Java Developers Prefer Open-Source, EDC Says

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A new study conducted by research firm Evans Data Corp. (EDC) shows that Java developers are more likely to use open-source software than those who don’t use that programming language. The reason behind their preference for open-source is a philosophical one, said Albion Butters, senior analyst at EDC.


“It makes sense from a methodological perspective in that both Java and open-source share some of the same underpinnings in their philosophies—which is to say, low-cost and interoperability,” Butters said. “Going back to the inception of both technologies, those were driving factors. You’ve got developers that are in that mindset already. It also makes sense from the point of view of whether you’re in the Microsoft camp or not. If you’re not in the Microsoft camp, then you’re in the alternative camp, which can consist of Java and open-source.”


The research, which was presented at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco last month, featured a few key findings, Butters said. “Three things in particular seem relatively important: the use of open-source components or modules, the prevalence of enterprise developers to target Java architecture slightly more than the .NET platform and, finally, the way in which migration from Visual Basic 6.0 to Java represents a very key factor in its forward growth. There is migration from VB 6.0 to not only VB .NET, but also to Java.”


According to the study, 80 percent of heavy Java users (those who work with Java more than half of the time) and 73 percent of light Java users (that is, less than half of the time) use open-source software for development, in stark contrast to the less than 45 percent of non-Java developers who do. Additionally, Java users reported that they are confident in Linux for mission-critical applications. Eighty percent said they would use the open-source OS in important deployments, as compared to less than 50 percent of non-Java users. In terms of the open-source tools Java developers employ in integrated development environments, Butters said that the majority use Eclipse and NetBeans


In the overall development sector, Microsoft .NET has the lead over Java, Butters said. However, that situation is turned around in the enterprise space, with more development taking place in Java (60 percent) than in .NET, which constitutes 56 percent.


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