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Study: Java to overtake C/C++ in 2002

A new survey shows that the number of Java developers is on a steady increase, while another study indicates that developers are gaining confidence in Linux
Written by Peter Galli, Contributor on

Developers using Sun Microsystems' Java programming language will outnumber those using the C/C++ languages by next year, the findings of a series of studies conducted by Evans Data and released late on Wednesday show.

Presenting the firm's research findings at IBM's Solutions technical developers conference here on Wednesday afternoon, Janel Garvin, vice president of research at Evans, said that more than half of North American developers use Java today, with that number expected to rise by 10 percent next year.

The research also shows that Java usage has been rising at the expense of Visual Basic and C/C++. "This means that, for the first time, more North American developers will be using Java than Visual Basic or C/C++ next year," Garvin said. "Java usage is even stronger outside North America, with almost 60 percent of developers expecting to spend some part of their programming time using Java."

Initial surveys have shown that only a small portion of developers intend to try Microsoft's C# language, which is relatively new, and those developers will predominantly be ones already using Microsoft programming languages, Garvin said. There is no evidence of any significant adoption to date, she added.

On the Linux front, an Evans survey conducted in March with 300 developers who use Linux as their main development platform or who created applications targeted to run on Linux found that more than 60 percent of the respondents use the operating system because they find it to be more reliable than Windows and other operating systems.

More than 40 percent of respondents also felt that Linux offers more value for the money than other operating systems and will provide greater future scalability. Access to the source code was a major motivating factor for more than 40 percent of those developers who adopted Linux, Garvin said.

The survey also found that confidence is growing among North American developers regarding Linux's suitability for use in mission-critical applications. "There were more positive than negative responses on this issue for the first time in the fall of 2000, and positive sentiment continued to grow through spring 2001, which is a very good sign," she said.

Although Linux confidence in large enterprises is now on the rise following its plummet after the dot-com "fiasco," enterprises remain more negative than positive, Garvin said. But the percentage of large enterprises running some Linux servers is on the rise, with almost 50 percent of those surveyed doing so, she added.

The survey also found that 77.2 percent of the developers surveyed chose Red Hat Linux as the distribution for use with a Web server or Web application server. This is more than three times the 21.8 percent who selected SuSE Linux or Mandrake. Caldera OpenLinux and FreeBSD followed, with 21.4 percent and 20.4 percent, respectively, the data showed.

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