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C dominated 2008's open-source project nursery

PHP and Ruby poor showing

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C overwhelmingly proved the most popular programming language for thousands of new open-source projects in 2008, according to license tracker Black Duck Software.

The company, which monitors 180,000 projects on nearly 4,000 sites, said almost half - 47 per cent - of new projects last year used C. Black Duck said 17,000 new open-source projects were created in total. Next in popularity after C came Java, with 28 per cent.

In scripting, JavaScript came top with 20 per cent, followed by Perl on 18 per cent.

PHP attracted just 11 per cent and Ruby six per cent. The numbers are a surprise as open-source PHP has proved popular as a web-site development language, while Ruby's been a hot topic for many.

Overall, most projects used more than one language.

Black Duck also listed the top 10 new open-source projects from 2008 in terms of number of releases. Top was the Gnutella-based peer-to-peer file-sharing Beacon Cache, with 191 downloadable releases. Second was Anime management software AnimeVision, while Wordpress Themes and Plugins, for the popular blogging platform, was third.

A testament to the unreliable and inconsistent nature of the beast that can be open-source, 57 per cent of new projects offered just a single downloadable release. The rest averaged nearly four, with the top 185 managing at least one release per month of the year.

Black Duck qualified its figures by saying some projects - like Beacon Cache - leverage previous projects, such as Gnutella noting there's tremendous re-use in open source.

Mobile saw 120 new open-source projects, with 40 targeting the iPhone. The number-one project was 2D famework cocos2d-iphone, followed by zipper image viewer iphone-comicviewer and iphone-com, for iPhone applications that use Win32 serial COM ports. ®

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