Although LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/Python/PHP) is often synonymous with open source, Windows can be a solid leg supporting the platform. The rising popularity of PHP on Windows servers is one indication of this trend. To zealots in both camps this may look like an unholy alliance, but I live in both camps and it makes perfect sense to me. [Full story at]

I started reading Jared Diamond's Collapse last night. He positions himself, at the outset, as a member of two camps: environmentalists and (because pro-business isn't the right term) non-environmentalists. Over the course of a long career he's managed to upset people in both camps. The non-environmentalists have accused him of favoring endangered louseworts over people, and the environmentalists have called him an oil company whore. He writes:

If environmentalists aren't willing to engage with big businesses, which are among the most powerful forces in the modern world, it won't be possible to solve the world's environmental problems.

I have similarly been called, at various times, an open source bigot and a Microsoft toady. The labels don't bother me because the record is public. Anyone who cares to look will find out that I've long practiced, and advocated, a best-of-both-worlds approach.

What does bother me, from time to time, is the lack of engagement between the two camps. I know open source folks who are woefully ignorant of key innovations on the Windows platform because, for ideological reasons, they cannot bring themselves to boot up a copy of Windows. And I know Windows folks who solve problems by throwing every available Microsoft product at them, unaware of cheaper and better open source alternatives.

In some ways Windows and open source are fellow travelers, and have been for a long time. My first exposure to Perl was on Win32, not Unix, thanks to ActiveState's Microsoft-funded porting effort. Marten Mickos, the CEO of MySQL, informs me that over 40% of MySQL downloads are for Windows -- a number that could grow as Microsoft continues to iron out its security flaws.

Assuming that neither camp will achieve total world domination, how can the two constructively engage? This seems like a critical question that I rarely see asked, never mind answered.

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