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MSDN Survey: Open Source Developer Preferences


Microsoft has recently conducted a survey of open source developers in order to study current preferences for hosting sites and source control systems. Results from over 1,000 respondents have been posted on the MSDN developer portal.

One of the opening questions was: What is your preferred source control system in relation to your most favored operating system for development?

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Table 1: Preferred operating system for development.

The results show marked differences across developers who state a preference for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X in terms of supporting project hosting environments.

According to the MSDN, "For Windows users, CodePlex and GitHub are virtually tied with CodePlex having a slight edge to take back rank #1 from GitHub after temporarily falling to #2 in the last survey. GitHub actually saw a decline in preference reversing its trend of skyrocketing popularity, with only CodePlex and Bitbucket showing an increase in the latest results."

Source control preferences show a comparable result, with TFS gaining the greatest increase and Git displaying the sharpest decline. It should be noted, however, that distributed version control systems still represent the preference for over 50% of open source developers using Windows.

"For Linux and Mac users, GitHub continues to extend its dominant lead in popularity, primarily at the expense of Bitbucket. Git is winning the distributed version control system war among Linux and Mac users, with Mercurial preference dropping sharply. Subversion usage showed a slight resurgence, but distributed version control still dominates being the preference for over 80% of developers using Linux and Mac," reports MSDN.

Looking at the survey from a higher level, open source-focused developers using Windows seem to be displaying different behavior than those using the Linux and Mac operating systems, who display more commonalities.

Git and GitHub certainly look like they are becoming the de facto standard for Linux and Mac developers, while CodePlex, as well as TFS, Mercurial, and Subversion, are sharing a large and (to use the MSDN's term) "collectively increasing preference" among Windows developers.


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