Enterprise Linux Log

Aug 17 2011   3:19PM GMT

Linux falling behind as a development platform

Nick Martin Nick Martin Profile: Nick Martin

More developers are now turning to Mac OS over Linux as their development platform, according to a recent survey. The Evans Data North American Development Survey, released earlier this month, showed Mac OS surpassing Linux as the primary software development environment in North America.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that Windows remains the most popular development platform, with more than 80% of the market, but the news that Linux has now lost its second place position to Mac OS is opening some eyes. Almost 8% of developers are now using Mac OS, with only 5.6% using Linux.

When you consider the explosion of Apple (driven forward by the success of its iPhone and iPad) over the past several years, this shift seemed almost inevitable.

Byron Wright, a developer who switched from Linux to Mac OS, said his choice was based on a variety of reasons, but notes the recent success of Apple products was a large factor.

“I think the major thing driving this change has been the rise of the mobile space. Developers are flocking here to take advantage of the iOS platform (iPad/iTouch/iPhone). In order to do development for iOS you have to own Apple hardware.”

There is no such requirement for Linux. In fact, Wright says, it is now just as easy to develop Android applications on the Mac OS as it is on Linux. He said it would be reasonable to expect Mac OS to grow as a development platform, but Apple still faces some challenges in its push to catch up with Microsoft.

“Apple’s biggest challenge right now is fighting off competition from Android, HP, Microsoft, RIM and Nokia, especially in the mobile space,” Wright says. “However, they’re doing a great job so far. The thing is, developers will go where ever the money is, and right now it’s great to be a mobile developer. I think we’d see a major shift if Google can marginalize Apple in the mobile space. I don’t see that happening for a long time, if at all.”

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