Windows Plans on the Wane for Developers

North American software developers are expecting to devote less of their efforts toward developing for the Microsoft Windows operating system, with some of the slack being absorbed by Linux and niche operating systems, according to a survey conducted by Evans Data Corp.

Those findings are part of Evans Data Corp.'s Spring 2007 North American Development Survey, which found a 12 percent decline in the "targeting" of Windows by developers compared with last year.

The survey measured the responses of more than 400 software developers and IT managers. Evans Data Corp. distinguishes the concept of "targeting" vs. actual use. While targeting for Windows showed a decrease, the "use of Windows on the development desktop remains steady," according to an announcement issued by the company.

This year's survey found that 64.8 percent of developers were pursuing some version of Windows, representing a decline from the 74 percent interest in Windows that was recorded by the survey last year.

Windows still has the lion's share of the North American developers' attention. However, developer interest in Linux has increased. The Spring 2007 survey found that 11.8 percent of North American developers were pursuing Linux. Last year, that figure was 8.8 percent, so there was a 34 percent increase in developer interest in Linux when compared year to year.

In a press release, John Andrews, Evans Data Corp.'s president and CEO, characterized the survey's results as showing "a shift away from Windows [that] began about two years ago, and the data shows that this migration is now accelerating."

But it's not just the Linux OS that's grabbed the attention of developers. Their interest has been diverted as well by "niche operating systems for non-traditional client devices," Andrews stated.

The Spring 2007 North American Development survey is part of a broader biannual survey conducted by Evans Data Corp. Other results from the overall series include the finding that Javascript tops the list as the "most widely used scripting language." However, the use of Ruby is on the rise, with a 50 percent growth rate predicted by next year.

The series results also showed a growing interest in virtualization by North American developers. One third of respondents said that they are "currently working with virtualization." Moreover, 42.5 percent of the respondents expect to adopt virtualization technology within the next year.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.