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Developers Praise Open Source Support, Innovation and Freedom, and Reveal Preferences for PCs over Macs at ApacheCon US 2008

A survey of attendees at this year’s ApacheCon, the official user conference of The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), has revealed some interesting trends and thoughts from open source developers.

The survey, conducted amongst the 400 attendees at the event, examined a range of topics such as their preferred web browser, their preferred office software, views on open source and what they think about themselves.

It found that the majority of respondents preferred PCs to Macs, use Mozilla Firefox as their browser of choice, and admit to fitting the developer stereotype.

ApacheCon, which takes place in Europe and the US is a user and developer forum that showcases Apache and other open source technologies. This year Apache Meet Up Beijing 2008 in Asia (December 5 & 6, 2008) will take place in Beijing.

The attendees were asked what they thought was the strength of open source in comparison to proprietary software. The survey participants revealed that they appreciated open source for its community support, innovation, and the freedom from time and cost constraints. Other benefits cited included better security, wider bug-testing, and the fact that software can be defined by user requirements. Or as one developer put it: “I can learn, I can fix, and I can stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Developers were also asked which web browser they use. Almost three quarters (73%) revealed they preferred to use Mozilla Firefox. Almost a fifth (16%) use Microsoft Internet Explorer, and just over a tenth (11%) preferred to use Apple’s Safari. 4% use Opera’s web browser, and 3% stated that they regularly use newcomer Google Chrome.

When asked if they could only use an Apple Mac or PC for the rest of their lives, over half of the participants (56%) opted for PC over a Mac (42%).

Office software use was investigated by the survey as well. Microsoft Office was the most commonly used suite, with 40% of developers using it. OpenOffice.org was used by 12%, a further quarter of participants used both, and 14% used other software, such as Google Docs, AbiWord or Emacs.

The survey also asked developers whether they thought the stereotypical image of developer is accurate, and how they see themselves. Answers from respondents on their individual ‘developer traits’ included:

“Stubborn, inquisitive, logical, and focused,”

“Geeky and introverted,”

“Just plain geek,”

“Geek, pragmatic, obsessive compulsive,”

“I have a beard,”

“I code in my basement.”

When asked about the benefits of attending ApacheCon and mixing with other members of the community, the over-riding responses were training and networking, and included ‘the ability to network’, ‘meet contributors on projects’, ‘fun and informative sessions’, and ‘in-depth technical exposure to code’.

Sponsors at this year’s event include BMC Software, Cloudera, Crowdvine, Day, FUSE, Google, HALO Worldwide, Hewlett-Packard, Hippo, HotWax Media, MediaTemple, Microsoft, SpringSource, ThinkGeek, WSO2 and Yahoo!. Community and media partners include ANT Websystems, Brain Food, Bug Labs, Feather Cast, Linux Pro Magazine, Linux Journal, Java Community Process, Methods & Tools and WSO2 Oxygen Tank.

ApacheCon US ran from 3-7 November 2008, and was attended by over 400 attendees. Keynotes included Sam Ramji, Senior Director of Platform Strategy at Microsoft’s Open Source division; David Recordon, Open Platforms Tech Lead for Six Apart and a founder of the Open Web Foundation; and Dr. Shahani Weerawarana, known internationally for her commitment to use the Open Source Sahana project to aid in disaster recovery efforts around the world.

About ApacheCon US 2008

The most influential platform dialogue amongst the Apache community at large, ApacheCon is the must-attend user and developer forum showcasing key Apache and Open Source technologies. Attendees meet, mingle, and exchange ideas with like-minded participants on groundbreaking technologies and emerging industry trends, through informal networking, peer discussions, Birds-of-a-Feather sessions, and entertaining social events.

Drawing internationally-renowned thought-leaders, contributors, influencers, and organizations in the Open Source community, ApacheCon offers insight into the culture and community that develops and shepherds industry-leading Open Source projects, including Apache HTTP Server—the world’s most popular Web server software for ten years running.

To find more information about ApacheCon US 2008 please visit http://www.us.apachecon.com

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