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by Franki

Often times, people ask me why I cover Open Source topics like Linux & Apache as well as related topics like the IBM/Novell/Redhat verses SCO case and also the issues related to software patents. Most specifically they ask me what these topics have to do with web development. Today I’ve decided to answer that and the truth of the matter is that Open Source software is more important to web developers then any other industry out there. Permit me me now to demonstrate.

Apache is an Open Source product. It is also the web server software hosting roughly 70 percent of the Internet. Linux and *BSD (both of which are Open Source Operating Systems.) are hosting most of those Apache installations. Windows is considerably more expensive to use as a Web server, because you must buy licenses on a per server basis and many of the hosts have thousands of servers. Were Open Source software to disappear, web hosting would probably double in price almost immediately as the hosts will definitely pass the extra MS license expenses onto their clients. So the first point is that Web hosting is exceptionally affordable almost entirely because of Open Source software. In fact Microsoft has lowered prices because of the fact that they are now competing against what is essentially a free or much cheaper product. Competition is always better for the consumer, of this there can be no doubt at all.

To demonstrate the second reason Open Source and it’s related issues are important to web development, let us consider the small up and coming developers. More often these people are fairly young, they don’t have allot of cash and they don’t often have a big company paying all their bills. So how does one such young person afford the several thousand dollars required to buy such software as Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Flash/Dreamweaver and the other proprietary software that the “professionals” prefer? Open Source software like The Gimp, NVU and MySQL not to mention Open Source programming languages like Perl, PHP and Python make web development accessible to anybody with imagination and a willingness to learn, money is no longer an object. Consider Google for example, Sergey Brin and Larry Page were a couple of young guys working to create Google from a garage, they could not afford to attempt such a thing using proprietary software so they used Linux instead. Now they are worth an estimated 7 billion dollars each. In fact to this day Google still uses Linux on it’s thousands of servers. The story is not that different at Yahoo either, most of their servers run FreeBSD. Likewise Amazon uses Apache on Linux. In short, Open Source software gives little guys the opportunity to become big guys.

Lets look at another aspect of the upcoming web developer. If said developer wants to set-up Blogs for a client, or perhaps e-commerce solutions, or maybe an online forum, he/she has two options, look for a proprietary product the cost of which must then be passed onto the client, or he can download and use free software like WordPress, OScommerce and Yabb and be more competitive as the only charge they need to pass on is the cost of their time. The site you are looking at now is running a fairly extensively modified copy of WordPress, and it’s running on a Linux server using Apache and PHP and Perl, just like most of the other such sites on the Internet.

So there you have it. That is why we cover Open Source issues like the current software patent problems that have the potential to damage the OSS community and the SCO verses IBM/Novell/Redhat litigation that threatened (unsuccessfully so far) to damage the reputation of OSS developers. You might be reading this on a Windows computer using Internet Explorer, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a stake in Open Source, particularly if you use PHP or Perl or host on a Linux/*BSD server running Apache.








One Response to “Why Open Source should be important to all web developers.”

  1. max Says:

    i support open source softwares and programs…and i am trying to test some against the not so utilized programs and applications of bill gates!!!

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