Top 6 Insights from the Eclipse Community Survey

We have just published the results from the Eclipse community survey.  The results are pretty insightful and opened my eyes to some things I didn’t know about the Eclipse community.   A complete report, called the Open Source Developer Report, is available and the complete results are here.   I thought it might be interesting to highlight the top things I took away from the results.

Insight #6 – People see Eclipse as being more than a Java IDE. When I first started at the Eclipse Foundation, it was apparent an important marketing challenge was going to be to broaden the perception of Eclipse to being more than just a Java IDE.   Therefore, when we asked the question ‘What best reflects your perception of Eclipse’, I was please only 15% selected ‘Eclipse is a Java IDE’. Most people perceived Eclipse as a tools platform or multiple IDEs.  I’d like to see people view Eclipse as  a community of individuals and organizations that collaborate on building interesting technology, but that will take a lot more time.

Insight #5 – Subversion is huge in this community. I knew Subversion was popular but not this popular.  57.5% said they use Subversion as their primary SCM tool, CVS was second at 20%.  No other product dominated a category in the survey results.

Ironically, when I hear people complain about Eclipse, the quality of the current Subversion support is high on the list of complaints.   There really seems to be an opportunity to satisfy this large user community.

Insight #4 – Oracle DB is very popular in the community. Oracle DB was virtually tied for first place with MySQL at 28%.   I expected to see MySQL do well but not tied with Oracle.  It is also somewhat timely due to the Oracle acquisition of Sun/MySQL.

Insight #3 – Atlassian JIRA is very popular. I don’t follow bug tracking solutons that closely but I knew Atlassian JIRA was a popular solution.  I didn’t realize it was so popular.  It tied for top spot with bugzilla.

Also, kudos to TRAC and Mantis for placing third and fourth, even though they were not on the list of options.    Enough people specifying them in the other category.  I obviously messed up not having them in the list of options.

Insight #2 – Corporate policies towards open source appear to be more permissive. We asked what were the corporate policies towards open source participation, 48% claimed they could contribute back to OSS.  In 2007, a similar survey question had only 37% saying they could contribute back.  In fact, in 2007 46% said they could use but not contribute back, while in 2009 only 22% said they could not contribute back.

This appears to be good news for Eclipse and open source in general.  The organization barriers to open source participation seems to be lowering.  However, 67% still claim they just use Eclipse and do not actively participate, so we have a long way to go to making it easy for them to participate.

Insight #1 – Linux is doing really well at the expense of Windows. In 2007, in a similar survey we asked what was the primary development and deployment platform.  Windows came in at 74% for the development platform and 47% for deployment.  Linux was at 20% for development and 37% for deployment.

Now in 2009, Windows has dropped 10 percentage points to 64% who use Windows as their development platform.  Linux has risen 7 points to 27% who use it as their development platform.  For deployment, Linux is now the leading deployment platform at 43% and Windows has dropped to 41%.

This seems pretty substantial.  The developer community  appears to be moving to Linux for their desktop development environment and the Linux server deployment platform continues to grow.  Ubuntu and Red Hat appear to be the main beneficiaries of this movement.  Microsoft not so much.

Bonus Insight – People are really happy with Eclipse. 89% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with Eclipse.  This seems really high to me but well deserved.  🙂  Typically when you asked this type of question there would be more neutral or negative response.

I believe it is a reflection of the high quality software provided by the Eclipse community.  Congratulations to everyone that makes this possible.

Thanks to everyone that completed the survey.   We really appreciate the feedback.

22 thoughts on “Top 6 Insights from the Eclipse Community Survey

  1. Interesting insights Ian. One of the things that stand out to me though, is that the Mac did not rate in the list of development platforms? Most of the Eclipse devs I know seem to do most of their work on the Mac (OS X) these days. I was surprised it did not rate.

  2. I think the Mac showed in at under 10%, but it was present. I think that’ll keep growing though.

    As for where SVN is going in the future – I think there’s a starting of a shift to distributed version control systems. Git didn’t get much of a showing here; partially, that’s due to the infancy of the eGit tooling. By the time this next runs, I’d expect that – or other – DVCS to have made gains into that space. Will be interesting to see next year’s results!

  3. “I’d like to see people view Eclipse as a community of individuals and organizations that collaborate on building interesting technology, but that will take a lot more time.”

    This comment makes me think of Apache. I don’t know if that was intentional or not though.

  4. I think the correct inference should be: Linux is doing really well at the expense of Windows for those who use Eclipse. It could be that the number of people developing in other environments is growing on Windows much faster than the number of people developing for Eclipse on Linux.

  5. It’s great news to see developers using “alternative desktops” for their development environments. For Linux I think it shows that the environment is steadily becoming more feature rich and robust – to a point where it can satisfy some pretty demanding users. And, while developers use very specific applications (like Eclipse), the fact that it satisfies these demanding users must be good for the wider set of users!

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