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Survey: More developers OK with Linux

By Rich Seeley

Surveying developers since 1999, Joe McKendrick, database analyst for Evans Data Corp., is finding growing support for Linux and open-source software.

"We found very strong growth in Linux as a deployment platform," he said of the recently completed developer survey.

McKendrick said a rise in confidence in Linux as an operating system is boosted by its support from IBM. Cost savings from implementing Linux is another driver of its adoption. In the Evans survey, 62% of database developers said they expected to save money by going with Linux.

Skepticism about Linux in the late 1990s is being replaced by confidence in the operating system and the open-source software that runs on it, such as MySQL, he said.

"There was some skepticism about open source a few years back, especially among corporate developers," McKendrick said, noting that "large IT organizations need that on-going support that commercial software product suppliers can provide. Now, with a growing number of companies offering open-source products -- IBM, for example, offering Linux, and MySQL as a company has grown -- we're seeing a growing level of confidence."

The Evans surveys, which are done every six months, are finding increasing support for the open-source database from MySQL AB of Sweden, which is marketed in the U.S. by MySQL, Inc., Seattle, McKendrick said.

"About 10% to 15% of developers said they used MySQL the first time we asked them in early 2001," McKendrick said. "Now, about three years later, we find four out of 10 [40%] developers now use MySQL. That number is expected to grow to about six out of 10 [60%] a year from now [based on] their plans for the next year."

Evans reports that while overall Microsoft SQL Server and Access usage grew by 6% in the past year, MySQL usage increased 30%.

Still McKendrick does not see Linux threatening Windows dominant position in desktop application development.

"Microsoft and Windows still have a commanding lead in this area," McKendrick said. "Most developers develop applications on a Windows-based workstation and that will continue. We're seeing a lot of movement toward Windows XP as a development workstation. In terms of deployment, Linux has grown, but most companies still rely on Windows 2000 with Windows 2003 coming into the picture. There's a lot of strength with Linux and it's growing in the deployment area, but Microsoft still dominates this space."

More information about the Evans Data survey is available at http://www.evansdata.com/.

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