a survey of language popularity

Richard Uhtenwoldt ru@river.org
Sun, 24 Mar 2002 12:59:50 -0800

So, how popular is Haskell compared to other languages?

Here are some Google search results that suggest how many web pages
are devoted to particular langauges.  (Google tells you how many pages
match your query.)  A better survey of language popularity would
include newsgroup and mailing list traffic, but no time, no time.

In this modest survey, Haskell is a little more popular than O'Caml, a
little less popular than Eiffel (an OOPL) 5 to 6 times less popular
than Smalltalk; 8 to 10 times less popular than Python, which is
itself at least 2 and a half or 3 times less popular than Perl.

On second thought, Eiffel and Smalltalk might be considerably more
popular than suggested by page counts because the other languages
surveyed have 100% open-source documentation.  eg, in the GHC results
I saw lots of duplicates of essentially the same document.  This is
characteristic of open-source-code-licensed content.  In contrast,
Eiffel and Smalltalk have commercial vendors, whose documentation is
(I would think) underrepresented in this modest survey because of
having licenses that restrict copying.

perl 9,600,000
perl language OR program OR variable OR object 1,490,000.
python -monty -snake -venom 809,000
python program OR language OR variable OR object 630,000

smalltalk 361,000  (say 10% false hits.  325,000 real.)

lisp cmucl OR "common lisp" OR heap OR cdr OR cons OR lambda OR
closure OR scheme 188,000

eiffel object OR program OR variable OR string -tower 74,700
(I say there's a few false hits there.  71,000 real hits.)

ghc haskell OR compiler 63,100
ghc haskell OR compiler OR functional OR fp 66,800
haskell fp OR "programming" OR monad OR monadic OR functional OR lambda 63,600
haskell "programming" OR monad OR monadic OR functional OR lambda 55,500
(I say 63,000 is the most accurate)

caml 88,700 (I can see some false hits)
"objective caml" OR ocaml OR o'caml 41,700.

note that there is at least one open-source Linux package, unison, a
file sync utility, written in O'Caml.  no Linux packages written in
Haskell except for Haskell compilers.

other info useful for measuring language popularity.

<LI><a href="http://www.dwheeler.com/sloc/redhat71-v1/summary">sloc in various RedHat 7.2 packages</a>
<LI><a href="http://upgrade-cepis.org/issues/2001/6/up2-6Gonzalez.pdf">lines of code in Debian</a>
<LI><a href="http://people.debian.org/~jgb/debian-counting/">Counting Debian //</a>
<LI><a href="http://www.eros-os.org/pipermail/e-lang/2001-February/004594.html"> [E-Lang] popularity of programming languages among open source hackers // weak survey, of Sourceforge projects.  see also Oct 2001 e-lang.</a>
Richard Uhtenwoldt