All good points and I tend to agree with your assessment. Nokia has tied itself to the Microsoft ecosystem for better or worse and I think the success of Windows 8 and Windows RT whether or not Nokia actually makes a device running this OS is crucial for Nokia's chances in the smartphone business. If devices like the MS Surface can bring a cool factor then maybe some people will want to develop on Windows again. I also think that that there is a strong chance that tooling to allow development on other platforms could be developed. One of the WinRT frameworks is HTML/CSS/Javascript I can't see why a compile in the cloud service couldn't enable devs to use whatever platform they wanted.

--APS, 23-Jul-2012

It doesn't really matter now, but some people had the Symbian toolchain up and running on Linux.

Anyway, I personally have a Windows machine at home. Work was Windows for Symbian and Linux for Android (or further back, Unix). I've never had a Mac and for the price I think I'd rather have a more powerful Linux or Windows machine.

And on the other hand, isn't it more-or-less impossible to develop for iOS on Linux/Windows? As I understand it, you have to shell out for that expensive Mac.

--AnonymousCoward, 23-Jul-2012

Anon, my entire argument was that you would probably be in the minority here. Apple's hardware is pretty cool as is, and the build quality is rather excellent (and Magsafe has saved my laptop countless times :-). And besides, for a developer the computer is the most important tool they have, so it's okay to shell out a bit more money for it, so I don't think price is really the deciding factor for most developers. It also looks to me that once people have switched, it's kinda hard to switch out. Windows 8 and new Ubuntu desktops look great though, but there's quite a bit of inertia, and especially with Windows it's so hard to develop software to be deployed on Linux, as you have to rely on all sorts of hacks and go around platform peculiarities - starting with path separators. New stuff also comes late on Win - node.js for example wasn't available for Windows for quite a while.

Yes, Apple is very particular about their own toolchain running only on their OS. I think they're happy to ignore developers who don't want to switch - but it's easy because they're winning. Google is approaching the situation by embracing all platforms, so I think they have a chance, but Microsoft brings a mutually exclusive choice on the market: you either develop for iOS or for Windows Mobile. (So you either dual boot or have a second computer.)

--JanneJalkanen, 23-Jul-2012

I've tried to find some survey results for this. Of course, the target audience of each survey will of course skew the results, but it gives a general idea.

The 2012 Eclipse Community Survey ("Each year we survey the Eclipse community to gather some insight into what developers are doing with Eclipse and open source") says (slide 8):

* 55% continue to use Windows; a decrease of 8% from 2011

* Linux usage increased 4.5% to 32%

* Mac usage increased 3.5% to 12%

August 2011:

"The Mac operating systems has surpassed Linux in popularity as a development environment in North America according to the recently released Evans Data North American Development survey. Although Windows remains overwhelmingly the most popular operating system for development with over 80% of developers using it, Linux has slipped to third place with only 5.6 percent using it as their primary development platform, while 7.9 percent now use Mac OS."

"From the statistics below, collected from W3Schools' log-files over a period of seven years, you can read the long term trends of operating system usage."

For June 2012:

* Windows: 84.2%

* Mac: 8.6%

* Linux: 5.0%

--AnonymousCoward, 23-Jul-2012

(First of all, anyone using w3schools as a reference is automatically wrong - you should read up on the topic ;-). I like to think that Mac users are smart enough to avoid w3schools...). On Stack Overflow, the ratio was already 15% Mac back in 2010, and I doubt it's going down. If you look at the computer books that O'Reilly is selling, you'll notice that there's one Java book, two Javascript books, one Android development book and one iOS development book in the top five list. That's where people are actually putting their money in.

Anyhoo, I think looking at the statistics like that is a part of the overall problem. First, this calculates everyone, including all the corporate software developers who use just whatever the company tells them to, as well as all game studios, who develop for consoles or PC, everyone who builds large custom web apps for corporate internal use (J2EE anyone?) and of course not forgetting all the offshoring companies. However, in web startups and more established companies that haven't yet had a CIO push them a cheap Microsoft solution, Mac seems quite prevalent. Just glancing around at any geek conference tends to tell you a different story than what the numbers are.

The other thing is that mobile developers are obviously using Macs. If Windows Mobile has 50,000 apps (1/2012) and Apple App Store has 500,000, but yet there are ten times more Windows developers, that would mean that each individual Mac developer is 100 times more productive than an equivalent Windows developer. Which obviously isn't true - I like to think that it's pretty much 1:1, so obviously there is far more than just the 8% when it comes to mobile development. Yes, you can count in other factors as well, but I think you have to stretch it pretty far to claim that Windows has a strong lead on developers - especially in mobile and/or new companies - these days.

--JanneJalkanen, 24-Jul-2012

Also, there are different classes of developers. Some are good, and some are bad. One good developer can do stuff a thousand bad developers could never do. A massive part of innovation comes from the good developers (though bad developers can innovate too, if lead properly). Reducing the developers by platforms to rough-and-tough buckets not only misinterprets the issue; it's also a bit demeaning, thinking that you can just switch developers like you would parts to a computer.

Unfortunately, there's no way to tell what portion of the good developers are Mac users. My gut feeling (which is what this entire article is about) is that it's a far more significant portion than what number-crunchers think.

--JanneJalkanen, 24-Jul-2012

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