June 15, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

Microsoft looks to extinguish LAMP

Microsoft engineers have toiled for years to make the company's software industrial strength and worthy of large corporations' dollars.

Now the software giant faces a different challenge: fending off open-source alternatives that are good enough for most jobs.

At Microsoft's TechEd customer conference last week, executives spelled out the company's lineup to combat these cut-rate incursions onto its turf.

News.context

What's new:
To cool off the popularity of the open-source LAMP combination for application development, Microsoft is readying improved Windows-based alternatives, including low-end Web tools, a database and an Apache-like Web server.

Bottom line:
To combat LAMP--and open source in general--Microsoft is focusing both on improving individual products and on designing a comprehensive Windows server suite to be cheaper to own in the long run.

More stories on LAMP

In particular, the company is focused on improving its alternatives to the so-called LAMP stack, the combination of the Linux operating system, Apache Web server, MySQL database, and scripting languages PHP, Perl or Python.

Microsoft's anti-LAMP strategy is to heap features into its low-end products and to build a comprehensive set of tools--spanning development to management--in the hopes of making Windows Server more attractive.

Because open-source products can, in general, be downloaded for free, Microsoft has to compete against them by drawing attention to the "total cost of ownership." It must make the case that, all things considered, Windows applications are cheaper over the long term.

Open source "is the first competitor we've ever had where our cost of acquisition is higher than their cost of acquisition," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Usually, we're able to come in and say, 'We're cheaper and better'...Here we have to say, 'lower total cost of ownership--and better.'"

The LAMP combination--or ones like it--have been around for many years. But as LAMP becomes more popular, it poses a more comprehensive threat to Microsoft than Linux alone, because the LAMP package includes a development environment and database.

Microsoft executives have long been aware of how developers are using the LAMP stack, but in the past few months the company has shown a more organized response.

In his keynote speech at TechEd, Ballmer cited LAMP as a competitor to Windows and its .Net development software and touted Microsoft's ability to fend off LAMP for "lightweight Web app development."

Stacking up against LAMP
In November, Microsoft will release Visual Studio 2005, which will include a new edition called Visual Web Developer Express designed specifically for relatively small-scale Web development, where LAMP is often used.

At the same time, Microsoft will release two low-end versions of its SQL Server 2005 database, including a free Express edition. The Workgroup Edition of SQL Server, meanwhile, will include business-intelligence software for generating business reports--typically a costly add-on.

To attack Linux and the Apache Web server in its stronghold among Web hosters, Microsoft next year will release an edition of its Internet Information Server (IIS), Web server software that mimics many of

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Microsoft needs to put the Rapid back in RAD
While the .NET Framework and SQL Server are a formidable combination for true applications, they hardly measure up to the small-scale capabilities afforded by MySQL and PHP. With the dissolution of ASP classic and Access, even a minor application takes considerably more time to create and publish.

Until they can get back to "Edit a text file and hit refresh" responsiveness, LAMP will continue to gain momentum.
Posted by MattLPMP (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
TCO! TCO! TCO!
"is the first competitor we've ever had where our cost of acquisition is higher than their cost of acquisition," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Usually, we're able to come in and say, 'We're cheaper and better'...Here we have to say, 'lower total cost of ownership--and better.'"

TCO is just the latest rash of FUD after calling FOSS "a cancer" (didn't work), after deriding the quality of FOSS (didn't work), after ignoring FOSS, hoping it would go away (didn't work).

Lower TCO? PROVE IT!! Don't cite some paid-for Gartner study or some nebulous anecdotes. PROVE IT!! That Microsoft's stack has a lower TCO than so-called LAMP, simply doesn't stand to reason. That people are already using the MS stack and it wouldn't pay to switch now because you're basically locked in, ... well, there you might have a point.
Posted by Eggs Ackley (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Crying Wolf
"Don't cite some paid-for Gartner study
or some nebulous anecdotes. PROVE IT!!"

This is something corporations (and politicians, for that matter) are going to find vexing in the very near future. They've had great success by using PR and marketing to manipulate our perceptions of reality. That tactic has a limited life span, though. Once people realize they've been manipulated they will demand proof from the manipulators rather than accept their word on face value.
Good for you! Keep demanding proof. Don't let them lie their way to more success.
Posted by nealda (105 comments )
Link Flag
Lower TCO? PROVE IT!!
You make an interesting point when you say "Lower TCO? PROVE IT!! Don't cite some paid-for Gartner study or some nebulous anecdotes."
Statistics (or analyst reports) can be used to prove or disprove anything....

CTO's and other technology owners have to do their own due-diligence before going gung-ho for or against Microsoft (or LAMP)

- Mohan
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.garamchai.com/mohan/" target="_newWindow">http://www.garamchai.com/mohan/</a>
Posted by b2bhandshake (83 comments )
Link Flag
LAMP Management? I'm confused.
I've been running and help maintaining number of LAMP systems last 5 or so years.

Well, there is no need for management there. Linux just works. MySQL just works. Apache... just works too. P*-language? - they just work too.

I would not say that this servers are some huge corporate sites, but mostly internal Intranet systems.

Admins installed Linux in first place, since there were tired of this brilliant integrated all-in-one Windows management. Once it just stopped working - central point of failure - and nothing was manageable. Those admins in suits were like kids when they have seen for first time text configs - exim &#38; apache. They seemed to reach nirvana when I have showed them how to grep.

Well. LAMP, might be disintegrated - but this is precisely its power: M$ systems fail and fail often. And nothing you can do about that. M$ own support will tell you just to reinstall everything and restore data from backups. Very funny. God only knows how much Linux systems I have recovered from complete death like failing hdds and bone head admins. Something M$ can hardly boast anytime soon.
Posted by Philips (400 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about patching
With LAMP you have 4 sources to keep up to date with for patching, and that doesn't even include the app.

With proper configuration of your environment you usually don't have to apply each and every patch that comes out (this goes for MS as well as LAMP) but it's still more work to keep track of what's going on with Apache, PHP, MySQL and whatever Linux distro you happen to run.

With the new Microsoft Update (haven't used it yet) you should be able to go to one plance and check for updates and optionally download and install updates for your whole environment (minus the app).

And before anybody gets into the whole "Windoze is insecure and needs to be patched once a week and Lunix rulez and never needs patching" kindly keep your mouth shut until you know what you are talking about. It's been 6 months since a new vulnerability came out that was remotely applicable to my IIS web server.
Posted by raitchison (103 comments )
Link Flag
Why not Apple?
<i>"Meanwhile, Microsoft is pursuing a multiyear plan called
Common Engineering Criteria to create common administrative
tools for its server application line, from Windows Server to SQL
Server."</i>

LAMP is basically buit into the OSX servers, which have a wonderful
administration GUI. No bashing here please if you haven't seen it
yet :) It is another alternative, and a nice implemented nicely.
Posted by webgodjj (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
OS X is crippled wtih Apache and MySQL
You can't go with Apple if you really want to hose sites, though, as OS X is seriously flawed when it comes to Apache and MySQL. Take a look at this article, particularly the section on the G5 as a server: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2436" target="_newWindow">http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2436</a>

As you can see, the threading in OS X ends up severly crippling the performance of MySQL and Apache, essentially making the OS X dual G5 based server about 1/10 the speed of comparable x86 dual machines. I develop on an OS X server right now for one job and I've seen the exact same thing they describe in the article.
Posted by (5 comments )
Link Flag
Apple
Sucks as a server.
Posted by orfeu_niko (104 comments )
Link Flag
It's the apps stupid
The issue for Microsoft is that there are a LOT of ready made F/OSS apps out there that are written for LAMP. This is a big draw for the hobbyists out there and the cost of the software (nothing) certianly is no barrier.

I run WIMP (Windows + IIS + MySQL + PHP) for my own (personal) web sites because most PHP apps will run fine on Windows and enough of them can be made to work with IIS. The reason I run IIS instead of Apache is because I have a lot more experience with IIS and am confident in my own ability to configure it properly &#38; securely.

One thing that MS can do to lure more hobbyists is make IIS emulate Apache, so an app that is written (poorly) to depend on Apache will work with IIS. This would make probably 90% of the LAMP apps run on Windows &#38; IIS.

Cost is of course going to be a factor. MS could (but won't) license a free (or really cheap) version of Windows for small, personal, not for profit web sites. If it's free you can even get them to do product activation (to ensure it's not being used for commercial purposes).

There's no money in the hobbyists anyways but many of them are also in the IT department at their company and could be in a position to influence the platform for the Extranet project or whatever where MS gets licensing revenue.
Posted by raitchison (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lock-In
"One thing that MS can do to lure
more hobbyists is make IIS emulate
Apache, so an app that is written
(poorly) to depend on Apache will
work with IIS. This would make
probably 90% of the LAMP apps run
on Windows &#38; IIS."

The corporation with the doubly un-erotic name will never do this because it provides no way to lock the customer into their platform. If an application works equally well on Linux or their platform then they haven't achieved their goal. They may use the "embrace and extend" tactic they used against Java. This tactic allowed one-way porting of apps from other platforms to Windows but caused problems for Java apps written to MSJava specs if they were ported back to Sun Java platforms.
Posted by nealda (105 comments )
Link Flag
Why fake Apache with IIS?
Apache's available on many platforms, IIS on Windows only. Apache runs a huge percentage of business websites (check Netcraft stats). So investing the time to learn Apache (a) makes you familiar with the major web platform and (b) makes you more marketable. Why deal with a half-baked emulation layer on top of a minority-share webserver?

Check apachefriends.org for a pre-packaged Apache/MySQL/PHP package for Windows (with Perl &#38; Python available as add-ons). Free download, so you can learn without impacting your current world.
Posted by rkhalloran (40 comments )
Link Flag
Get the facts...
"To attack Linux and the Apache Web server in its stronghold among Web hosters, Microsoft next year will release an edition of its Internet Information Server (IIS), Web server software that mimics many of Apache's features".

Mimicing an existing app, locking it to Windoze and killing the original (Netscape anyone?) was something M$ was good at. But Ballmer and Co. has got it wrong with Linux &#38; the open source model.
Mimicing Apache onto IIS is not going to help them.

M$ should at least realize that people opt for LAMP and other FLOSS alternatives because they are sick of the Windoze platform; it's instability, it's insecurity etcetera. LAMP offers them the much needed choice. LAMP is successful because of less interdependency between components, not the other way round (too much integration). Trying to block it by tightly integrating IIS, Visual Studio XXXX or whatever 'tooling' is not going to help.

Linux works, Apache works, MySQL works, Python/Perl/PHP works all on their own. But they also work as a unit when thrown together - LAMP
*works* and works with reliability. Windoze + IIS + ASP.NET + Visual Studio 'tooling' + any other MS hack does not have the same reliability. What else is the reason why Windoze is the last choice of anyone building High performance computing systems? (1 Windoze system in top500.org)

There is only one way that M$ can try to win the war with FLOSS - Open source the Windoze stack. But of course they can't do it, because that would mean the end of M$ as it is today.
Posted by pythonhacker (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Count how many times "M$" is used in these responses.
Hilarious, yet pathetic.

gg next map
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
From Now on Linux=Gimux
talk about a napoleonic, pathetic group of whiners. If I read one more admin geek consistently write M$ or Windoze one more time, I think I'll puke.

It is the grown up equivalent of a 4 year old calling his/her neighbor poopyhead.

It is the equivalent of driving a Hummer through the narrow streets of Italy, laughing at everyone else whose driving a Vespa.

I would love to see ACTUAL people, who have ACTUALLY developed for years/decades on one platform migrate to another without problem. News flash, its NOT THAT SIMPLE. Almost all the zealots who so strongly defend their platforms' excellence HAVE NEVER gotten past the natural learning curve of another and THEREFORE will never realize that in essence they are ALL THE SAME.

1. The majority of virus attacks have focused on Windows platform because UNTIL RECENTLY, they have been in the majority. -- This makes sense becuase we all know that virus writers seek out where they can do the most damage.

2. ALL PLATFORMS have had vulnerabilities in the past, and YES some have better track records at responding. However, the devastation that we've seen in recent years such as CodeRed, Nimda, Sobig, were all as massive as they were because they exploited systems who had not applied the ALREADY EXISTING patches.---IS THAT BAD PLATFORM, OR BAD ADMIN?????
Posted by jamie.p.walsh (288 comments )
Link Flag
Database Package
Microsoft needs to add a SQL Server Lite with the next version of Windows OS (or a free download) and perhaps a small ERP program to compete with LAMP. While at it, make sure the database can be saved as a package for easy transport (XML?) or resell like Access database. This will help a lot of small business.
Posted by kmguru (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What reason?
What possible reason could Microsoft come up with to persuade people to move over to a platform that limits choice, locks them in, and makes them more vulnerable. And, as an added bonus, pay for it?

The fact that LAMP is free is only one reason it is so popular. It is infinately more configurable, and extensible. It does not lock you into any platform or language. Despite the abbrevation, LAMP, does not have to run on Linux and is easily portable as there are version of mysql and apache for many platforms, and the same with perl/php/python. Also, despite the 'P', you are not locked into a specific language. If you wanted you could use C, and still be platform independant.

As for TCO, MS has only has MS funded studies to point to. The cost of constant patching, retraining, licenses, moving everything over, is far greater then using open source.

It is also a very secure set of apps and languages. Very few hacks exists, and no widespread abuses have ever occured, unlike windows based apps. The amount of damage a hacker could do exploiting LAMP is enormous, far more then hacking PC's with windows, yet it has yet to be done because of the inherant security features of Linux. Of course, individual sites, have to worry about accepting shell commands from users through forms, which is a weakness of LAMP, but a little attention to detail renders that issue moot. Java servlets solve that problem, while avoiding OS lock-in.

So, for MS to make a dent, they have to give good reasons to switch. Add in unlimited, outstanding support for at least a year, and then make it very affordable. Don't add anything that locks users in, something MS has never been willing to do. They simply can't compete and succeed on a level playing field, so they tilt it as much as they can get away with. Make your stack more efficient, and just as secure, 2 things that MS has had major issues with.

For MS to compete in this field, it would take a complete shift in their thinking and philosophy, and they are too large and slow to be responsive to markets that think differently.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"lower total cost of ownership...
and better"

Ballmer, you're paid to kiss your own company's arse, not your competitors. stop telling us what we already know about linux and tell us about windows. oh right, it sucks. sorry about that.
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about Frontpage?
Does LAMP have an FP equivalent?
Posted by km4hr (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
An HTML editor? Sure
If you want a basic HTML editor, try Nvu (nvu.com), based on the old Mozilla HTML editor. If you want something involved, the cross-platform, open-source Eclipse package from IBM will, in its web tools, allow editing of HTML, XML, DTD, CSS, JavaScript, and JSP files (eclipse.org/webtools).
Posted by rkhalloran (40 comments )
Link Flag
I hope not...
Front Page is only for internet idiots
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
FP equivalent
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/alfa_romeo_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/alfa_romeo_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Thunder Johny (200 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft lamp is extuingishable
Microsoft has been losing custumers not because of the increased interest and activty of open-source developements but because it's newer products have too many problems, they don't work with the fluid of ease and continuity of their earlier programs, specificall Windows 98. Now any time I have to use any microsoft program I always have a problem,and with the online tie-in with all the word and excal programs it sometimes seems like someone is on-line with me on my documents uninvited, and I have problems doing the simplest of task,. I have a small business, and can't wait for apple and others to come out with the next program so I can trash the windows programs I have, No multimillion dollar wants,or should trust windows programs, and microsoft should restore more applications to total user control, and stop being greedy in trying to control and rarion out bits and peices, Micosoft is suffering from bad produv=ct and bad public relations which makes the consumers of their products semi hostage to the trick and limitation microsoft engages in per their programs
Posted by Afrimerican (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft lamp is extuingishable
Microsoft has been losing custumers not because of the increased interest and activty of open-source developements, but because it's newer products have too many problems, they don't work with the fluid of ease and continuity of their earlier programs, specifically Windows 98.Any time I have to use any microsoft program I always have a problem, and with the online tie-in with all the word and excel programs, it sometimes seems like someone is on-line with me on my documents uninvited; I have problems doing the simplest of task. I have a small business, and can't wait for apple and others to come out with the next high end program so I can trash the windows programs I have. No multimillion dollar corporation wants,or should trust windows programs, and microsoft should restore more applications to total user control, and stop being greedy in trying to control and ration out bits and peices, Micosoft is suffering from bad product, and bad public relations, which makes the consumers of their products semi hostage to the tricks and limitation microsoft engages in per their programs, and by such they treat user like they're stupid and don't have a choice, but time will tell and show people at all levels want a program that isn't fragmented and faulty, and costly.
Posted by Afrimerican (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The primary lead in the sale......!
Herein lies the fundamental mistakes - "For Microsoft, the primary lead in the sale has always been the (Windows) platform," DeMichillie said. "The second is how easy they make it to develop for the platform." Now, consider the rationale why it was reported by CNET News that Microsoft will adopt the Open Source XML Standards for its Office Suite; the Office Suite (thus providing computer users with the funuctinalities they need to perform the job at hand and that what the Open Source community or Microsoft think they need). And, the third alternative is - The IBM's OS/2 Warp Stack! Once again; as Internal Rate of Return is to - IRR... so, Economic Rate of Return should be to - ERR. Functionalities matter.
Posted by (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Please read your post...
...can you honestly decipher the meaning? I certainly haven't a clue what you're trying to say...
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Link Flag
The primary lead in the sale......!
Herein lies the fundamental mistakes - "For Microsoft, the primary lead in the sale has always been the (Windows) platform," DeMichillie said. "The second is how easy they make it to develop for the platform." Now, consider the rationale why it was reported by CNET News that Microsoft will adopt the Open Source XML Standards for its Office Suite; the Office Suite (thus providing computer users with the funuctionalities they need to perform the job at hand and that what the Open Source community or Microsoft think they need). And, the third alternative is - The IBM's OS/2 Warp Stack! Once again; as Internal Rate of Return is to - IRR... so, Economic Rate of Return should be to - ERR. Functionalities matter.
Posted by (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is not new to Microsoft, maybe to it's current CEO, but not Microsoft.
Microsoft successfully used TCO to push into it's current dominant state in the network server market. Despite being more expensive to support, buy and maintain, they were able to convince companies the systems would be cheaper on a "Total Cost of Ownership" basis. The millions you inviest now, will save you many times that in the long run.

In many cases it hasn't proven true. Numbers of servers increased, numbers of support staff per server increased. Support staff is a huge impact on TCO, why do you think so many companies outsource to India?
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Let There Be Light"!
Genesis 1

1 1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good:"

Just how so many have been taken for a ride (by both Microsoft and in some ways - the Open Source Model; are there really any free lunches?) for so long is incomprehensible!

This is the "message" that is coming from the Russians; "A vision for eComStation" - by Nick Morrow. "In its heyday, OS/2 made its best market penetration in segments where it was the superior solution in some way. Look at ATM's. On properly selected hardware and given a *specific* job to do it worked wonderfully. As an os for Fidonet systems which required minimum downtime and very efficient multitasking it had significant market success. Note that in both the APM and Fidonet markets the WPS was not the factor that attracted users as VIO apps were the standard in both markets."

Give the world *superior* solutions to specific problems at a good price and marketing becomes doable." Lets extend this concept to the server environment! See Link:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.ecomstation.ru/showarticle.php?id=130" target="_newWindow">http://en.ecomstation.ru/showarticle.php?id=130</a>

And by the way, lest we forget; this is coming from a country that has finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in the not so long held "International Collegiate Computer Programming contest (one will suppose they have got to be good at what they are doing, correct ;-))... Could there be a reason why the Russians would want to rely on OS/2 Warp! Perhaps they can see the "light" that so many others around the world up to this day and age cannot see.

;-)
Posted by (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Role Reversal
The tone of this story suggests that Microsoft somehow created,
or came first with the software and development tools that are
used for internet and intranet development. In fact, the story
starts out by saying the LAMP is encroaching on Microsofts
territory. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The FACTs are:
Microsoft is the kid who came to the block, long after the
software was available that makes up LAMP.

It cost MORE to administer and maintain a Microsoft solution, if
not the same. To claim that your software is cheaper because
you think it is better and easier to maintain, has nothing to do
with reality. Saying does not make it so. There are RAD tools
for each of the LAMP components, and far far more providers,
forums, code samples and tutorials that humans can read.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lumenation Framework / Environment Outperform This Hands Down
Lumenation is a Hyper-Portal recently distributed through Novell.

This is an extremely robust environment that provides development that works on any platform through only a browser with security and user, user application and user data management, virtual desktop, inherent record locking and much more provided in a WYSIWYG format. The environment / framework is built upon PHP and has a mature client base already intact. Lumenation and its SDK, LightBulb, provide development to deployment cycles unmatched by any platform today.

Lumenation has already been given the title Hyper-portal within the industry and described as what portals were supposed to deliver in the last decade and more.

The extremely fast executing middle desktop has propelled Lumenation into a new standard in computing. www.lumensoftware.com to find out more or www.novell.com. You will be amazed.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Power of LAMP
The Power of LAMP is not that it is better than IIS or ASP, or Windows.....The power is that it is free. Free to use, free to improve on and free to customize. The corporate world will keep on using Microsoft because it is easier to Manage. Microsoft gives you that all in one package deal. But when you need something flexible and powerfull that all in one package starts to crumble and will not be able to compete with LAMP stack. I am sure their are linux users right now saying you can get this and that much faster and secure and blah...but the reality is no one is marketing to the corporate world at least effectively. The corporate world wants a package deal, and they will trade in quality if it means easier to manage. And you can rant and rave and say M$ sucks..oos rules...but it won't change Sh*t. I often wonder where all this anger comes from from linux users regarding Microsoft. I think it is the beat down they get when they try to introduce linux at work.
Posted by nknk417 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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