Eclipse provides a consistent user interface across multiple, diverse operating systems. Many large developer houses are considering–and adopting–Eclipse for exactly that reason. Within their companies, they can roll out a single environment supporting a number of integrated tools from diverse vendors, thereby lowering the up-front learning curve. In addition, the plug-in architecture makes possible the same kind of “separation of concerns” that we software developers love, but in this case, separation is at the major-functionality level. For example, a compilation system tools vendor needn't try to provide configuration-management capabilities, instead leaving it to the user to pick their favorite, knowing that they can work together on Eclipse.
Comparatively small customers are also considering Eclipse adoption. Even though they don't have the issue of supporting a large internal user base with many disparate tools, they still need the tool integration that Eclipse provides. They also share the requirement for having a number of host operating systems (OSes) available, in part because their customers are using a number of OSes.
Eclipse is hosted on several mainstream OSes, including Linux, Windows, Solaris, and Mac OS X. That isn't necessarily the order of popularity, though. You might think that Linux is the predominant host OS, because of the relative rise of Linux usage, but in fact our customers run Eclipse on Linux and Windows in fairly even proportions. Windows is even slightly in the lead. We also have a few customers running Solaris, and in rare cases running Solaris as well as Linux and Windows. However, these are nowhere near the number of Linux and Windows customers.
What's more, a significant number of customers run Eclipse on several OSes, rather than just one. Around 14% run Eclipse on both Linux and Windows, for example.
Our conclusion is that Eclipse has a robust user base across more than Linux alone, and in particular, that Windows is an important OS for our customers running Eclipse. Therefore, you can expect to continue to support Eclipse across multiple OSes, with special emphasis on Linux and Windows.
Dr. Patrick Rogers, a member of the senior technical staff at AdaCore, has been a computing professional since 1975, primarily working on microprocessor-based real-time applications in Ada, C, C++, and other languages, including avionics simulators and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems controlling hazardous materials. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of York, England. Rogers can be reached at .