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Eclipse IoT survey reveals growing role for Linux and Arm

Apr 17, 2019 — by Eric Brown 818 views

The Eclipse Foundation released the results from its latest IoT Developer Survey of 1,717 Eclipse developers, finding growing use of Linux (76 percent), Arm (70 percent), and MQTT (42 percent).

The results of the Eclipse Foundation’s 2019 IoT Developer Survey are out, this time with a larger 1,717-developer sample compared to only 502 in the 2018 survey. The survey was conducted by the Eclipse IoT Working Group in cooperation with member companies including Bosch Software Innovations, Eurotech, and Red Hat. The Eclipse Foundation’s various social media channels and websites promoted the survey, as did Eclipse IoT member companies.

The survey was not limited to embedded developers. Two out of three respondents said their organizations are either deploying Internet of Things solutions now or will do so in the next 18 months. Some projects appear to be longer-range than that considering that 80 percent of respondents said they are active in IoT work.

Use of non-Linux OSes for IoT compared to last year
Source: Eclipse Foundation 2019 IoT Developer Survey
(click image to enlarge)

The use of Linux (76 percent) led Windows (52 percent) for IoT gateways and edge nodes. This is difficult to compare to last year when numbers were listed only for all IoT projects. Last year, Linux (including Android) had 71.8 percent of the total compared to Windows at 23 percent. The chart above does not show Linux in total IoT usage, but shows Windows dropping to 20 percent.


Interestingly, all the other operating systems — mostly open source RTOSes — dropped or stayed the same year-over-year except for VxWorks and Huawei’s LiteOS, which grew from 2 percent to 5 percent. As in 2018, the biggest drop was No OS.

Linux distro use for IoT
Source: Eclipse Foundation 2019 IoT Developer Survey
(click image to enlarge)

Presumably, most of the developers dropping away from these other platforms have moved to Linux. Debian-based distributions dominated in Linux-based IoT, with Ubuntu/Ubuntu Core edging out Raspbian for first place. Other leaders are the Red Hat family Fedora and CentOS distros, and the fast-growing Yocto Project.

In the gateway/edge node category where Linux lives, Arm led Intel x86 by 70 percent to 42 percent. Some 67 percent of MCUs targted by developers were Arm-based Cortex-M chips.

The most typical industry focus areas were IoT platforms (34 percent), home automation (27 percent), and industrial automation/IIoT (26 percent). Security (38 percent) continued to be the top IoT development concern followed by connectivity (21 percent), which increased the most over other issues as shown in the chart below. The connectivity concerns were primarily due to “the proliferation of incompatible networking technologies in the market,” according to the Eclipse IoT Working Group.

IoT development concerns, year to year
Source: Eclipse Foundation 2019 IoT Developer Survey
(click image to enlarge)

Support for cloud platforms were much like last year with Amazon’s AWS (34 percent) leading Azure (23 percent) and Google Cloud Platform (20 percent). Use of the MQTT IoT protocol increased to 42 percent.

For connectivity technologies, Thread mesh networking and satellite technologies increased the most. Among other findings, C dominated as the programming language of choice for constrained devices and Java was most popular for gateways/edge nodes and IoT cloud.

Further information

The Eclipse Foundation’s 2019 IoT Developer Survey report is available now for free download, here. More information may be found in the Eclipse Foundation’s survey results announcement.


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