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LAMP: The Open Source Web Platform

by Dale Dougherty

Several months ago, David Axmark and Monty Widenius of the MySQL team visited us in Sebastopol and they dropped a new term in our laps: LAMP. This term was popular in Germany, they said, to define how MySQL was used in conjunction with Linux, Apache, and either Perl, Python, or PHP. Their explanation of LAMP made a lightbulb go off in my head.

At the O'Reilly Network, our editors have been discussing how to unify and focus our open source coverage. As you know, open source covers a lot of ground, and it can be hard to identify those common areas where developers converge. Too often, the market identifies open source with Linux, and Linux is already well covered on many sites. We have felt that the market has ignored the tools that make Linux a great applications development platform, especially for robust web applications that run on Linux servers.

The lightbulb that went off in my head was that LAMP represents the open source web platform. Most importantly, LAMP is the platform of choice for the development and deployment of high performance web applications. It is solid and reliable, and if Apache is any indicator, then LAMP sites predominate. If you visit the Netcraft survey and look up popular sites, you'll notice that many run Apache on Linux, and have either mod_perl or mod_php installed. (Netcraft is unable, using its methodology, to detect sites that use MySQL, but we feel comfortable, knowing the number of MySQL downloads, that this open source database is making significant inroads on proprietary databases, especially for web applications.)

There was one more ah-hah factor with LAMP. I realized that we used LAMP at O'Reilly Network. Our customized content management system, Community Server, is a LAMP platform, consisting of Linux+Apache+MySQL+Perl. Another important project at O'Reilly Network is Meerkat, an RSS syndication server, and it uses Linux+Apache+MySQL+PHP. So we not only believe in LAMP; our Web sites are built on LAMP. It also happens that our strongest affiliates on the O'Reilly Network are LAMP-related:, and In addition, we have developed a sizeable amount of content on O'Reilly Network for Apache, MySQL, PHP and Python developers.

Of course, there are plenty of excellent open source variants for any of the pieces of LAMP. Let the L stand for Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Darwin/Mac OS X, all of which are open source operating systems and all but the latter have open source GUI layers. Let the M stand for MySQL and PostGreSQL. Let the P stand for PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby.

All of these signs seemed to point to an opportunity to develop a site dedicated to LAMP for developers and administrators. We hope you find our site proves to be valuable as a place where you can learn more about tools and techniques, and meet expert developers who can discuss issues such as security, XML, e-commerce, and system performance tuning. We'd certainly like to hear from you and learn more about your needs and what topics you'd like us to cover.

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