Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Microsoft and LAMP

Microsoft seems to love having competition. They are now saying that LAMP is their newest competitor. LAMP stands for the open source combination of Linux, Apache web server, MySQL database, and PHP (or Perl or Python--all scripting languages). It's interesting how Microsoft and Apple take different views of LAMP. Apple pretty much ignores Linux, it incorporates Apache into the operating system, and it makes MySQL and PHP easy to install on Macs (for free). Microsoft, however, views open source as something to be crushed. Open source, however, is here to stay, and that is the reality. Apple's ability to make Apache very easy to use gives Apache a bump because anyone can use it on any Mac. It also allows Apple the opportunity to give its customers the best product out there, rather than their own product. Microsoft would rather have you buy their product than the best product. The primary difference, of course, is the bottom line. If Apple were to invest money into the development of their own web server, they'd never break even. MS will break even on a mediocre product, so they can invest in a web server. The loser, of course, is the customer that gets locked in to MS. Not only are they locked in to MS's web server, they are also locked in to Windows Server and probably a few other MS products. Those who go with LAMP or Apple, are never locked in to an operating system (one can run Linux on a Mac, after all) and they can take their web server with them to any platform. The difference is freedom.