Engineers, hobbyists increase reliance on open source tools
The survey's key findings showed that 56 per cent of professional engineers were more likely to use open source hardware such as Arduino and BeagleBone in 2013. Among hobbyists, that figure jumps to 82 per cent. 52 per cent of professional engineers and 81 per cent of hobbyists report being more likely to use open source software in 2013 and 54 per cent of hobbyists report using development kits at least once per quarter for personal projects.
"The numbers paint a very clear picture that open source hardware is showing strong traction among professional engineers and hobbyists as well as educators and students," said Andrea Koritala, global head of technology integration at Premier Farnell. "With a high level of crossover between professionals and hobbyists, this increase in adoption extends to the workplace. An engineer on the job is looking for access to many of the same tools and resources accessible to the hobbyist community."
Professional engineers rated reference designs as the resource that weighs most heavily in the decision to select a development kit. Among hobbyists, the most important factor was the availability of online tutorials, webinars and videos.
"This trend also speaks to the importance of ease of access and use, as a strong community can help bring ideas and designs to life," Koritala said. "Engineers have historically been hesitant to fully embrace open source, but the sheer availability of open-source tools and resources has mitigated many of the risks associated with designing in open source for commercial use."
- Julien Happich
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