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The Hybridization of the LAMP Stack

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A survey of 35,000 open source users found some mixed results and may have debunked deep-seated beliefs. The idea that open source users use only open source tools to evaluate and deploy open source solutions may not be entirely accurate.

Think open source users are monogamous? Think again.

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In its second annual Open Source Barometer study, open source content management vendor Alfresco found many hybrid users of LAMP — the acronym for the Web stack featuring Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, the open source Web development language. The open source firm surveyed organizations to find out how they were using LAMP in their own infrastructures. The takeaway: Users like a hybrid mix in their LAMP.

“People try open source on Windows on a laptop, then they’ll deploy on Linux with Ubuntu and Red Hat, but the content they put it is coming from Microsoft,” Ian Howells, chief marketing officer for Alfresco, told “People don’t want to be tied into a whole stack; they want choice in how they generate content and how they deploy it.”

The study found more people deploying on Linux in 2007 than did in the 2006 study.

In the 2006 survey, for example, 41 percent of respondents reported they deployed on Linux. A year later, that number jumped to 51 percent. The study also found that although deployment on Linux is high, 41 percent evaluated first on a Windows-based notebook.

In terms of which version of Linux to run, Alfresco’s respondents were using, they reported RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) usage at 21 percent with Fedora at 14 percent, giving a combined 35 percent usage for Red Hat’s Linux offerings. Ubuntu came in second at 23 percent. On the Windows side, 63 percent were using Windows XP, 28 percent were using Windows Server 2003, and only 2 percent were using Windows Vista.

Overall, MySQL usage was at 73 percent and is the database of choice, with Oracle coming in second at 14 percent. PostgreSQL came in at 9 percent of respondents.

Alfresco is a content management vendor, and as such Howells said it is curious how the actual content that comes in is actually being created.

“66 percent of the time content is created in Microsoft office,” Howells said. “That validates the fact that people want to create content in Office but then have choice of operating system and the app server.”

Open Office (OOo) was reported to be used by only 24 percent of respondents, while Google Docs and Spreadsheets came in at 1 percent.

Howells noted that the value of the Open Source Barometer study for Alfresco is quite clear — it helps Alfresco prioritize the stacks against which they certify.

There are benefits for other enterprise vendors and users as well according to Howells. For one, an enterprise could look at the study from the perspective of who is leading in the space.

“It’s useful for enterprises to know who the leaders are so they can start using, get experience with and integrate into their stack,” Howells said.

The study also proves that modern enterprise use more than just LAMP for open source deployments.

“People used to always talk about LAMP, but I think what we’re getting here is a mixed stack,” Howells said. “We’re moving toward a hybrid mixed stack and people can get benefit from using open source software at different levels in the stack for different apps and that’s what big enterprises need to think about.”

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