percent, in the next year, Andrews said.

The targeting of Linux by developers increased by 34 percent to 11.8 percent. It had been 8.8 a year ago, according to the survey. Linux targeting is expected to reach 16 percent over the next year.

Evans views the situation as a battle of Windows versus open source with open source maturing, Andrews said. Windows remains tops, though. "They're still dominant, there's no doubt about it," said Andrews. Use of Windows on the development desktop remains steady.

The survey, featuring developers at enterprises and solution providers like system integrators, covered both client and server application development.

Evans Data said the shift away from Windows began about two years ago and is accelerating. Linux is benefiting as are non-traditional client devices. Evans Data also surveyed developer plans for such platforms as Unix and Mac OS but did not release those numbers.

A Microsoft representative said Monday no one was available from the company to comment on the Evans Data report.

Andrews said the verdict still is out on the full impact that open-source software is having on the commercial software market but noted that there will always be a place for both paradigms.

In other findings in the Evans Data Spring North American Development survey, Evans found that JavaScript is the most widely used scripting language. It has more than three times the users of PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), Ruby, or Python. But Ruby usage is expected to increase by 50 percent within the coming year.

Also gathering steam is virtualisation. A third of developers surveyed are writing applications that support virtualisation with 42.5 percent expected to adopt it within the next year.


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Paul said: Is this desktop statistic I would doubt Windows have anywhere near this percent of development on the server

Mr M Haslam said: I cant read part of the text because your xerox pop up keep on hiding the text so it can not be read

JJS said: The data is too sparse I assume that the Evans report has more and this article comes from the executive summary But there are a lot of unanswered questions that decrease its usefulnessFor instance are the developer teams fairly consistent or do they just take whoever will respond What is the application mix--ie LAMP based standalone applications embedded devices Are FOSS projects counted in any way--I would hope the success of Firefox Pidgin etc is not totally ignored How much of the change is due to existing applications being ported to Linux

James said: Not surprising we are a quickly growing Linux application development and consulting group and we have been hiring Linux developers like mad in the last year Our only problem is finding enough of them

Rudd-O said: It doesnt surprise me at all As someone who has been developing under Linux for nine years I can certainly understand the pointy-and-clicky bent of Windows developers but I can most certainly not respect their productivity ratios

Frosted Mouse said: The targeting of Linux by developers increased by 34 percent to 118 percent It had been 88 a year ago Maybe I am just bad at math but 118 - 88 3 not 34 maybe Im looking at it wrong

M. Miyojim said: They talked with 400 developers Are they representative of the entire population of American developers There must be more than 50000 software developers in the US so these would be less than one percentI dont think that sane developers believe that developing for Windows only is safe for their careers At least they should be gone multiplatform for the future projects

alucinor said: Theyre still dominant theres no doubt about it said Andrews Use of Windows on the development desktop remains steadyWait the second half of that statement isnt in quotes Did the editor or author add that even though the whole point of the article is that Windows development is declining So is it steadily declining then

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