Blogger: Larry Cannell
Last week at the MIX ‘09 conference Microsoft announced the beta release of its Web Platform Installer 2.0. This is a framework and utility for downloading, installing, and maintaining web applications built for the Microsoft Web Platform. What I found interesting is the open source applications which can be installed by the tool and are available in the Web App Gallery. These include popular PHP-based open source applications like Drupal, Gallery, and Wordpress. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has offered downloads like this but it is probably slickest and more convenient packaging they’ve done so far. In addition, the company has been working with the PHP community to improve how their apps work with Microsoft’s IIS web server and SQL Server databases for some time now. This might be a good option if you are interested in learning more about the open source products available through the gallery and are an all-Microsoft shop.
But, will this sway any open source developers to start building their applications on a Microsoft platform? For existing open source projects, probably not. The installer tool doesn’t offer any compelling features that would sway these projects to switch. However, it might be useful for some new open source projects whose developers prefer a Microsoft platform.
Microsoft is also offering 60-days free hosting through six of their partners. However, the pricing of Windows hosting is still generally much higher than Linux. This may be the biggest barrier for Microsoft to cross in order to convince more open source projects to develop on their platform.