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Windows Loses Ground With Developers

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the rising-tide-lifts-all-penguins dept.

Microsoft 431

An anonymous reader notes that InfoWorld is covering a survey of North American developers that claims that Linux is gaining share as the number of developers targeting Windows fell 11 percent over the last year. Evans Data has been conducting these surveys of client, server, and Web developers since 1998. Evans Data says that the arrival of Windows Vista likely only kept the numbers from being even worse. The big gainer wasn't developing for a Web platform, but rather for Linux and "nontraditional client devices." Windows is still dominant, with 65% of developers writing code for this platform. Linux stands at almost 12%, up from 8% a year earlier. The article says that Evans Data collected information on Mac and Unix development but did not include them in this year's report.

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431 comments

Ob.. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 7 years ago | (#19733913)


ObSweatTardLink: Developer Music Video [developersdevelopers.com]

Awesome.

Re:Ob.. (3, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 7 years ago | (#19734131)

Beat me to it. I was going to say the headline should say:

Windows Loses Ground With Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers,Developers...developers...developers...

DEVELOPERS!

Re:Ob.. (1)

RaNdOm OuTpUt (928053) | about 7 years ago | (#19734517)

Actually, it should be "Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers have stopped loving Microsoft YEAARRGH!" Lameness filter avoidance needed to here, which needs to be long to fully counteract the actual content here.

Re:Ob.. (2, Funny)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#19734679)

Actually, it was only an 11% drop, so it would just be the "Developers developers developers developers" that they lost ground with. Don't exaggerate the data!

Re:Ob.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734447)

Even after all these years, that performance is just as... visceral.. as the first time I ever saw it. Sort of like catching a chair with your gut.

Getting back to the present day, it seems to me that the migration of developers from MS to Linux, etc, is inevitable. Because as a guy gets older, it becomes harder and harder to do the Monkey Dance with the correct amount of vigor.

Re:Ob.. (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 7 years ago | (#19734467)

I just can't get enough of that video, especially the hobbling around and screaming at the top of his lungs :P

Client vs. Server Applications (5, Interesting)

chris098 (536090) | about 7 years ago | (#19733935)

I'm guessing the majority of the applications written to target Linux are server applications. It would be interesting to see if this can be explained by a result only in the server application space, or if more client applications are also being targeted at Linux. Of course, in order to find that out, one would probably have to pay to view the full report.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734061)

I don't know, most developers are writing software destined for internal company use only where CLI or curses based GUI's are king. Failing that, it's Java or Microsoft stuff.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (1)

berwiki (989827) | about 7 years ago | (#19734455)

The article also failed to mention a lot of developers might be holding off until .Net 3.5 is fully released, which will undoubtedly increase Windows development percentage. And the fact ASP.Net websites 'might' be considered cross-platform leads me to believe this article is FUD.

BUT, as a current .Net developer, I cant afford not to pay attention to those numbers. I guess I should download 2007.0 when I get home.

Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 years ago | (#19734071)

We don't do server apps, and we considered linux quite seriously.

We have abandoned windows as a development platform, but it wasn't linux that replaced it, it was OSX. Linux's lack of a standard GUI layer in the OS - modern menus, buttons, lists, even windows - is the primary issue for us. There are lots of things that are very attractive about linux, not the least of which is a large user base that we think would have an interest in some of the things we can offer, and so we do keep an eye on what is going on. But there is a long history of independent widget development projects with quite a range of capabilities, licenses and corresponding legal issues, and in some cases, prices for commercial use; there's no certainty there will ever be a standard graphics layer. In my opinion, which is only one fellow's outlook (though I do control my company's direction) this is a key factor.

Both Microsoft and Apple have some pretty nice interface builders; that'd be a factor too, presuming that the embedded graphics eventually gets past xwindows and user-land layers on top of it. And by the way, I'm not advocating any of that be dropped; just that a standard be added to the OS that anyone can use in any way without any issues, just as one can use the fopen() call and know it'll be there and neither legal nor accounting will have to be called because the call was used.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734383)

Not having standard GUI on Linux is as annoying for programmers as is fopen() was different depending on the filesystem used by the OS.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (4, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#19734461)

I typically use QT as it works in just about anything.

You can use GTK instead if you like. Or if you want something that works in anything, but looks different every version, you can always use WX.

Add in a platform independant language like Python if your application is not extremely intensive (and sometimes, even then), and you have an extremely nice setup for anyone to use.

And QT has a very modern (and more importantly, customisable) look. It comes with a little app, and you [the user], can set GUI appearances that the developer left as default, to look like Windows, MacOS 9, MacOS X, and QTs native, amongst others. It also pulls the system default colors for various field types, which is extremely nice.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | about 7 years ago | (#19734627)

QT costs A LOT of money (about $3000 per developer, AFAIR). _AND_ you can't legally use KDE's functions, because KDE is GPLed.

So, GTK is the only viable alternative (and guess what, most commercial Linux apps use GTK).

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#19734667)

Yes, but you don't need KDE functions to use QT.

I did not know about the developer cost, I just use the free download.

Then again, my software is free and BSDed...

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | about 7 years ago | (#19734751)

Then you are breaking the qt license, which is GPL.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (2, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#19734789)

No, I don't statically link to QT, I use it as a library, and the specifically allow that useage.

The people at PC-BSD thought the same thing. So PC-BSD specific software was GPLed since they used QT.

It's now BSD also, for the same reason that you are incorrect. Namely - you can use QT without having to GPL your stuff.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#19734733)

Additionally, it's not $3000 per developer, but $3000 for the first developer, for each dev thereafter, the price decreases sharply. Also, if you do your program right, you shouldn't need a lot of UI developers.

And, depending on what you are doing and how you are releasing it, you may still be able to use the Free version.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734771)

Having had to develop using Qt (I believe version 3) and Cocoa, I'd rather program in Cocoa any day. Qt (v 3 in this case) was simply too 'static' for my tastes, it was too difficult to add new functionality or extend the existing functionality without a lot of extra work. It flat out annoyed me.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#19734817)

I use QT4, it's easily extendable, and unlike Cocoa, it doesn't limit me to one platform. Cocoa would limit me to a platform I find difficult to use (nearsighted + Mac UI = bad).

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#19734551)

"Linux's lack of a standard GUI layer in the OS - modern menus, buttons, lists, even windows - is the primary issue for us."
It shouldn't be. The solution is really simple
Qt if you are going to GPL your code and want to code in C++
Qt if you don't want to GPL your code and code in C++ just pay Trolltech for the none free version.
GTK if you want to code in C or C# GPL or not since you can use it under LGPL.
GNUStep if you really want to use Objective C and don't mind being different.

I mix Qt and GTK apps at will on my Linux desktop. For many applications your choice between GTK and QT really doesn't matter. Okay I hate GTKs file dialog Qts is a lot better IMHO but even that isn't a really big issue. I use Eclipse CDT which uses SWT-GTK for it's interface on Suse 10.1 running KDE. No big problem.

The lack of a standard windowing tool kit just isn't a big deal. Frankly I suggest just going with QT and then you can make your code run on Windows, Mac and Linux with very little effort at least as far as the UI goes.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (3, Informative)

Nevyn (5505) | about 7 years ago | (#19734793)

Linux's lack of a standard GUI layer in the OS - modern menus, buttons, lists, even windows - is the primary issue for us.

I'm sorry, what? This isn't 1995 anymore where Motif and libXaw were the main GUI toolkits. gtk+, pygtk, gtk#, SWT, etc. are shipped in every distribution containing all the common widgets and are free to use. Maybe you mean your visual-studio developers can't use anything else? Well have fun in hell with that snowball waiting for MS to port the apps. you've locked yourself into.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (4, Insightful)

Srin Tuar (147269) | about 7 years ago | (#19734797)

Wow, that is an amazingly uninformed post.

X-windows together with any of the popular graphical toolkits is every bit as fast as windows GDI primitives, and very similar to what apple's DPS does to draw widgets. The old fashioned integration of graphical primitives directly into the operating system is exactly what everyone is trying to get away from, as it tends to make everything suck. Take one look at beryl and youll see the future of eye candy is going to be coming from the free software camp.

Now, in addition to that, you are taking the licensing issue 100% backwards. With any OSS toolkit, the terms and source are 100% disclosed, and many times simpler than proprietary licenses. The toolkit you choose will be around forever as surely as if you own it yourself. I don't suppose you have ever read one of MS or Apple's EULA's, but to sum them up you are essentially placing yourself and your company at their mercy when you develop for their platforms.

If your reason for choosing proprietary products is because you plan to make proprietary products, that at least would make sense. But keep in mind that the product model for software is receding into history, and you may need a change of business model in the forseeable future.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | about 7 years ago | (#19734829)

Linux's lack of a standard GUI layer in the OS - modern menus, buttons, lists, even windows - is the primary issue for us.

I don't really understand why this would be a problem. You choose either QT, GTK or whatever. If someone wants to run your application then the libraries are only an apt-get/yum/[insert package manager here] away.

If you distribute your software as deb and rpm packages those pesky dependencies are handled by the package manager. Moreover integration between the widget sets has been getting better: using Firefox under KDE has pretty-much the same look as a native QT application (such as Konqueror) for me. The situation will only improve.

I could understand if you're developing proprietary software though. That stuff doesn't seem to gain much traction in the FLOSS world. Pixel [kanzelsberger.com] is a good example: great photo editor, low price, but not many people use it. Why? On Windows/Mac everyone pirates/buys Photoshop and on GNU/Linux people would rather use the GIMP than a proprietary product (sorry I don't have any evidence to back that up, just personal experience from reading forums and such).

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734845)

here you go. [trolltech.de] It's good for commercial and/or GPL projects, and the commercial version is royalty free (you only pay for the development environment).

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (2, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 7 years ago | (#19734087)

The increase in web development probably has a lot to do with this. Many Windows coders had nothing to do with the web because their apps were traditional desktop apps. Now the possibilities of the web are not only more fleshed out, but large companies are showing the way toward the web as a partial replacement for traditional desktop programs.

That being said, TFA data goes against my personal experience.

Almost everyone I know is now experimenting with Linux, with slow adopters and doubters being prodded by Vista to finally look over the fence, but I don't know of any Windows developers who have abandoned Windows development altogether.

Your comment, chris098, falls directly in line with my experience. The first step most developers I know are taking is evaluating Linux as a server platform... tweaking/playing with/learning about the O.S. in that capacity.

Regards.

Re:Client vs. Server Applications (1)

DraconPern (521756) | about 7 years ago | (#19734431)

I am guessing close to 33% of the respondents are writing server side apps from the response of "supports virtualization". If the poll question asked, "does your application support virtualization? Yes/No", only the the people who write server stuff will check yes since virtualizing client apps doesn't make sense. We can also infer that more devs are moving toward server based apps from the 42% stats. I think we are seeing the web 2.0 stuff hitting corporate development, and allowing traditional client apps to be ported to the server space. Just look at all the asp.net components that are now ajax ready.

Perhaps Its just gotten easier.. (4, Interesting)

cybrthng (22291) | about 7 years ago | (#19733963)

I know more "indy" developers that code irrespective of the platform. Programming is just different these days - what took an entire staff can now be done efficiently with just a few. Is the market downsizing or has growth in the field shrank or is it more platform agnostic? How do you determine a windows coder vs a universal or only a linux/unix coder?

Windows has some of the best tools out there - software as a whole has matured to a level that there hasn't been anything "new" and its been mostly upgrades. No wonder the market has shifted. Just because there are more developers in other environments, doesn't mean the market has dried up, just that it has matured.

Re:Perhaps Its just gotten easier.. (2, Informative)

BadERA (107121) | about 7 years ago | (#19734117)

"what took an entire staff can now be done efficiently with just a few."

Really? Where? Sign me up! Unless by a "few," you mean "a few US salaries," while you outsource the project to a hundred-strong team of offshore developers?

I work in an environment with both a legacy mainframe and more current x86 applications -- both .NET and Java. Our team is growing, and we're still hungry for people with skills. Work is work is work -- it takes no less effort today to code a functional, reliable software system -- and maintain it in a mission critical environment -- than it did 10 or 20 years ago. The resulting output is simply richer.

Re:Perhaps Its just gotten easier.. (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19734209)

I agree, it doesn't necessarily mean the market is drying up. I program ASP.NET because that's the work I can find, not because I wouldn't rather be programming for Linux or Mac or BSD or anything besides &*@#ing Windows.

Re:Perhaps Its just gotten easier.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734689)

Then make yourself a job.

Seriously. I got laid off in May. I took my severance, started living... frugally, and started writing a domain specific application. It's about 60% done now, and I already have a company interested in licensing it. Let's just say that if the deal works out, I will have made about $20,000/month since I lost my job.

Re:Perhaps Its just gotten easier.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734899)

Dude! Are you hiring?

Linux is not another Windows (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | about 7 years ago | (#19733973)

What we're seeing here folks is a diversifying technological ecosystem. Windows does not "fit all", and neither does Linux. (Though arguably, Linux does fit lots more than Windows does)

Linux will never replace Windows, because nothing else ever will. Windows is an artifact of a time when having a single platform was more important for development than having the best platform. Now that the industry is maturing, the needs are rapidly becoming commodities behind standards-based interfaces (TCP, XML, etc) while the platform itself is becoming less and less relevant. The Internet met a need that Microsoft simply couldn't provide, and now the cat is out of the bag. Vista is Microsoft's attempt to lock users in before erosion gets too bad, and it's pretty evident how well that's going.

Windows' market share will slowly erode, slowly being beaten by an increasing number of products, services, and wares on an increasing number of platforms.

Go standards!

Re:Linux is not another Windows (0)

ranton (36917) | about 7 years ago | (#19734301)

IMHO, Windows will only lose its dominance when cross platform development tools become as easy to use and feature rich as Visual Studio. The software that I write is all Windows-only because it is written in Visual C# from within Visual Studio (using .Net). I have never dealt with such an easy to use development environment than the one Microsoft has in Visual Studio. Granted they stole and borrowed most of their best features from Borland, but the end result is still the best development studio I have ever used.

I would love to write software that would work on Windows, Linux, and OS X; but I work at a small development company. We are far more productive just sticking to one set of code for one platform, because there are no good languages out there that work for any platform. Or at least I have never seen any. RealBasic is the closest I have found, but it is more like going back to VB6 instead of using the newest advances in development user interfaes and other features.

I cannot wait for a language that is as cross-platform friendly as RealBasic but also as feature rich as Visual Studio. I am certain that it will happen someday, and it will certainly be a major blow to Microsoft.

I think both Linux and OS X are great operating systems, but my advice to anyone is still to be wary of getting a computer that alot of software will not run on. Even if you arent using anything other than Word Processing and Email today, what about three years from now? Once cross-platform programming is easier things might change (and hopefully will).

--

Re:Linux is not another Windows (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 7 years ago | (#19734347)

what about three years from now?

Ummm, you buy a new computer..... How many people use 3 year old PC's, and the more the price falls the more people will replace them.

Re:Linux is not another Windows (1)

Applekid (993327) | about 7 years ago | (#19734535)

A) Lots of people use 3 year old PCs. I had a favor called in just the other day to repair an old Pentium-II system.

B) I think GP was referring to the applications one uses 3 years from now. Today someone might be using word processing and email, while 10 years ago they might just be using word processing. I think it's possible that a next Killer App can come out within 3 years... all it takes is a great idea. And if cross-platform tools are good enough, that Killer App would be truly OS agnostic.

Re:Linux is not another Windows (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | about 7 years ago | (#19734811)

So the answer is buy a pentium II now, and a new computer 3 years from now.

Re:Linux is not another Windows (3, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | about 7 years ago | (#19734703)

How many people use 3 year old PC's

Are you kidding? I've seen businesses that were still running pentium 1 systems in 2000 and 2001.

Not everyone replaces all of their equipment every couple of years. For instance, the laptop I'm writing this on was bought in 2003. With a 2.4ghz processor and a decent amount of ram, it still performs quite well even when I'm doing development.

As for the people who just use a computer for email and surfing, most of them don't have to get a new machine until the one they're using dies.

It's a budget thing, and most people simply have better things to spend their money on than a new computer every other year.

Re:Linux is not another Windows (2, Informative)

Threni (635302) | about 7 years ago | (#19734823)

> How many people use 3 year old PC's

I'd have thought the average age of a PC is around 3 years. How many people use a new PC? Not everyone even gets a new PC - they get handed down one. Certainly that's the way it works in every company I've worked for. Developers/managers get the new ones, and they trickle down to the rest of the business. After 5 years the OS (lets face it, we're talking Windows here) stops being supported , so you'll have (right now) W2K boxes being replaced with XP (yeah, I've yet to hear of any company rolling out Vista).

> the more the price falls the more people will replace them.

The price of the PC isn't too important. Companies don't upgrade just because a replacement is cheap, and when a computer needs replacing it'll be replaced regardless of the cost. Most PCs belong to companies, not individuals. Individuals probably hang onto kit even longer than businesses do. It may surprise the average Slashdot reader but most people don't replace something unless it breaks.

Re:Linux is not another Windows (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734437)

VisualWorks Smalltalk. More powerful IDE than Visual Studio and cross platform across windows, linux, unix, mac, etc..etc..

Last time I used VisualStudio (2 years ago) my thought was "not bad, they're finally up to mid 90s Smalltalk standards for IDE productivity"

Re:Linux is not another Windows (5, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | about 7 years ago | (#19734601)

We are far more productive just sticking to one set of code for one platform, because there are no good languages out there that work for any platform.

Excuse me for being naive, but why not Java? Its not like Java carries any performance penalty as compared to C# - both are JIT compiled languages that are run by a VM. Java has excellent developer tools as well: both Eclipse and Netbeans have matured as IDEs.

Re:Linux is not another Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734643)

Or contribute to the Mono project.

I have great hope that Mono winforms will reach a state in which it can directly import most windows .NET applications.

It would be great sport to wrest control of one of Microsoft's own languages from Microsoft.

Re:Linux is not another Windows (2, Informative)

Stamen (745223) | about 7 years ago | (#19734685)

People write this sometimes and it baffles me. I use Visual Studio 2005 all the time, and it's a fine IDE, but it has some major issues and I don't find it any better than Eclipse, IDEA, or NetBeans for Java (all of which run on Windows, OS X, and Linux). I'm not saying Visual Studio is bad, it isn't, but it's hardly awesome like some people describe it. My assumption is that people who say that haven't really spent any time with those other IDEs.

When writing Java in IDEA 5 years ago, it had all the fancy editor stuff like re-factoring that Visual Studio just got. Later when I would switch over to c# from Java I always missed IDEA, Visual Studio was lagging in many ways.

For stuff like MFC work in c++, OS X has a very nice development environment with their X-Code.

Take a look at NetBeans 6 or Eclipse, I think you may be surprised. If you are doing web development, give up your IDE, which is just a crutch for such work, buy a Mac, buy TextMate, then learn Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Get your work done faster, smile more, and release your code on any platform you like; just my humble opinion, of course.

Hardly Surprising... (3, Interesting)

Shuntros (1059306) | about 7 years ago | (#19733975)

Embedded Linux is growing like chuff, and has been for some time. Around 3/4 of Linux jobs on my preferred job site are now for embedded, and for damn good money aswell!

Surely that's the [regularly stated on /.] point, let people hack around with source and they'll do amazing things. Keep it all locked up in a nice blue box and what do you get? A bunch of crap smartphones which aren't clever. Meh.

Hardly Filming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734181)

"Keep it all locked up in a nice blue box and what do you get? "

Red vs Blue [roosterteeth.com]

Hmmm... (0, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#19733987)

Stop the horses cowboy. The majority of the developers for Linuzzzzzzzzzzzz are writing multiplatform applications. Which of course include Windows. And OsX and whatever.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734127)

Have you considered suicide [thebestpag...iverse.net] ?
Still better than trolling on ./

Get some friends.

basic math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19733995)

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.
64.8%+12%=74% seems to be a decline in calculator programs too.

Re:basic math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734083)

That's 74%-(100%-12%)=64.8%, Dr. Fermat.

Re:basic math (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 7 years ago | (#19734191)

Congratulations! I didn't think it could actually be possible to write something worse than your parent.

Re:basic math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734349)

I'm glad I at least had the foresight to post that anonymously.

Re:basic math (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 7 years ago | (#19734093)

64.8%+12%=74% seems to be a decline in calculator programs too.
The 12% decline is a percentage decline in a number that happens to be a percentage, i.e. falling from 74 to 64.8 is a drop of:
    (74 - 64.8) / 74 -> 12.4%

Re:basic math (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | about 7 years ago | (#19734129)

They had 74% then whatever that total was declined by 12%. They didn't lose 12% of ALL developers, only the ones they had.

1-(.648/.74) ~= .124 or 12.4%

Nice but worthless data (2, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | about 7 years ago | (#19733997)

Was it the same 400 developers surveyed? A 12% increase in Linux could mean more Linux developers or it could just mean less Windows developers. If I carefully pick my 400 to survey I could post a completely legit survey showing that OS2 is making a comeback. I hate survey's like this, unless the sampling pool is static is means absolutely nothing.

Javascript? Thats just one step up from HTML as far as "development" goes, of course it has 3 times the users, unlike Perl, Ruby and Python all you need is 24 hours and a dummies book.

Re:Nice but worthless data (1)

ThisIsWhyImHot (1121637) | about 7 years ago | (#19734069)

I have to agree with this. Also the article doesn't seem to make a mention of the developers that write software for both platforms by virtualization or not.

Re:Nice but worthless data (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19734261)

If I carefully pick my 400 to survey I could post a completely legit survey showing that OS2 is making a comeback.

While I agree with your general point, your survey would not be legitimate if that was its finding and sample :)

Re:Nice but worthless data (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 7 years ago | (#19734313)

If I carefully pick my 400 to survey I could post a completely legit survey

If you carefully pick your 400, your survey isn't legit.

True but (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 years ago | (#19734855)

Simply randomly picking 400 doesn't necessairily do a good job either, especially if it really isn't random. One big problem with many surveys is they are self selecting to a large degree. The survey company sends out paper surveys or makes calls. While they may do so in a truly random to stratified random fashion, the people that elect to respond may not be a random subset. For example, suppose that Linux developers are much more likely to want to evangelize their choice. We certainly know that minority platform supporters are extremely vocal as a whole (you see it here daily on Slashdot). So perhaps they call 4000 developers, and only 10% elect to respond. However of that 4000 developer set, only 50 (1.25%) are Linux developers. However all but two elect to respond. That would give the 12% result reported, yet be grossly inaccurate of the overall picture.

I'm not saying that is what happened, but simply saying "Well we called a random sample," doesn't cut it since you are dealing with self selection. Likewise, if you try to control for that and screw up the way you pick your sample you can bias it yourself.

This is not an easy thing to deal with, and pollsters fuck it up ALL the time. Witness the Family Guy fiasco. Fox canceled it because their numbers said people weren't watching it. DVD sales proved that their numbers were full of shit, they just hadn't been measuring most of the demographic that did watch it properly.

Re:Nice but worthless data (3, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | about 7 years ago | (#19734409)

If I carefully pick my 400 to survey I could post a completely legit survey showing that OS2 is making a comeback. I hate survey's like this, unless the sampling pool is static is means absolutely nothing.
The whole foundation of surveys like this is that the sample is representative of the population as a whole. They probably chose developers in different pay grades, industries, etc. based on the total demographic percentage of developers in those pay grades, industries, etc. They "carefully pick" their 400 specifically to NOT bias their conclusion.

Re:Nice but worthless data (1)

harshaw (3140) | about 7 years ago | (#19734753)

The whole point of modern web apps is doing *real* development with javascript so I wouldn't pass it off so lightly. And I challenge you to really know javascript in 24 hours - perhaps you would like to look at the Mochikit or prototype source code?

Probably news for the Linux Cheerleaders but... (1)

Tempest451 (791438) | about 7 years ago | (#19734003)

This is really just the nature of business. Microsoft probably doesnt see this as a real issue for concern.

ob (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734011)

Cue the "GPL is intellectual theft" troll in 9... 8... 7...

Linux will win! (0, Troll)

CyberPhoenix (1121789) | about 7 years ago | (#19734035)

Linux is superior to expensive, low quality, DRM/activation/WGA infected Windows. Linux market share gains are inevitable.

Linux is a better target for new developers. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 years ago | (#19734037)

Windows is satrated with third party apps. Anything you do for windows will most likely compete with someone elses program and you will have an uphill battle to get adoption. Linux there is a huge gap of programs that it needs allowing programmers a better chance to get a good foothold as a key app. Or the more ambition the next killer app. Making software for windows will either be medocre at best (In terms of sales) or if it is a really good app Microsoft will make a clone of it and imbed it into windows so you don't have a chance of competing, or discredited for some other application. Linux apps have a better chance of getting some staying power and your new app may get some ground.

Re:Linux is a better target for new developers. (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19734419)

I think they said the survey included developers in enterprises and system integrators, but I'm not sure whether it means it was limited to these or not.

Is there much of a market for Linux apps? I don't know much about Linux, but it seems like all the stuff I have heard of is free.

Re:Linux is a better target for new developers. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 years ago | (#19734579)

There is a fair amount of comerical apps too. Most are not targeted toward consumers. Developer Tools, CAD Systems, Version Controls, Databases... They are more for buisness uses, then indivual uses. Linux is still not a consuemer OS it is good for Businesses but not for homes.

Not suprising... (2, Insightful)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | about 7 years ago | (#19734047)

I assume that by "nontraditional client devices" they mean embedded platforms. If so, then this really isn't surprising, or even really all that noteworthy at all.

There continues to be a vast increase in the number of embedded chips capable of running a full-fledged OS (like Linux) and as the chips get smaller, the of course get put into more things. Not only does Windows CE not support a lot of these chips, but even if it did no one in their right mind would use windows for something that didn't need a GUI. The only time to even consider using WinCE is in a PDA like-device, and thats a very small percentage of the embedded market.

Re:Not suprising... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 7 years ago | (#19734697)

Not only does Windows CE not support a lot of these chips, but even if it did no one in their right mind would use windows for something that didn't need a GUI

Win CE is not Microsoft's only entry in the embedded market.

The embedded market for devices with a GUI has grown rather larger and more complex than that of the PDA. Microsoft Windows Embedded [microsoft.com] , Windows Automotive [microsoft.com]

A more meaningful measure? (1)

Snart Barfunz (526615) | about 7 years ago | (#19734049)

How about a survey of platforms? I'd like to see a comparison that includes not just the various OSes, but the web. I suspect the web browser/server is the real growth application platform.

developers developers (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | about 7 years ago | (#19734051)

developers fasd t developers aret4t4 af developers afafds developers afsd xbw developers xbv wretwt developers w5 sgs developers sg sdf developers gsgd gd developers nf gfsadg developers aergf fgd developers afsdadevelopers fasd t developers aret4t4 af developers afafds developers afsd xbw developers xbv wretwt developers w5 sgs developers sg sdf developers gsgd gd developers nf gfsadg developers aergf fgd developers afsdadevelopers fasd t developers aret4t4 af developers afafds developers afsd xbw developers xbv wretwt developers w5 sgs developers sg sdf developers gsgd gd developers nf gfsadg developers aergf fgd developers afsda developers sd809fhsaf dfsa developers sadfj defdsa developers dfgfasd fdsa developers sfdaio asdf developers aspfioa sdokf developers adfioamfds dsf developers adsfok sdfasf

Excellent (1)

theolein (316044) | about 7 years ago | (#19734059)

it, linux, microsoft, chairthrowing, developersdevelopersdevelopers (tagging beta)

Why target? (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | about 7 years ago | (#19734063)

Why target one platform or another except in very specific cases? Use Java, Python or Perl (as a last resort! :)) and make it cross platform.

Good point :) (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19734459)

I like coding in Java. Especially now that it's been GPL'd.

.net anyone? (4, Interesting)

hxnwix (652290) | about 7 years ago | (#19734097)

By day, I code in WTL, Win32API and (regrettably) MFC. Like a great many, I wonder whether .net is pushing developers away from Windows.

This mess is drawing Microsoft's attention away from the C/C++ layer, where it's sorely needed, and into what, as far as I'm concerned, is comparable to Visual Basic. Put simply, neither my employer nor I are interested in writing in a proprietary, bytecode-interpreted language. If we have to abandon our C/C++ investment, it certainly wont be for a proprietary java knockoff. It will be for the real thing, allowing us to slowly drift away from Windows.

Re:.net anyone? (0)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19734589)

As much as I hate to admit it, coding in .NET/C# is surprisingly pleasant. Obviously, it can't and shouldn't replace C/C++ for a lot things, but comparing it to Visual Basic is harsh. C# IS basically Java, while my main dislike of VB.NET is its horrible, overly verbose syntax.

Anyway there's always Mono [mono-project.com] ...

Developing for Linux is just easier. (5, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 7 years ago | (#19734671)

One of the reasons that Windows has the kind of IDE and debugger support that it 'enjoys' is because it needs it. Developing for Windows is nearly unmanageable without that kind of support. The Windows API is huge, complex, only occasionally and accidentally orthogonal, and in my experience mostly very poorly documented. I'm not the only one who thinks so [charlespetzold.com] :

"Today we are ready for the official release of the .NET Framework 2.0. Tabulating only MSCORLIB.DLL and those assemblies that begin with word System, we have over 5,000 public classes that include over 45,000 public methods and 15,000 public properties, not counting those methods and properties that are inherited and not overridden. A book that simply listed the names, return values, and arguments of these methods and properties, one per line, would be about a thousand pages long.

If you wrote each of those 60,000 properties and methods on a 3-by-5 index card with a little description of what it did, you'd have a stack that totaled 40 feet."

Meanwhile, the entire POSIX spec, suitable for fully implementing a POSIX system including the utility apps, with commentary and rationales for design decisions, fits in about two and a half feet of binders.

Intellisense is practically mandated if you want to work with an interface as baroque as Win32. And it's nice even when you're working with your own defined classes and structures. But it has its own drawbacks, as Petzold notes:

"For example, suppose you're typing some code and you decide you need a variable named id, and instead of defining it first, you start typing a statement that begins with id and a space. I always type a space between my variable and the equals sign. Because id is not defined anywhere, IntelliSense will find something that begins with those two letters that is syntactically correct in accordance with the references, namespaces, and context of your code. In my particular case, IntelliSense decided that I really wanted to define a variable of interface type IDataGridColumnStyleEditingNotificationService, an interface I've never had occasion to use."

I develop for many platforms at work. It's a core part of my job. I mostly enjoy writing code for Unixish platforms, and tolerate the Windows stuff. The APIs on Unix are small, well-thought-out, have few if any side effects, and tend to be thoroughly documented. I find very few interfaces on Windows have even a majority of these traits, let alone all of them.

I've rarely felt the need for more debugging support than Linux comes with. The problems tend to be simpler and more easily uncovered. Eclipse is nice, and appears to take many of the good things about Visual Studio and leave much of the bad behind. For some projects, it's very useful. For others, it's overkill.

Another item worth reading - the whole book, really - is The Art Of Unix Programming [faqs.org] . For a Windows developer's perspective on the book, see here [joelonsoftware.com] . Needless to say, I don't agree with everything he writes there, but you might find it interesting.

Metrics (2, Insightful)

jshriverWVU (810740) | about 7 years ago | (#19734107)

Curious how they count these people. Is a windows developer someone who writes strictly for .Net/Win32 API if so that makes sense. But I wouldn't call a person who uses Zend to write php scripts in Windows a windows programmer if the software will be run on a linux box with apache and php.

It's the target platform that matters in my view, if they took this into account I'm sure that linux would be a lot higher, because it would count all of the Web 2.0 people who are hosting on Linux but write in windows.

11%?! (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19734175)

DAMN 11% in one year?! Personally I don't know how reliable their survey was, but being an ASP.NET developer (I assume that would be included for Windows), that scares me a little bit. I'd love to program for Mac or Linux; I do .NET 'cause that's the work I can get right now, but I don't want to become obsolete.

Being trained to administrate an AIX 4.3.3 box here lately doesn't help... Talk about a triceratops enema!

Re:11%?! (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | about 7 years ago | (#19734429)

To a certain extent Microsoft makes a living by forcing developers to learn new technologies. You probably should be somewhat concerned about the long term viability of the skills that you are currently acquiring. On the bright side the Mono hackers appear to be doing a pretty good job of giving people in your position a viable road to a Free Software platform.

I don't use Microsoft's technologies personally, but I wouldn't be too concerned about .NET becoming the next Powerbuilder. There's a large enough community that your skills are safe, and there's a workable Free Software variant if Microsoft decides to get pushy.

Blowing off VB6 burned some bridges (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 7 years ago | (#19734177)

The way Microsoft ended Vb6 with no easy upgrade path to .net both irritated developers here and stranded some of them in vb6 with no path to .net. Some of them trained to java (tho they would have preferred .net).

Re:Blowing off VB6 burned some bridges (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19734359)

Bad for Microsoft. Good for development in general.

I recently finished a huge VB web application for a government client of ours. All bullshit bureaucracy aside, VB syntax really bothered me. The fewer people using VB the better; I would love to never have to look at a line of VB.NET ever again.

What about cross platform? (1)

jmors (682994) | about 7 years ago | (#19734187)

I wonder how this survey counts web applications with a browser front end and a mysql/php backend or applications written in java as well as other software development that is purposely not targeted for any specific platform? It is heartening to see linux gaining share but more and more it is possible to code not for a specific platform but rather to requirements in a platform agnostic manner.

Java is... (2, Funny)

teknopurge (199509) | about 7 years ago | (#19734201)

ubiquitous, even on mobile[linux] devices. As a Java Application Architect I care very little about what my infrastructure is, so long as it's not WebSphere. Mobile linux and Netbeans work _very_ nicely together. I can even whisper sweet nothings to Active Directory with my LDAP powers.

Give me the Toaster-based BSD and a jre higher than 1.4.2 and get out of my way!

Different niches (4, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | about 7 years ago | (#19734231)

For mainstream and corporate software, Windows may continue to rule, but the biggest leaps I've seen in development have been in the niches where Linux has prominence. Audio, networking, manufacturing and server-side work is booming for Linux.

In a perfect world, this article would distinguish between development "for pay" and all development.

New Ballmer Chant (5, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | about 7 years ago | (#19734251)

Developers! Developers! Developers! De-- hey where'd everybody go?

Basic Math (0)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 7 years ago | (#19734311)

From TFA:

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.
Actually going from 11.8% from 8.8% is only a 3% increase, not 34%. I always find it odd when people calculate a percent increase in a percent, because it doesn't make any sense, wouldn't that be a perdecamil? (1 part in 100 times 1 part in 100 = one part in 10,000)

Re:Basic Math (1)

Aidtopia (667351) | about 7 years ago | (#19734559)

Actually going from 11.8% from 8.8% is only a 3% increase, not 34%.

No, it's a 3 percentage point increase, but that's still an increase of 34%. Suppose the sample size was 1000 developers, then change was from 88 developers to 118. That's a 34% increase.

Re:Basic Math (1)

camh (32881) | about 7 years ago | (#19734585)

I'm afraid you just failed basic math. What you describe is a three percentage point increase. Consider it this way. There were 88 linux developers, now there are 118 linux developers, which is a 34 percent increase. That applies whether you started with 8.8%, 8.8 people, 88 companies, etc

Re:Basic Math (1)

Quigley (18976) | about 7 years ago | (#19734783)

The quantity of developers increases by 34%. A percentage is a ratio, so let's multiply by 100 to get pretend quantities:

8.8 developers + 8.8 developers * 0.34 = 11.8 developers

The percentage of developers increases by 3%:

8.8% + 3% = 11.8%

I think the frame of reference (quantity or percenage) is usually chosen carefully to provide the most (or least, depending on the intent of the article) dramatic effect.

Re:Basic Math (2, Informative)

lilomar (1072448) | about 7 years ago | (#19734839)

11.8 - 8.8 = 3.0
percentage of developers on Linux now - percentage of developers on Linux a year ago = percentage of developers who switched to Linux

3.0 / 8.8 = .34
percentage of developers who switched to Linux / percentage of developers on Linux a year ago = percentage of Linux developers who switched in the last year

So, the number of Linux developers increased by 34% in the last year.

What took everyone else so long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734323)

Windows lost me as a C developer back in 1992 when they suddenly decided to turn their "Developement Community" into profit margin. No room for the little guy after that. But as cross platform tools came a long life got easyer else where.

Targeting Win32 Specifically? Winforms? IIS? .NET? (0, Flamebait)

blcamp (211756) | about 7 years ago | (#19734353)


It's not clear what is meant by the opening statement "Microsoft's Windows platform is losing traction" means.

If I am writing a web application that happens to run on IIS, am I really "targeting Microsoft Windows"? I don't think so - all I'm "targeting" a web browser running on a client machine, and I shouldn't know nor care what operating system, platform nor browser it has installed.

TFA doesn't seem to be making much of a point other than saying "we hate Microsoft, we think others do too, and therefore so should you".

By the same logic, the folks writing COBOL to run on big iron should have packed it in decades ago. Guess what? They're still around, and they're still going to be around.

Nice try, Redmond-bashers. You gotta come up with something better than that...

Re:Targeting Win32 Specifically? Winforms? IIS? .N (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19734469)

If I am writing a web application that happens to run on IIS, am I really "targeting Microsoft Windows"?
Is this a trick question?

Re:Targeting Win32 Specifically? Winforms? IIS? .N (1)

cromar (1103585) | about 7 years ago | (#19734701)

Another point is that Windows is losing developers.

And yes, if you code .NET for IIS that is Windows dev for the time being (we'll see how Mono [mono-project.com] will do). Because you are using the web for you GUI doesn't mean that your code isn't running under windows...

Embedded Linux (3, Insightful)

hatchet (528688) | about 7 years ago | (#19734371)

Really not that surprising, since every other device runs on embedded linux. Everything from handheld GPS devices, electronic locks, routers, switches to satellite receivers/decoders runs on embedded linux now. It's cheapest embedded platform.

Web 2.0 trend (sorry for the buzzword) (1)

Yold (473518) | about 7 years ago | (#19734425)

TFA said that PHP usage has increased 3x. Web Applications are going to comprise the majority of business applications in the future. This is where management-types seem to be headed with everything. We are replacing CUFS (monolithic UNIX finacial database app used at many Big Ten schools) with a web-based solution. Electronic Medical Records systems are also mostly web-based.
    What would have been done with Visual Basic 6 in 1998, is now being done with PHP/.NET/JSP and Ajax technologies. These technologies (on the server-side) are pretty platform agnostic. The future of the client platform, is the web-browser. Microsoft knows this. It is why their standards compliance is horse-shit. If 60% of webbrowsers (w3wschools.org) are IE6/7, people will continue to develop for it as the primary platform. I can't even access my bank-account outside w/o IE. Microsoft is going to continue with their own standards, know matter how much developers bitch, because it fuels their O/S sales and marketshare.
   

Statistics (0, Troll)

E. Edward Grey (815075) | about 7 years ago | (#19734593)

Another important percentage of which you should take note:

The percentage of developers who make their living developing for Linux holds steady at 0%.

Re:Statistics (1)

monxrtr (1105563) | about 7 years ago | (#19734735)

Another important percentage of which you should take note: The percentage of people who make their living COPYING others holds steady at 100%.

What would they expect... (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 7 years ago | (#19734773)

... If they sue the same developers that program on their platforms. I will never develop for a closed platform like Windows which such EULAs, NDAs and whatever else license they put... you never know with what will they come up next in their licenses.

Personally I do Java and love it. I have programmed in C# (Visual studio 2005 I think) and I prefer Eclipse, for production (read, real enterprise applications) environments.
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