In June this year, Eclipse, a popular IDE, published the results of a global survey of its community, which aims to show how people are using Eclipse and other open source software (OSS), and participating in open source communities. The purpose was to create a profile of how open source developers interact with the community. Incidentally, the Eclipse developer survey had the fourth highest number of respondents from India.
The results showed that 28 percent of developers use Linux as their primary developer workstation and Ubuntu was the most popular among them. Linux was also the most popular deployment platform with almost 42 percent deploying their applications on Linux.
The findings support the fact that Ubuntu is being increasingly used by many developers in the high tech industry. It is also popular amongst the mobile developer community. The android SDK, for example, can be easily installed on Ubuntu. Web developers also find Ubuntu very powerful as it has all the tools that they need to develop and test applications using the latest web development standards such as HTML5.
Being open source in nature means developers get access to millions of lines of code, which can be used in any developer's application. However, the licensing of the application needs to be checked, as some of them may require the application to be open source as well. Developers can also look at the source code to understand some of the applications.
So what makes Ubuntu popular among developers?
Easy to get developer tools
With Ubuntu it's easy to get development tools, IDEs, debuggers, libraries, sources and more. The Ubuntu Software Center or apt-get, offers a whole range of developer applications and tools with ease. Apt-get also works very well in resolving dependencies, for example if Eclipse is installed, it will install all the Java libraries, plugins and documentation required by the application automatically.
Ubuntu has powerful editors which are developer friendly, offer code beautifications and syntax highlighting and code to make it easy for for developers to read t their code. Ubuntu has easy to use editors apart from Vi and Emacs for hardcore developers.
Linux has powerful scripting capabilities such as Bash, this makes it easy to automate tasks. It is very useful for developers, because it helps save a lot of time by writing simple scripts for repetitive tasks.
Ubuntu has built-in virtualisation
Ubuntu has KVM built-in and VirtualBox, VMWare can be installed with ease. Virtualisation is a developer's friend because it allows them to test their application on different versions of different operating systems on their workstations.
Easy integration with revision control
Ubuntu has easy integration with code version control systems such as CVS, sub-version and Bazaar.
Ubuntu is secure and stable
Ubuntu is secure and doesn’t suffer from virus problems, this protects the developer from security worries, so they can focus on developing. Once Ubuntu is installed, it just works.
Ubuntu is free
Users don't need to pay any license fees for using Ubuntu, and all the development tools on Ubuntu are also free. These include popular ones such as Java, GCC, Python, Perl and Ruby. This saves a lot of money for the organisation. The savings are even more evident when there are lots of developers.
The Author is Regional Manager - Asia Pacific, Canonical. The views expressed here are his own. He blogs regularly at www.cityblogger.com and can be reached on email@example.com.
Eclipse a popular IDE, today is very actively developed with over 1,000 active developers, 170 companies and 200 open source projects. What started as a Java IDE, it has now become a full fledged development platform with plugins for several popular languages such as Perl, Python, C, C++ and many others.