If Black Duck Software's knowledge base of open source software projects serves as a barometer, then Google's Android software platform led the way in open source software development projects for mobile devices last year, followed by Apple's iOS platform.
A review of 9,000 free and open source mobile projects contained within Black Duck's KnowledgeBase found 3,800 mobile projects started in 2010, with 55 percent, or 1,716 projects, geared to Android, Black Duck said this week. Apple's iOS followed with 39 percent, or 1,219 projects. Windows, Palm, Blackberry, and Symbian, meanwhile, accounted for just 2 percent each or fewer of new projects. MeeGo accounted only for a handful of projects, Black Duck said.
The company surmises that since Android is "open" as in open source and supporting GPL code and iOS is not, open source developers still will support the most popular platforms regardless of so-called openness.
"Mobile software has the full and focused attention of commercial and FOSS (free and open source software) development communities," said Peter Vescuso, executive vice president at Black Duck. "As mobile apps displace desktop applications and mobile devices displace laptops and desktops, we expect to see broad commercial developer interest in the top mobile development platforms as well as consolidation in the number of platforms that draw developer support."
Many new mobile projects in 2010 did not declare a licence. The most popular licences were GPL, MIT, Apache, BSD and Microsoft. Some open source mobile projects were written for multiple platforms, Black Duck noted. The company also saw an increase in projects developed for specific events, such as an application to support an agile development conference in Italy.
Continuously searching the Internet for open source and downloadable code, Black Duck's KnowledgeBase features more than 365,000 projects from more than 5,000 sites. It is updated regularly with thousands of new projects, Black Duck said.