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Do Developers Prefer Mac to Linux?

tuxFrom the 'Say It Ain't So' files:

I've been hearing for years from multiple IDE and tools vendors that Windows is the platform that developers continue to use as their main development workstation. Personally I've always been skeptical of that so-called 'fact.'

This week Evans Data put out a new study claiming that Apple Mac has surpassed Linux in popularity as a development environment in North America. According to Evans, over 80 percent of developers use Windows, 7.9 percent use Mac OS and only 5.6 use Linux.

"Apple has made tremendous strides in the last few years with innovative products and technologies," said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp in a statement. "So it’s quite reasonable to see developers adopting the Mac and its OS as a development environment. Windows firmly remains king, but developers are obviously attracted to Apple’s devices, while at the same time Linux has lost some of its luster after years of only single digit adoption."

BUT. There is a catch.

Developers according to Evans use Mac on the desktop and Linux on the server. In my view, this data is obviously a bit skewed to those enterprises that actually pay for research (i.e the type that Evans Data might sell). Corporate desktops are still (unfortunately) acquired with hardware, which still remains a real soft spot for Linux. As well, the survey makes no mention of dual boot desktops as well as the use of virtual desktop (or VM's in general).

In contrast to Evans Data, a study from Eclipse last year found that 32.7 percent of developers reported that they used Linux as their development operating system. So yes, it really does matter who is asking the questions.

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