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3/2/2009
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Open Source Projects Surge On Mobile Devices

Apple's iPhone gains surprising acceptance among open source developers, according to a Black Duck survey.

The number of open source projects targeting smartphones and other mobile devices continues a dramatic rise, growing at a 55% compound annual rate from 2005 through the end of last year.

In a study just released by Black Duck Software, specialists in managing the use of open source code, Palm remains the all-time leader with 1,850 projects released for its flagship device, the Palm Treo. Surprisingly, Apple's iPhone displayed the most momentum over the course of 2008 with some 266 open source projects released. Devices running Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Mobile ranked second and third, respectively.

Palm dropped to fourth place in 2008 with just 113 open source projects released for its platform.

"It is interesting that iPhone has garnered enthusiasm within the open source world. The Android project numbers are also significant, especially since the platform was just released in October 2008. Although LiMo, Symbian, Palm, and [Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices] ranked under the top three in our 2008 analysis, we are seeing signs of robust developer support for these platforms going forward," said Eran Strod, Black Duck's director of product marketing.

In compiling the results of the study Black Duck Black reviewed more than 185,000 projects collected from 4,000 Internet sites. The company compiled a list of those open source projects that specifically targeted or declared support for mobile platforms.

Survey results also showed that open source developers producing mobile applications had a clear preference for selected source code repositories.

An overwhelming 74% of all projects released were hosted on SourceForge.net. The Web site code.google.com finished a distant second with 12% of releases appearing on its site, with CPAN third with 3%.


So what are the top five best practices for smartphone support? InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of this topic. Download the report here (registration required).

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