As a follow-up, we've been doing some heavy quantitative analysis of extrinsic (social) and intrinsic factors in language adoption. These charts should give you a taste:
Fig 1: Factors in Picking a Language for A Recent Project
Fig 2: Language Popularity on SourceForge.
The first figure is cool in that it shows that social factors are more important than intrinsic features when picking a language. Language designers are community builders.
The second figure starts questioning the social structure. Popularity, city populations, etc. often follow power laws, and therefore growth gets modeled by some intuitive generative processes. However, SourceForge for ~200,000 projects followed an exponential curve. What type of processes can make more sense there?
Anyways, hope the camera ready looks good and the quantitatve analysis sparks thought :)