Git User’s Survey 2010

Git version control software is gaining in popularity. Git Users just completed the latest survey of their Git usage. The results have been published by "Planet Git," to whom we are indebted to for the results in this article. The survey was open to all users, and ran between August 31st and Oct 16th of this year.

Some 28,001 people actually opened the survey with 8,841, or 31%, taking the 35 minutes, or so, to complete the survey. There are enough respondents to make this survey statistically relevant, and therefore, a good indicator of the collective mindset of the current Git community. These are fairly high numbers for survey completion and indicates the dedication and devotion of Git users to Git.

There were 28 questions, some general and others more specific. Some of the more interesting questions were:

Is Git easy to learn?
Only 19% of the respondents found Git "Very Hard" or "Hard" to learn. The next choice "Reasonable Easy" came in at 53%. "Easy" and "Very Easy" accounted for 29%. Git does take some learning, however 81% said it was easy. Speaking personally, compared to other version control applications, Git is one of the easiest to learn.

Is Git easy to use?
Only 1% found Git "Very Hard" to use with 8% finding it "Hard." That's only 9% of people who tried to use Git. The next choice, "Reasonably Easy" to use was 42% with the "Very Easy," and "Easy" category an astonishing 49%. Git is the easiest version control software, period.

Proficiency with Git?
Users were asked to rate their proficiency with Git, in other words, how confident were they in their knowledge and use of Git. "Novice", and "Need advice" accounted for 23% of users. "Everyday use" was 39%. "Can offer advice" 32%, and "know it very well" at 7%, the two higher choices combined for 39%. I suspect the "can offer advice" and "know it well" folks took the time to read about Git beyond basic usage. That number is high and says Git is indeed easy to learn.

What Operating System do you use with Git?
This is another question about Git popularity. Git was originally created for the Linux environment, so you expect it to very strong with this community. It has been ported to Mac and Windows, and to use it in these environments, a terminal window is most often used, not exactly a basic Windows users knowledge level. Most users have more than one computer, so the results are over 100%. Linux, as expected, pulled in 94%. 94% of Git users responding to the survey use Linux on one of their machines. I would call these folks IT knowledgeable. Mac users accounted for a surprising 46%. Windows came in third at 35%. Still an excellent number, that says that Git has truly arrived as a universal version control tool.

There has been some debate in the Windows crowd whether to use the Cygwin or MINGW version of the Unix-like environment on Windows. In the survey, Cygwin was favored by 10%, and MINGW by 25%. On Windows, the Unix-like environment, uses the terminal window, and thus the command line to use Git. Even though Git supplies graphical interfaces with gitk and the git gui, 95% of respondents use the command line. It's just easier and faster to use the command line. Maybe Microsoft had it wrong with their Windows GUI, and should have stayed with DOS and the command line...sorry, had to slip that in there.

Like the graphical tools, there are a lot of extra tools and utilities you can use to make your Git life easier, surprisingly, most Git users don't use them, just the command line. The three most popular tools are gitk, the version history viewer, at 58%; GitX, version history viewer for the Mac, at 28%; and the git gui at 25%. The next nearest tool, TortoiseGit is at 12%. Of the 25 tools surveyed, the remaining 21 tools all fell below 9% usage.

What do you use Git for?
This is an interesting list, and I thought the best way to present this is to just list them in order of usage. Here goes: code(programming) 91%, work projects 81%, unpaid projects 77%, private stuff(unpublished) 74%, OSS Development(public domain) 65%, web app 46%, proprietary projects 39%, managing configuration files 33%, documents(data) 30%, static website 29%, personal data 27%, front-end to another version control(git-svn) 21%, sharing data or sync 20%, backup 19%. We'll stop there. Personal data are things like writing books. Git is being used for version control, moving code between machines, keeping track of changes in our personal data, and backing up our work. Nice.

For those that want to take a closer look at the survey results, they can be found here. Again many thanks to Planet Git for the survey.

We have to conclude this article with the key question of the entire survey,

"Overall, how happy are you with Git?"
What a revelation, only 5% said they were "unhappy," or "not so happy," 5%. A resounding 54% said they were "very happy." and an astonishing 1571 users, or 19%, said they were "completely ecstatic." That my friends, is love.

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