The Data Behind the Shift
An in-depth look at Black Duck Software's KnowledgeBase
reveals the truth behind these trends. The KnowledgeBase database consists of more than 220,000 open source projects with some 5.6 billion lines of code (considering only the latest and greatest releases). A few months ago, Black Duck ran language analysis on every source file in the database to find out which languages are used most frequently by open source projects.
Not surprisingly, open source developers chose C more often than any other language. However, for project releases that occurred in the past 12 months, C's market share fell a small amount relative to other languages. This doesn't necessarily mean that the amount of C being written is shrinking; it means that the use of C is growing more slowly than the use of other languages.
|Table 1. Market Share by Language for All Open Source Code, August 2009|
||All Projects Share (%)
||Trailing 12-Month Share (%)
||Trailing 12-Month Gain/Loss (%)
|Author's Note 1: The “All Projects Share” column shows the results for all open source projects in the KnowledgeBase. The “Trailing 12-Month Share” narrows the results to show only code that was published or released in the most recent 12-month period, reflecting recent trends in language choice by open source developers.|
Author's Note 2: Black Duck would not expect dramatic changes in these values over a 12 month time frame because each percentage point of share is about fifty million lines of code.
Open Source-Based Languages: The New De Facto Standard?
Languages popular with open source programmers will likely continue to grow as the use of open source grows within multi-source applications. With companies today looking for efficiencies both on fiscal and even environmental fronts, coders are going to choose those languages that most ably get the job done.
As the slow but steady shift towards dynamic programming languages occurs, web applications will be written more quickly at lower cost, and companies will save money by saving time. At the same time, web programmers will be able to do their jobs more easily, enabling them to direct their creativity to areas of innovation that create business value.