Hobbyist coder 2.0 spreads open source in 2013

There’s an old expression in marketing and public relations: when you’ve got no news at all and nothing product or customer related to say, try doing a survey.

Snide back-stabbing caustic journalistic jibes aside, there could be one trend worth surveying and analysing this summer.

Did anyone notice the fact that Maplin now sells the Raspberry Pi “Board and Starter Kit” complete with mouse, keyboard and nice little plastic frame box to keep your unit dust free?

The rise of the hobbyist programmer 2.0 could witness an additional boost here.

So to surveys…

This one was carried out by Newark element14, a distributor of technology and engineering for electronic system design, maintenance and repair.

The survey was offered to 8,000 individuals, including 4,000 professional electrical design engineers who had purchased dev kits or dev-kit-related products in the year leading up to April 2013, as well as 4,000 sundry buyers of dev kits or related products

Hmm, they said “offered”, not “completed by”… OK, let’s press on.

The survey “revealed” (that’s just PR, what they really mean is the survey “possibly suggested”) that the open-source movement continues to gain traction in 2013 among core groups including:

  • professional software engineers
  • hobbyists
  • students
  • design professionals

— and now for the customary graphic with nice colours and symbols


— oops, sorry, almost forgot, and now for the quote

“What do these findings mean for the engineering and design communities? Perhaps most importantly, these numbers demonstrate how engineers’ opinions about open-source are changing. Traditionally, open-source designing in the commercial space were seen as a risk. With the sheer availability of open-source tools and resources in recent years, those fears are being mitigated by increased adoption,” said Wilson Lee, director of product marketing at Newark element14.

— and finally, some platform related meatiness

Lee went on to explain that platforms like BeagleBone and Arduino were once predominately exclusive to hobbyists, but now professional engineers and even students are using them.

Is the open source programmer gap closing around these groups? It would be positive news if it was. We should survey that kind of trend — oh, yeah, my apologies.