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When does it make sense for an open source project to support Windows?

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I've noticed that a lot of what the Node.js guys are doing right now is Windows-related.

It's their project, and therefore their priorities, but I can't help but wonder why Windows even matters to them right now.

Why not just go POSIX only, like Drizzle? At least for a young technology like Node, it seems like focusing on the real tech innovators who are going to build major services on a JS stack would be better.

I mean, it's never too late to turn a project into bloatware. And are Windows people even LOOKING for a new, lean, non-proprietary technology like Node to use?

I don't think they would pursue Node.js on Windows if there weren't a lot of devs asking for it.

Open source, Web, Json, and REST based Java stacks on a Windows machine is a pretty slick architecture. It builds very easily, runs fast, and even better, you can package it all up into a binary and installer using tools like excelsior jet. My last project was doing a mobile slate appliance where the cost of hardware+os was far lower and supporting various bluetooth and wifi capabilities far easier. The best part? When they move to Android slates the port will be near trivial.

Yeah, so there's a need.

There were already 4000 people on the node.js mailing list by May 2011 when Ryan announced node.js on Windows.

A significant number of them were asking for node.js on Windows natively after committing unnatural acts to get node.js to work over Cygwin.

Greg, thanks for mentioning the Android slate angle -- brilliant!

According to Ryan's node.js talk at nodeconf in May 2011,

The main goal of v0.5 is reworking the plumbing for Windows compatibility.

Why is porting to Windows a priority?

The goal of Node, as with any programming platform, is total world domination.

  • Windows accounts for 33% of servers

  • Windows accounts for 87% of web browsers

There is no question. Node must run on Windows.

So there you have it. The path to ruling the world goes through Windows.

This endeavor built momentum when Microsoft itself joined the effort to port node.js to Windows.

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