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Microsoft Software IT Linux

Windows Loses Ground With Developers 431

Posted by kdawson
from the rising-tide-lifts-all-penguins dept.
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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Windows Loses Ground With Developers

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  • Ob.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:43PM (#19733913) Homepage Journal

    ObSweatTardLink: Developer Music Video [developersdevelopers.com]

    Awesome.

    • 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: (Score:3, Funny)

        by misleb (129952)
        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!

        • by xENoLocO (773565) *
          Isn't 11% "only" the share of the preferred browsers that firefox enjoys? It's a big deal then... I would say this is a decent size deal.
          • Re:Ob.. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @05:01PM (#19735757) Homepage Journal
            The migration of developers away from personal computers toward "nontraditional client devices" worries me a bit. The best thing about the rise of the PC was that it gave people access to a machine that could be configured to do a lot of different things, including "learn about making your own applications". I wonder whether all the "embedded devices" will also provide a coming generation with a platform from which to recreate their world the way PCs did for us.

            I love the Mac interface, but the thing I always loved about Windows was that it forced me to look more closely at what was going on than I may have wanted to. And that exploration of the nuts and bolts of an overcomplicated desktop OS gave me insights that I may never have gained had I stuck with the more opaque Mac OS. Of course, for those who want that experience today, Linux has it in spades. But as much as I loathe Vista and the company that has trumpeted this abomination on us, I'm glad that I had to learn about a "registry" and I'm glad I had to learn about shared libraries and memory management.

            As much as I'm sure that the devices that will contain embedded processors will provide us with utility and convenience, pleasure and all varieties of entertainment, I hope that the idea of an all-purpose, configurable, expandable box with a keyboard and operating system doesn't go away any time soon. And I hope that developers continue to create tools for us to use on those boxes.
            • Re:Ob.. (Score:4, Insightful)

              by jgrahn (181062) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @05:55PM (#19736411)

              The migration of developers away from personal computers toward "nontraditional client devices" worries me a bit. The best thing about the rise of the PC was that it gave people access to a machine that could be configured to do a lot of different things, including "learn about making your own applications". I wonder whether all the "embedded devices" will also provide a coming generation with a platform from which to recreate their world the way PCs did for us.

              I see what you mean, and I agree. A computer should be programmable by its users.

              One correction though: it wasn't the PC that turned kids into programmers. It was (a) Unix systems at universities and (b) the cheap home computers of the 1980s, with a BASIC interpreter and a demo scene, like the Commodore 64.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by BasilBrush (643681)
              I love the Mac interface, but the thing I always loved about Windows was that it forced me to look more closely at what was going on than I may have wanted to. And that exploration of the nuts and bolts of an overcomplicated desktop OS gave me insights that I may never have gained had I stuck with the more opaque Mac OS. Of course, for those who want that experience today, Linux has it in spades. But as much as I loathe Vista and the company that has trumpeted this abomination on us, I'm glad that I had to
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by gig (78408)
              > And that exploration of the nuts and bolts of an overcomplicated [Windows] desktop OS gave me insights that I may never have gained had I stuck with the more opaque Mac OS

              The overcomplicated state of Windows has done more to turn people off computers than it has to help them. There are only a paltry 500 million personal computers in the world, that is abject failure on the part of the 30 year old personal computer industry. There are 4x as many phones right now and everyone will tell you phones suck. M
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Fred_A (10934)

                It is Windows that is opaque, in my opinion. Especially if you're not an MSDN member C software developer. Windows users are not supposed to develop their own custom software, they're supposed to buy software from Microsoft's developers developers developers.

                Quite so. Back when I *was* a developer (on Tandem minis, semi-big iron, definitely not user friendly systems), I quit Windows because the first Linux distro had become available and I couldn't really understand how Windows worked anyway since it did

      • Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, .... Developer.... Where's everyone gone????
    • by nschubach (922175)
      I just can't get enough of that video, especially the hobbling around and screaming at the top of his lungs :P
  • by chris098 (536090) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:45PM (#19733935) Homepage
    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.
    • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:55PM (#19734071) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • by jimstapleton (999106) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:24PM (#19734461) Journal
        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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cyberax (705495)
          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).
          • 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...
            • Then you are breaking the qt license, which is GPL.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by jimstapleton (999106)
                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.
                • by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:58PM (#19734941)
                  No, you can't (effectively).

                  You can have your code under BSD license, because it's less restricting than GPL. But if anyone tries to use your application as a part of a commercial closed-source project, then they will be violating _GPL_ license of QT. Which, sort of, defeats the whole purpose of BSD license...

                  You can have QT in BSDs without GPLing the whole thing because of the 'aggregation' clause in GPL.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jimstapleton (999106)
            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: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Altus (1034)

              thats all well and good but when you want to use QStrings everywhere in your application (because they work well, support translation nicely and are compatible with your UI) all of a sudden everyone needs a license or you have to have some kind of compatibility layer so that your back end doesn't need QStrings.

              Its doable, but its not trivial.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Cyberax (705495)
              Nope. EACH developer who needs to compile sources which use QT should have a developer license (that's what our legal department said after talking with Trolltech). In practice, it's easier to buy license for every developer.

              BTW, I was wrong with the price. It's $6600 per developer for three-platform desktop edition - http://trolltech.com/products/qt/licenses/pricing [trolltech.com]
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by LWATCDR (28044)
            No QT is free if your software is free.
            It only costs if you charge for your software.
            Frankly the price starts out at 6600 for Mac, Windows, and Linux for the first developer I think. Not all that expensive for a such a great tool.
        • by misleb (129952)
          As a Mac user and hobby developer, I'd much rather stick with native UI components for whatever platform I'm targetting. Sure, QT can LOOK like an OS X app, but as far as I know you miss out on a lot of integration with the OS and advanced Cocoa features. For example, you couldn't create something as simple as a statusbar item with QT, AFAIK. A better approach, IMO, is to design the application using strict MVC approach (which Apple already encourages with Interface Builder) and have a different view layer
          • by Jugalator (259273)
            wxWidgets is a cross-platform API that is quite unique in that it uses the native UI widgets:
            http://www.wxwidgets.org/ [wxwidgets.org]

            As a Windows user, I'm also happy that I don't have to use some sort of "platform neutral" UI, that usually only do a compromise for limited UI functionality for all platforms instead. I've seen too much of that happen with Java and GTK apps. :-(
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by pherthyl (445706)
            For example, you couldn't create something as simple as a statusbar item with QT, AFAIK.

            I think this is what you want: http://doc.trolltech.com/4.2/desktop-systray.html/ [trolltech.com]
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:31PM (#19734551) Homepage Journal
        "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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fyngyrz (762201) *

          The solution is really simple

          No, it really isn't. LGPL [gnu.org] is the only general solution right now for a typical commercial application, and it presents problems with IP; specifically, section 4d, which boils down to providing code for the user to recompile that links to the LGPL'd libraries (not likely with most commercial IP models), or depending on the fact that the user has the library on their system already, which you can't do, because if they don't, your app, and therefore your whole commercial premi

      • by Nevyn (5505) * on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:48PM (#19734793) Homepage Journal

        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.

      • by Srin Tuar (147269) <zeroday26@yahoo.com> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:48PM (#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.

      • 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

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CompMD (522020)
        Our company writes software in Delphi, and we seriously considered using Kylix to release our software to Linux users in addition to Windows users. We ran into too many issues since the program had too many Windows specific things added in that it wasn't worth it to go that route.

        Then there's the other side. We use a lot of scientific and engineering software that will only run on proprietary Unix systems. Recently, the developers of one of those programs decided to try and port their 64-bit Unix version
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        You're getting a lot of Qt and GTK fanboys replying to you, but I wonder if you've considered GNUstep. If your app just uses Foundation and AppKit, it should just work (GNUstep can read OS X .nib files now). If it uses more, then you might need some extra works (although things like AddressBook are supported).

        I don't know anything about your app, but you might be able to get a *NIX port almost for free. GNUstep runs on Windows too, but the Win32 back end is still a bit... interesting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        I don't know of any Windows developers who have abandoned Windows development altogether.

        We did.

        At least, in the sense that we're now targetting Python + wxWidgets (and soon QT4) for pretty much all new development. Most of our programmers still use Windows as their desktop OS, but all of our new software is testing to work at least on Windows and Linux (and FreeBSD for server stuff, and OS X if we're bored).

        Honestly, we've had enough of vendor lock-in. Sure, our programs still need to be able to run on Windows but that's only part of the requirements now. Given that we've already roll

    • 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 a
    • From this article [techtarget.com]:

      The survey featured developers at enterprises, VARs and system integrators, and covered both client and server application development. According to the survey, the decline in Windows targeting by developers started in 2005, and has increased year-over-year as Linux matured and gained in popularity as an enterprise level OS.

      The numbers quoted in that article are also a little different:

      ...the number of developers targeting Linux for their server- and client-side applications increased by

  • by cybrthng (22291) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:47PM (#19733963) Journal
    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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BadERA (107121)
      "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 -- a
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:48PM (#19733973) Journal
    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!
  • Hardly Surprising... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shuntros (1059306)
    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.
  • 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
    • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:15PM (#19734313) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • 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 pl
    • by mhall119 (1035984) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:21PM (#19734409) Homepage Journal

      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.
    • by harshaw (3140)
      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?
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:53PM (#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.
    • 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.

      • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by misleb (129952)
      But at the same time, you have less chance of making money off Linux software if only because Linux users are spoiled with so much free software. It isn't like WIndows where users are accustomed to paying ~$20 for a fscking screansaver or a tool that takes screenshots.. or something trivial like that. The killer apps that Linux users might pay for are pretty complex (a personal finance app such as Quicken or MS Money, for example). Just being able to code often isn't enough. You have to know the target aud
  • Not suprising... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SoapBox17 (1020345)
    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
    • by westlake (615356)
      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]

  • 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.
  • it, linux, microsoft, chairthrowing, developersdevelopersdevelopers (tagging beta)
  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ThosLives (686517)

      I still like how people think that C is a platform-dependent language.

      I write stuff in C/C++ using OpenGL and it compiles and runs consistently on Windows, OSX, and Linux. I don't need any interpreters (Python) or fancy toolkits or anything.

      Platform independence is not a language issue, it's a library / API issue. If you use Win32 or .Net, you're stuck Windows (excepting Mono). If you use Cocoa, MacOSX. I suppose the equivalent on Linux would be glibc or one of the GUI toolkits. You could probably even c

  • .net anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hxnwix (652290) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:57PM (#19734097) Journal
    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.
    • 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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @02:57PM (#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.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:02PM (#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).
    • by dedazo (737510) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:58PM (#19734933) Journal
      Partly true. In my personal experience the vast majority of VB6 developers are using... VB6, actually. Which is why the VB6 IDE is supported under Vista, but Visual Studio 2003 is not.

      The lack of a clear upgrade path from VB6 has forced companies to hold off on porting, upgrading or even replacing "legacy" VB apps for a lot longer than they otherwise would. The standard average lifecycle for a LOB app in most corporate environments is about 3 years. We're going on 5 now, and unless Microsoft pulls a rabbit out of the hat somehow, these people are probably not going to go to .NET. They'll go to Java or some other technology, at least those that have the option, because some don't. Microsoft has made it really hard for a lot of folks and they're going to end up paying for that in the long run.

      Microsoft squandered the mine gold that was the enormously huge VB developer base. They should have released a follow up to the COM-based VB6 platform with improvements and provided a clear timeline for the jump to the .NET CLR. Instead one day they just announced VB6 was dead, being replaced by something that is arguably better but completely incompatible, at least from a practical standpoint.

      • VB developers should have seen this coming with the incompatibilities that came when VB4 apps had to be ported. This is the problem with marrying your development to a company that holds no one but itself (and not even that many times) as a standard. Many developers I know don't code in MS environments because they like to, but rather because, being a dominant desktop OS, they have to. It's the risk that the code they're writing may be orphaned when MS decides to toss an existing development environment
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by blincoln (592401)
      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.

      What would you have wanted them to do differently? VB6 and prior was a terrible language. MS included a conversion utility in VS 2003 that does a credible job of converting decrepit VB6 code into VB.NET in case you want to retain the ugliness of the old program. I'm not sure what more they could have provided.
  • Java is... (Score:2, Funny)

    by teknopurge (199509)
    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by athloi (1075845) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:07PM (#19734231) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:10PM (#19734251) Homepage
    Developers! Developers! Developers! De-- hey where'd everybody go?
  • Embedded Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hatchet (528688) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @03:19PM (#19734371) Homepage
    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.
  • ... 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.
  • Number != percent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by semifamous (231316) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @04:03PM (#19734997)
    TFA seems to be saying that there is a smaller *percentage* of people working on Windows as compared to other things:

    "Just 64.8 percent targeted the platform as opposed to 74 percent in 2006."

    That does *not* automatically mean that the number has declined. There may still be the same number of or more Windows developers, but their percentage is smaller because the other categories have increased.

    I hate misleading article titles. The numbers should be thought of as multiple line graphs, not a pie chart.
  • Market Potential (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lantastik (877247)
    If I am going to spend the time and effort to write a piece of commercial software, then I am probably going to want to make money off of it. Linux users in general don't like to pay for applications so there would be no way I would write a client application for Linux. Windows Administrators are leery of server applications without an installed user base, so I would tend to avoid writing server applications for the Windows platform (as a start-up mind you).

    That being said, why limit myself to one platfor
  • by caywen (942955) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @04:41PM (#19735455)
    FTA: "The arrival of Windows Vista likely only kept the numbers from being even worse." I think that Vista actually hurt the numbers. Not so much Vista itself, but in Microsoft's post-launch execution. Microsoft's big developer hotness is supposed to be all these great .NET technologies. But the lack of Vista adoption might be putting the brakes on developer enthusiasm because Microsoft is failing to lead the way in showing the end result benefits of it. COM didn't really catch on until Microsoft started demonstrating how hot it was through dogfooding and releasing applications architected on it. With it came a greater degree of modularity and flexibility that they demonstrated compellingly well with IE, Office, Visual Studio, etc. To this day, Microsoft hasn't delivered any real WPF+WCF applications - at least none that a significant number of people care about. They should be pumping out amazing applications that can be showcased on Vista, causing developers to envy and copy them, and causing customers to actually want Vista because of the hotness the developers *and* Microsoft are offering.
  • by micromuncher (171881) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @05:16PM (#19735929) Homepage
    Because most of the Windows defectors I know have gone to OSX.
  • by dinther (738910) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @05:27PM (#19736065) Homepage
    But not surprised. In the last few years Microsoft has increasingly taken a "My way" or the "High way" approach to software development. Like many others I work as a full-time software developer for many years now and these day's building a working solution is the easy part. The hard part is to make sure it runs at a customers site. The very thing Operating systems are supposed to enable.

    The hack and slash security patches Microsoft brings out these days often unexpectedly denies features in the API on which solutions are based thus rendering large chunks of our code useless and a workaround must be found.

    Security is important in a connected world and indeed not recognised enough my many programmers but the hap hazard ducks and dives in Windows makes it hard to tackle this issue in a structured way. Often I find myself hacking my way around "Security patches" in order to restore functionality in our software.

    Add to that this crazy program (I refuse to call it an operating system) called Vista which is is so secure you hardly can run anything on it. I imagine the next version of Windows is 100% secure as it will only run "Notepad" and "Calculator"

    So, bottom line. If the Operating System no longer allows us to use the hardware to drive our programs then the OS get's in the way. For me the problem is that I have a huge skill base in Windows and my programming tools that I don't like to give up. But for some of my projects I seriously consider to try my hand at Linux so I can provide a turnkey solution (Include the OS with the software).

    MS Windows has become like a government. It is supposed to serve but instead it now insists to rule the IT world.
  • by mutterc (828335) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @07:15PM (#19737225)

    What's the point of polling North American developers?

    The 11% decrease in Windows targeting could be because one of the 9 still working here switched to Linux.

  • by John Sokol (109591) on Tuesday July 03, 2007 @07:56PM (#19737699) Homepage Journal
    It might be but with a sample of "400 developers and IT managers in North America"
    there is just far to small of a sample that the margin of error is probably well over 20%

    Also where and how where these "developers and IT managers" sampled.

    At a Microsoft Developers conference?

    Most Linux developers I know are broke and living on almost nothing but air. Many are student, very green (save the environment) or have some other oddness like being idealistic or so focused on Cool stuff they forget that they need to have an income.

    Odds are that these guys did not get surveyed.

    With only such a small sample, I don't give much weight to the results.
    Also it take about 10 Windows developers to get the same work accomplished as one Linux developer.
    Most windows development is dealing with Bugs, Features, bad documentation and changes from Microsoft rather then with real forward progress.

    I'd love to know what they think developers are moving over too? Cross platform stuff like Ajax, TCL, PHP and Java? Cross platform C++ and C? Much of the application layer stuff I work on tends to be platform Agnostic like that. The rest is Kernel and Drivers that are every OS specific, although I even did 2 drivers that were windows and Linux cross platform. It even worked to my own amazement.

    John

  • Useless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by matthewcraig (68187) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @12:25AM (#19739817)
    A whole article on statistics, yet no where does it say what is the confidence level. Is the percent error +/- 10% ? If so, then this is a bogus story. Since it doesn't bother to even say, then this reporting is rubbish. Where's your love for mathematics, Slashdot editors?

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