RESTON, Va.—Economics are a driving force behind the growing use of the Eclipse development platform, according to a recent survey of users.
The survey, conducted by The Eclipse Foundation and market research firm IDC, found that 75 percent of the IT solution providers polled said they are using Eclipse for economic reasons—either to make money or to save money. Of the organizations using Eclipse to make money, 47 percent said they are making at least 50 percent of their revenue from Eclipse-based products.
Those were among the key findings of the survey, which was discussed Nov. 7 at the EclipseWorld 2007 conference here. The foundation and IDC conducted the study during the summer, with more than 1,000 people responding.
The study also found that Eclipse is primarily used by technical professionals for work-related projects. More than 91 percent of the respondents are employed by an organization or are self-employed, and 84 percent use Eclipse for work-related reasons, Eclipse officials said.
Seventy-one percent of the respondents said they work for an IT solution provider, such as an independent software vendor, hardware company, systems integrator or other provider, while 29 percent said they work for end users.
The top most used projects are the Java Development Tools project, with 88 percent of respondents saying they use it; the Web Standard Tools project, with 56 percent using it; and the Java Enterprise Edition Standard Tools, with 44 percent using it.
Other top projects include the Rich Client Platform (RCP) project, used by 42 percent of respondents; the Eclipse Modeling Framework with 37 percent; and the Mylyn project with 36 percent, Eclipse officials said.
There also is a wide variety of business models being pursued in the Eclipse ecosystem. As many as 40 percent of the organizations using Eclipse to make money said they were pursuing multiple business models. Fifty-four percent said the most common model was organizations using Eclipse to build applications, and the second most common model, at 27 percent, was organizations embedding Eclipse in their applications.
"Eclipse is a development platform written by developers for developers, and the tools are leading the change in how development happens," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation.
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David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations at CodeGear, a division of Borland Software, said Eclipse is also "by vendors for vendors," noting that Borland and CodeGear both participate in committing code to Eclipse and also in using the Eclipse platform to build tools on top of. "We built JBuilder 2007 on top of Eclipse," he said.
Eclipse also is supporting cross-platform development and deployment, according to the survey. On average, users said they have 2.1 development platforms and 2.7 deployment platforms for software built using Eclipse. Windows is the most popular development platform, at 74 percent, followed by Linux at 20 percent. However, for primary deployment platforms, Linux is well-represented at 37 percent, compared with 47 percent on Windows. Given that 72 percent of respondents are creating server software, this may reflect the strength of Linux as a server operating system, according to Eclipse and IDC.
Almost 40 percent of respondents said they are building desktop or RCP applications, indicating a considerable amount of use of Eclipse for desktop applications.
New Eclipse users seem to be using projects in the embedded and mobile area. For those with less than 1 year of experience, 29 percent said they are developing embedded software and 17 percent said they are creating mobile client applications. That compares with 12 percent and 8 percent, respectively, for Eclipse developers with more than three years of experience with the platform, the survey said.
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