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LAMP is practical model?

by sanPerl (Friar)
on Nov 22, 2005 at 09:12 UTC ( #510680=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Does any Software Development Firm uses LAMP (Linux, Apache products, MySQL, Perl/PHP) model ONLY and still running it's business well?
On paper it very easy to plan following way
1) Use Linux OS on desktop of all employees (Open office can be used instead of MS-Office)
2) Use Apache webserver
3) MySQL as your Database
4) Use Perl for Software development for all kinds of customer requirements. (I believe that Perl can be used for any kind of development, if used with proper knowledge. BTW I am still a Perl student and Gurus can correct my statement)

I know there could be lot of practicle difficulties. I personally like to use Open-Source softwares very much. But I am Not sure if some company can run it's entire business using these kinds of softwares.
If this is true then that company would become a role-model for others, as Software Purchase budget would be ZERO.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by tirwhan (Abbot) on Nov 22, 2005 at 09:31 UTC

    Read up on TANSTAAFL[1]. Sure, you may not be paying anything for software licenses, but you will still have costs for installing and maintaining the software, which for certain scenarios will far outweigh the licensing costs. So you have to look at the <buzzword alert>TCO</buzzword> of a given software deployment scenario before you can make a call whether a setup consisting exclusively of open source software is (more) profitable for you.

    As for your original question, whether such companies exist in the real world, I suggest you ask Jeff Bezos.

    [1] I personally do not subscribe to the TANSTAAFL belief, because I think there are free lunches (and I prefere Iain M.Banks to Heinlein), but it's a good mental shortcut anyway.

    Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. -- Brian W. Kernighan
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Nov 22, 2005 at 11:48 UTC

    There certainly are. Indubitably, there are many companies for whom free software forms the backbone of their infrastructure, even if they use Windows on the fringes of the company (the secretary’s desktop, or whatever). I don’t have any examples off hand (other than the usual suspects, ie the massive companies like Google, Amazon etc), but you may want to ask on the free software business mailinglist.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      I've worked for a few companies where free software formed the backbone of their infrastructure - I've worked for more companies where Unix formed the backbone. However, that doesn't imply Windows is only found on the fringes of the company. In almost all companies, including "Unix companies", the default desktop is a Windows machine. Except from the occasional graphics designer, or an otherwise "arty" person on a Mac, allmost the non-tech people nowadays work on Windows (only exception I know from the top of my head: two university secretaries on Sparcs, who were real wizards with Emacs and LaTeX - but that was around the time Windows 3.1 was very new). And even a lot of tech people use Windows - unlike an oldie like me, youngsters started their computer lives on Windows. I never use Windows myself, and although I'd like to see it different, I can't image an office using Unix on the majority of their desktops.
      Perl --((8:>*
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by derby (Abbot) on Nov 22, 2005 at 13:48 UTC

    Given that about 60% of business fail within the first two years (cite) and defining success can be tricky (some business are successful when they fail - tax write off), heck even defining a market is tricky (is it the consumer of your goods or the consumer of your stock), the LAMP stack is just a sidenote.

    People, your staff, make or break a business. Now I'm biased and I think the LAMP stack attracts dedicated and talented people. Combining those people with negligible software acquisition costs is not a model for success but it's several less factors for failure. So I think the question you should be asking yourself is why do you think proprietary software means success?

    -derby
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by ghenry (Vicar) on Nov 22, 2005 at 13:20 UTC

    I prefer LAMP - Linux, Apache, mod_perl and PostgreSQL ;-)

    Walking the road to enlightenment... I found a penguin and a camel on the way.....
    Fancy a yourname@perl.me.uk? Just ask!!!

      I also always thought that it was always just Linux, Apache, MySQL...

      Then either Python, PHP or Perl... but, i prefer perl as well :).

        Lager, Ale, Malt, Pilsener.
        Perl --((8:>*
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by wazoox (Prior) on Nov 22, 2005 at 21:45 UTC

    My company does exactly that. All employees workstation are running Linux. We didn't buy a single software licence, ever. We have a couple of machines running various systems (Mac OS X, Windows NT4/2000/XP/2003, IRIX, AIX and Solaris) that came with the machines. For testing purposes I use sometimes an eval version of windows server 2003 (legally downloaded from Microsoft).

    The developers are happily using Perl, MySQL, PostgreSQL and others. I used GIMP to create pictures (web, advertising, etc).

    We evaluated a couple of ERP softwares (like SAGE and the likes): they stink horribly. We developped our in-house program in a month, and we'll probably release it as soon as it's polished enough.

    I don't know what difficulties you're talking about. everybody send and receive emails, browse the web, write and read documents (mostly PDF, sometimes MS Office), synchronize their Palm handhelds. What are those tasks that may possibly not be doable on a linux workstation ?

      Good to know that LAMP (or Open Source SWs) is used in some company for day-in-day-out kind of operations. I am sure this model would become strong in future (Even IBM has started marketing Linux. I have started seeing some ads on TV)
      It is fun to watch how Open-Source movement has been growing and competing with giants like Microsoft.
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by radiantmatrix (Parson) on Nov 22, 2005 at 22:41 UTC

    The typical conception of LAMP doesn't include desktop machines, it is about a web-based application stack. I suspect there are very few people using LAMP to solve every business need they have. Partly, this is because there are very few businesses that can (or, at least, should) address all of their business needs with a web-based application stack of any kind.

    There are many successful businesses that use LAMP as their primary, or indeed only, web application stack. There are even a few businesses that use Free Software to solve all of thier business challenges. Most of these aren't very big. Consider why:

    1. Conversion to pure-Linux (for example) on the Desktop is extremely costly. Starting a business or business unit with Linux is far less costly than converting.
    2. Linux has only relatively recently become viable for desktop deployment to average users, and even more recently been accepted in some business circles as a Windows alternative.
    3. Technology lock-in is typically a bad thing. While the open nature of Linux and most distributions of it make it less of a problem, most wise business owners don't like to put all their eggs in one basket unless they have no other choice.
    Because of these, it's mostly relatively new entrants that are using Free Software extensively in every aspect of their business. That usually means smaller, lesser-known entities.

    However, I can tell you that many governments are exclusively Linux on the desktop, and are moving away from Windows in the server space as well. Take the Minnesota DOT, for example.

    <-radiant.matrix->
    A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
    The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
    "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law

      Take the Minnesota DOT, for example.

      I'm all curious now. So what's MnDot up to?

        All of MnDOT's developers and tech people are moving toward Linux on the desktop. Many are already using it exclusively. Almost all the new servers are Linux machines. There's a sort of "unwritten mandate" that you'd better have a very good reason to recommend non-OpenSource software for a project.

        <-radiant.matrix->
        A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
        The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
        "In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by hakkr (Chaplain) on Nov 22, 2005 at 12:19 UTC

    It depends on the type of employees but it is unlikely all employees can use Linux as many jobs depend on software(often legacy or specialist) that is windows only.

    Remember most of the shelf applications won't run on linux without windows emulation.

    If all the employees are programmers, data entry or office suite workers then you have a better chance.

      Speaking as someone who professionally provides support to companies working in Linux-only environments (and yes, I am talking about office-type stuff with non-techie users), I would like to sprinkle a pinch of salt onto your statements ;-). There are definitely specialist requirements which can only be fulfilled by applications that run exclusively on Windows, but these market segments are shrinking (and I think they've shrunk to monopolist areas, where there's only one vendor offering a solution to a given problem). Perl can be a great help here, because it allows you to write the glue often needed to exceed employee expectation of what their computer can do.


      Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. -- Brian W. Kernighan
Re: LAMP is practical model?
by hardburn (Abbot) on Nov 22, 2005 at 20:38 UTC

    The entire business? No, that's impossible. Every business is going to need at least some kind of accounting system (even if it's just a simple spreadsheet), and LAMP doesn't cover that at all.

    Now, if you mean the parts of the business that are intrinsically tied to a web server and a database, then sure, there are probably lots of companies like that.

    "There is no shame in being self-taught, only in not trying to learn in the first place." -- Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni.

      The entire business? No, that's impossible. Every business is going to need at least some kind of accounting system (even if it's just a simple spreadsheet), and LAMP doesn't cover that at all.

      Dolibarr is a free, complete and mature LAMP accounting system. My company has written its own LAMP accounting system. Probably some other did, too. Search again ;)

        My usage of "LAMP" is rather constrained. I use it to refer to simply the kernel, web server, database, and programming language typically used in the business. In terms of LAMP, anything not covered by the 'LAM' part will be custom-built with the 'P' bit of the acronym. But a company that sells stuff online would be silly to write its own accounting package.

        "There is no shame in being self-taught, only in not trying to learn in the first place." -- Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni.

      The entire business? No, that's impossible. Every business is going to need at least some kind of accounting system (even if it's just a simple spreadsheet), and LAMP doesn't cover that at all.

      Well hardburn, I guess that this depends on what your definition of "cover" means... SQL Ledger is written in Perl, runs under Apache (mod_perl) and can use PostgreSQL. (more here and here)

      Still, I think you're right. There is much more to a business than the software architecture and there are certain tasks that are not that well covered in the OS world, so a ++ for you :)

      Best regards

      -lem, but some call me fokat

      Depends on how you view "Linux" - is it just the kernel, or does it include the software that is often bundled with the distributions? The software contains several spreadsheets, such as gnumeric, Open Office's spreadsheet, and kspread. They're not as slick as Excel, perhaps, but they suffice for many smaller businesses.

Re: LAMP is practical model?
by samizdat (Vicar) on Dec 01, 2005 at 13:14 UTC
    With the caveat up front that I'm actually talking about a BAMP model...

    My company has been working for five years to brew a customer-deployable Internet recruiting system. Our prototype, CPGjoblist, has been in operation since August, 2002. It's now an incorporated company and making a profit while expanding. We're just about ready to start selling both the system and some of its modules (like the newsletter generator) to the business world, both as standalone business enablers and as adjuncts to corporate web systems.

    I and my developers (3+) use FreeBSD desktops almost exclusively, and our servers are all FreeBSD/Apache/MySQL. The software is written in a mix of PHP, Perl and C Apache modules, with some shell scripts in the mix as well for database replication, and DNS and other system control.

    I can't, unfortunately, say that we use exclusively open source. We don't use accounting software that's on BSD for the simple reason that we don't want to spend the time to pay our fractional-time bookkeeper and once-a-year accountant to learn to use it, and nothing is Quickbooks-compatible, so they'd have to come to my office (which we no longer maintain) to work. I also need a testing machine for IE compatibility, as well.

    I want to make a point that some Stallman advocates won't want to hear, but is very valid. A business needs to make decisions based on what's good for the company NOW, not what's good for the world maybe someday. I know OOo is good enough by itself, but I still have problems sometimes going back and forth, especially when the doc has pictures embedded in it (some of which bugs are on the MS side!). It is cheaper in terms of my time to just walk over to the Doze box and read the @#$!! thing.

    That said, there are a huge number of plusses to designing your business around (B|L)AMP and the open source development model. Bugs do get fixed if you screw up your courage enough to find the developers. My guys have submitted several fixes that are in Apache now, for example. Yes, the web/database portion is the most well-developed arena to play in in this sense, but there are many, many niches which are still wide open for new ventures. We've chosen two, Internet recruiting and web/e-mailed newsletters, but there are lots more out there that do not require getting bogged down in technology development.

    The best course, I think, is to concentrate first on building a successful business around a (B|L)AMP server/app stack, and then, when you're in the black and need a place to sink your profits, THEN see how you can become completely Doze-free as well as contributing back to the community. The first part of that is hard enough, believe me, and we're still not there yet. The open source world will still be there five years from now when we are beyond needing to spend every dime on development and marketing, and my contribution will be much the greater because I wait rather than wasting my efforts on being a hard-line evangelist now.

    Don Wilde
    "There's more than one level to any answer."

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