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Is Open Source a Good Choice for Web Development?

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The great crusade of trolling, argumentation, and Internet wars at the discussions about  open-source and proprietary implementations of operating systems, crept up to the Web Development world, where almost everything is operating system agnostic, but we should not exclude the fact that the back-end is ran on a server,using either one of the proprietary tools such as Azure,ASP.NET,IIS, or the open source ones such as Zend Engine,Apache, Node.js etc etc etc.

Today i want to talk about why it would be a better choice in your business to opt for open-source.

It’s free, as in beer, and as in true freedom.

Psychologist say that, people who refuse free things (especially gifts) tend to have low self-esteem. And it is also well known that most people have the following mentality: “if it’s free, it must be good for nothing,invaluable”. The open source community proves this mentality to be completely wrong by delivering great software such as LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP), the well known Linux distributions (67% of world’s web servers report to use Apache on Linux).

Performance.

The power of the LAMP stack, the newest optimization techniques in GCC (Gnu C Compiler, which Linux uses) and the performance of the newer open-source servers, there is no way that a Windows Server will match them. LAMP will also perform well on a low performance server with the correct configuration. Node.JS, an open source JavaScript implementation, is one of the best in the game when it comes to performance.

Market Value.

I’m sure that most freelancer and employed web developers can testify this fact, and that is, there is much more market value for either LAMP or Ruby on Rails. Not so much for ASP.Net, as it’s known for it’s steep learning curve (learning a whole programming language for developing web applications? c’mon!) and it’s undesirable traits such as low performance, and low compatibility (thanks to Monolight project this isn’t such a big issue, although we think that web apps should be cross-platform all day)

The thing is that ASP.Net isn’t going to explode in popularity in the near future. Companies and Businesses aren’t willing to shell out money on Windows Server and Visual Studio just so they can look official running a Microsoft product. You might think that i’m trying to downplay or shame Microsoft products but you are wrong. My main motivation as a company would be to reduce the costs and time as much as possible, while getting as much as quality and as much as performance.

All you need to get a performant server is to buy yourself a Pentium 4 machine, set up your RAID, install a light Linux distribution like Debian or Arch, install the LAMP Stack, do your website (or put someone else to do it) and you’ll have a reliable server that won’t give you headaches and will work loyally during rain and during sun. Can’t say the same for Windows Server because of the steep learning curve, development and set-up costs, and maintaining costs that it brings with it.

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