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Eclipse Community Survey 2012

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The yearly Eclipse Community Survey has been released for 2012, including a number of highlights from the results. Whilst last year's showed a nascent rise in Distributed Version Control Systems, this year's shows a much bigger growth in Git in particular.

Ian Skerrett, Marketing Director at Eclipse, summarised the report as follows:

  • Git Momentum Continues to Grow
  • Maven Usage Accelerating
  • Spring and EJBs continue to be popular server frameworks. Equinox and OSGi increasing too
  • Mobile computing = Android + iOS
  • Developer motivation is driven by their belief in FOSS, learning new technologies and improving the project
  • Corporate policies towards open source becoming more positive

The raw data is available, either as Excel or OpenOffice files, and there's a presentation on SlideShare covering the main points.

The increase in Maven can be attributed to the M2Eclipse plugin, made available in last year's release train, and Tycho, a PDE build replacement plugin based on Maven.

The report also suggests that Windows is a significant development target; though only a single Windows option was given whilst multiple Linux distributions diluted the individual votes for Linux.

James McKay argues that developers can no longer afford not to take Git seriously, concluding with "It means that, as a diehard Mercurial fan, I have finally had to concede that Git has won." He also writes:

Git’s market share, industry-wide, is now 27.6%.

That’s more than I expected in the best-case scenario. Based on its growth rate up to now (it scored 12.8% last year and 6.8% the year before), I was expecting Git to score somewhere between 16% and 24% or so, depending on how well it is being received in corporate environments. If my thesis were correct, I’d have expected it to score at the lower end of this range. I thought that 25% was the maximum it could possibly score in the best case, and even then, that was highly unlikely.

(The news is pretty bleak for Mercurial, by contrast: it has dropped from 4.6% to 2.6%. Subversion is still at number 1 for now, but down from 51% to 46%. This is a smaller drop than I expected, but no doubt it’s being shored up by a trickle of late adopters migrating to it away from CVS. Nevertheless, it looks almost certain to lose its number 1 position within the next 12 months.)

He also wrote a follow up post covering the analysis of the data. He believes that it's the end of the line for Subversion:

However, it’s becoming abundantly clear now that the writing is on the wall for Subversion. For now, it’s still the most widely used option, and its decline over the past year may have been slower than I expected, but if current trends continue, it will be overtaken by Git industry-wide in about a year’s time. It is a very basic, spartan system even by centralised source control standards and its development is slow. No doubt it will take several years to die off completely (eight percent of developers are still using CVS, believe it or not) but it’s only a matter of time before you will need to plan for its end of life.

Whatever the case of selection bias, Git has become a clear popular favourite at Eclipse, with the majority of repositories at Eclipse now all Git.

Regardless of your choice of IDE, the data point raised by this survey suggests that Git is clearly going to rise, whilst other version control systems are on the way down.

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