Monthly Archives: December 2005

Wake up Microsoft! Novell is done licking their wounds. Introducing LAMM.

Wake up Microsoft! Novell is done licking their wounds. Introducing LAMM..

The title to this post just doesn't do it justice. But I didn't know how else to put it. For the last decade I have watched Microsoft erode Novell's marketshare in the networking world. If you have been around long enough, you might remember the glory days when a CNE was a badge of honor. And when things like syscon and pconsole were just the bomb against what Windows had. Netware was the system everyone used. And then Microsoft got into networking, and Netware went by the wayside for many people.

Now adays, most people don't even look to Novell for IT solutions. Even though they continue to have a strong offering for Windows and have repositioned themselves firmly in the Linux camp. But recently I had an eye opening experience that makes me believe Novell is done licking their wounds from the workgroup networking world battle they had with Microsoft and have come out fighting in this new 'Internet'worked world.

And I don't think Microsoft is paying enough attention to it. Big mistake.

I was given an interesting Christmas present this year. My wife bought me a book entitled “.NET Web Services: Architecture and Implementation with .NET” which had me so interested I read it in two days. This is interesting because I have tried to stay away from web services for some time now as I waited for it to mature a bit. That and I have just been to busy working on kernel mode code in Windows to care. But recently that has changed with some new work that I am planning on doing.

In an effort to look objectively at building a Software as a Service (SaaS) product, I have spent some time in December looking at all the different technology solutions on the market. From Ruby on Rails to the LAMP stack to ASP.NET. And everything in between. As I started to do the math and ROI calculations on learning curves, licensing requirements and tool purchase plans I came to one realization. I like the idea of Web Services. And I like C#. But there is no way in hell a SaaS startup should go with a Microsoft solution, as it is just WAY to much money.

Robert Scoble knows this. He talked about it in his 12 reasons Web 2.0 entrepreneurs like Ross tell me that they aren’t using Microsoft’s stuff. Sam Ramji said it even better in his post on the topic when he said:

I've been working hard to develop a strong Microsoft-based offering for startups building SaaS companies, because the economics are with LAMP right now.

For those that don't know, LAMP is Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP/Perl/Python. It seems to be the defacto standard for startups these days. Read Robert's and Sam's posts to see why. But I think Novell has an opportunity to change that… and in a big way.

Remember how I said that I like the idea of web services, and C#… but don't believe that the Microsoft Windows stack is the way to go? I really believe that. But that won't happen with LAMP. But with Novell in the picture, it could be done with LAMM.

LAMM?

Linux + Apache + MySQL + Mono.

Mono is just killer. It is an open source implementation of the .NET framework on Unix environments sponsored by Novell. And it works AWESOME. After reading up on web services I wrote my first one on a Debian Linux system in less than 20 minutes. And I was consuming the web service in both a Windows Forms stand alone app and a ASP.NET web app running on a different Linux box running Ubuntu about an hour after that. Another 30 minutes went by and I had it consumed in a web part on Sharepoint. Novell has figured how to get distributed computing working and offering a solution on a well tested stack (Linux + Apache + MySQL) that startups can use NOW.

This has a lot of appeal to me. It means SaaS startups can start with the LAMM stack, and then decide later to move to a Windows stack WITHOUT ANY CODE MODIFICATION to the web service (if written correctly to NOT use platform specific classes). It allows for really interesting scaling as a SaaS grows. It can decide to stay on Linux, move to Windows (or Solaris or OSX for that matter) or use a combination of any of those solutions as the infrastructure grows.

For Web 2.0 companies this open a whole new set of possibilities. It means you can still leverage some of the great architecture of the .NET framework without having to invest a lot of money on the initial deployment. And if you decide down the road that you made the wrong selection on the stack you chose… you simply move to the one you like without having to make any major changes to the underlying code. You can't do that with LAMP.

Wake up Microsoft. Novell's support for LAMM may just let them steal back some of the marketshare you took. I know they sold me. I won't be paying for another Windows server for this SaaS project. I am going with LAMM.  
[Dana Epp's ramblings at the Sanctuary]

30 boxes to beat the big guys with Web calendar?

30 boxes to beat the big guys with Web calendar?.

Everyone expects Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google to come out with new calendar initiatives in 2006, but I sat with Narendra Rocherolle who told me about his company’s new product that’s coming out (named 30 Boxes). You can sign up to get on a beta. Should start hitting the Web in the next month or so. I’ve signed up. The way he described it it’ll be a lot more useful for family-style calendars than anything out there. We’ll see. Don’t know who Narendra is? He was CEO of Webshots that got sold to CNET.  
[Scobleizer – Microsoft Geek Blogger]

Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn't Live Without

Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn't Live Without.

There have been numerous 2005 “best of” and 2006 “predictions” posts over the last few weeks as the year comes to an end. I’m not going to write one of those. Giving out “best of” awards seems presumptuous to me, given that I’ve been blogging all of six months. And while predictions are fun, they aren’t all that useful in the end.

What I do want to write about as I reminisce about the year ending in a couple of days are the Web 2.0 companies that I love and use every day.

I’ve tested over a thousand products this year, and have written about hundreds. And while some of the companies I write about get very positive reviews, I find that the only true test of the value of a product is its staying power: do I continue to use the product, and maybe even pay for it, as the days and months go by?

So for those of you that are curious, here is a short list of the companies that have held my attention, and that I would not choose to live without on the web . . . [TechCrunch]

Boutique Software

Boutique Software.

Gus Mueller, author of VoodooPad, writes a report on three years of building a small Macintosh software business.

One thing he misses — or at least doesn't mention — is that the software business is seasonal: sales decline in the summer. The effect can be swamped by other factors — good news, major releases, hard work — but it's real and significant.

In year one, Mueller got a huge publicity gift in July, which masked the summer slowdown, and figured the ramp-up year end carried good news about his product. Year two, spring comes, and with the approach of summer Mueller senses a product in decline. Maybe the falling sales were due to delays in releasing the product, but they might be the season, too. It's possible that neither the uptrend nor the downtrend said much about the product: the uptrend wasn't a sign that the product was good, nor was the subsequent downtrend a sign that the product had gotten stale.

You can always find an explanation for sales trends, but it's hard to know whether your explanation is right. [Mark Bernstein]

Galileo begins to break US military lock on GPS

Galileo begins to break US military lock on GPS

Up it goes
. Six non-EU nations _ China, India, Israel, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine _ have joined the program set up by the European Commission and European Space Agency, and discussions are underway with other countries to take part.

Good sign that even our friends want to discount their dependence on the US. This was poorly managed. Next stop: ICANN.   [John Robb's Weblog]

Bush's Lewinsky Moment

Bush's Lewinsky Moment.

While the claim that “Bush lied” has been overused, here is one you can take to the bank:

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.

President Bush, April 20, 2004

Any comments?  [Democrats & Liberals:]

How to deploy a Rails application on lighttpd

How to deploy a Rails application on lighttpd.

James Duncan Davidson has started a great series of recipes on deploying Rails applications. In Real Lessons for Rails Deployment, he examined the different options you have and some of the pitfalls you should watch out for.

In Deploying Rails with LightTPD, James goes specific and tells you exactly how to get Rails going on lighttpd using SwitchTower for deployment.

This is great stuff and with more than a couple of deployed Rails applications under his belt, James is in a great position to share his knowledge. Can’t wait to read the further installments.  [Riding Rails]