THE LURE of shiny toys has helped Apple's BSD-based Mac OS X operating system overtake Linux to become the operating system that is the second most used by developers, according to Evans Data.
Analyst outfit Evans Data reports that in North America over 80 per cent of developers still run their integrated development environments (IDEs) in Microsoft's Windows operating system. As surprising and concerning as that might be, the biggest surprise is the growing popularity of Apple's Mac OS X, with Evans Data claiming that 7.9 per cent of developers are using it as a host operating system, pushing it past Linux, which is used by 5.6 per cent of developers surveyed.
Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data said, "Apple has made tremendous strides in the last few years with innovative products and technologies, so it's quite reasonable to see developers adopting the Mac and its OS as a development environment."
Apple's Mac OS X is based on the Mach BSD 4.4 kernel and arguably represents the easiest, albeit most costly, non-Windows alternative. It offers stability, a highly polished user interface and perhaps most importantly the choice of Vim, Emacs or Eclipse. The fact that Apple's shiny toys are selling well definitely helps its popularity among developers of IOS applications, but it could well be developers just wanting a quick and relatively painless way out of using Microsoft's Windows operating system that drives its success.
Some developers are forced to use Microsoft Windows because they work with the .Net framework. However doing development on systems running Linux was always seen to be a safe bet, simply because Linux has in the past been far more stable than Windows. To Microsoft's credit, the stability of Windows has improved a great deal in the past decade and Windows 7 is on the whole also a stable desktop operating system.
The irony in all this is that Evans Data's data shows that while Linux fans have been talking about the death of BSD for well over a decade, it seems that thanks to Apple, BSD in the form of Mac OS X appears to have overtaken Linux in one usage metric. µ