Japanese engineers and open source

Ken points us to a survey of Japanese software engineers and 99% of them are Windows users.
I know a lot of talented software and Internet engineers and a sample of my engineer friends would not be 99% Windows.
This says A LOT about Japan. This says to me that Japanese engineers do not understand open source software, do not have hands-on experience with Linux/Unix, etc. You want to know why Japanese companies (esp. Internet businesses) are struggling with engineering talent? The answer is here.
I do have Japanese engineer friends who dual boot Ubuntu and Windows, or are Mac users, etc. but they are clearly not the average.
Just as a monopoly of the browser by IE for years led to the security exploits and spyware, a quasi-monopoly in software development tools by Microsoft has led Japan to the current state of poor software engineering.
Over a third of Japanese engineers won’t use Linux on the desktop � 世論 What Japan Thinks

3 replies on “Japanese engineers and open source”

I think you’re misreading the study. The question with the 99% answer allowed multiple responses. Only if you never use Windows as a client desktop at work would you be considered part of the 1%. So your friend dual booting would still count as Windows users. Also, the study was pointed apparently toward all engineers, not just software ones. (caveat: I work for MS in Japan)
Anyway, comparing Japan to the rest of the developed world, I always thought that *nix was much stronger here. Japanese universities used to never teach Windows based development and only had Unix systems. Linux per se wasn’t that strong because it doesn’t have the commerical backing. And we all know the arguments about how japan bows to its businesses. But look at things like mail servers. Japan is the only country in the world with a majority of corporate mail servers running Sendmail. Japanese software like NEC Groupware almost always starts with Unix and goes to Windows only because nobody would use it if there wasn’t a Windows client.
I think the tougher question is why is Japanese software UI behind much of the world when the Japanese are exposed to so many more vending machines/kiosks/etc. from a young age. It’s incredibly hard to find software engineers that have a genuine respect for normal people who are trying to use software for less than otaku-level tasks. I’d argue that if more universities were teaching GUI based software development instead of Unix, it wouldn’t be like this.
But the real answer to the dominance? There isn’t a Winny client for Linux 🙂

I know it’s an old thread, but just my two cents:
Inertia. Japanese companies started going on Windows boxes and they tend to do pretty much the same thing. No one wants to change because it’s risky. I totally agree with you, it says a lot about Japan and why ‘free’ or ‘open’ sites like Mixi or YouTube (which let the Japanese audience take and consume without contributing to the code or development) are so popular, but we don’t see so many Firefox extensions and things of that sort.
I’m going to hold out on a client story because you never know who reads these and can put two and two together. But it would basically back you up…

The oddest thing about the reasons why is the absense of a “no decent input manager” as a response choice. If we consider that Apples FEP makes MS’s look like dirt, then the default install FEP on all linux distros looks like dog dirt. Of course if there is an AtoK available for Linux then I must retract that statement.
If we consider this whole question in terms of Marxy’s “Orthodxy vs Orhtopraxy” model, then the continued dominance of Windows comes as no surprise. Doing things in a way other than what a large approved entity says is a “bad thing” here even if it leads to better results.
From my workplace observations, I’d say that the survey is correct BTW. None of the “Unix SAs” where I work have linux or unix desktops nor do any of the DBAs.

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