How high is the LAMP stack?

When we first started talking about LAMP, it stood for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python... and other M and P projects, such as mod_perl, mod_python, PostgreSQL and so on. The letters were arranged horizontally, but many IT builders began talking about them vertically: as a "stack": Linux on the bottom, and a pile of other stuff on top.

So here's a simple question: how high (or wide) is that stack now? Put another way, how many open source projects sit on Linux today?

I just asked Ethan Zuckerman, who said the question was "interesting", and that one approach would be to subtract out the non-Linux projects from SourceForge. Right now there are 154,092 projects on SourceForge. I don't know how many run on Linux, though I'm sure it's a huge percentage. But SourceForge isn't the only place where open source development projects live.

You can go looking with directories such as Linux.org's, collections such as Freshmeat's or Tucows', or code search engines such as Google's, Koders' or Krugle's. But so far I haven't been able to find a number. But that's just me. I'm sure one or more of the rest of ya'll have the answer. Or many answers. What are they?

______________________

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

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What is LAMP for?

Scot's picture

I am curious if the fact that LAMP is intended to support the design and implementation of dynamic web applications is a valuable catalyst to this discussion. I mean, the origin of LAMP from my perspective was an open source solution to anything Microsoft or Sun (et al) were offering from their IIS or Portal systems respectively.

With that in mind, the question becomes how high, or wide, is the dynamic OSS Dynamic Web Application Stack on Linux, formerly known as LAMP. As mentioned previously, the emergence of Rails and now the possibility of Java being included really spices things up.

-Scot

Linux isn't the key

Alejandro's picture

The most important component in LAMP isn't Linux. It's Apache. Of all the components, it's the hardest to replace. Linux could become BSD, Solaris, even Windows can be used as the foundation of AMP. Databases and scripting languages are even easier to replace. But it's hard to find a server to replace Apache with. You can make a WARP stack by using Windows, Ruby and PostgreSQL, but Apache would still be there. Lighthttpd and other open source web servers aren't mature enough to challenge Apache.

Apache

Anonymous's picture

Cigars

Apache is definitely one of the most important aspects of LAMP, but they're all together one thing. Without one of the aspects they are not nearly as effective. No SQL makes PHP and Apache just a text editor and notepad.

Apache like Sendmail

Nicola Larosa's picture

I disagree with your assessment. Okay for *BSD and OpenSolaris, but I don't see what proprietary software has got to do with LAMP.

Replacing databases is not always easy; nonetheless, it should be done: MySQL is a bad-working liability.

Likewise, and even more, PHP: if at all possible, it's better avoiding it, in favor of more robust and productive languages like Python and Ruby. Alas, it's even less easy.

Last but not least, Apache. It's definitely replaceable, exactly by Lighttpd and Nginx. It's being replaced right now, and going the same route as Sendmail ten years ago. You read it here first. ;-)

Lighttpd

Anonymous's picture

I absolutely agree.

I find that Apache is easily replaced with Lighttpd. Not only that, lighttpd works BETTER for me - my cpu was often choked up by apache. Now with lighttpd its amazingly quicker.

For the database, I prefer postgresql.

However, I still use PHP - it has all the functions I need... for now...

You're either asking the

dr's picture

You're either asking the wrong question or you're looking for the answer in the wrong way.

The LAMP "stack" doesn't grow high from just any software that runs on Linux. It only grows higher from software that runs on "top" of Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/Python/PHP. I'd guess that this is a small minority of the frameworks and apps on SourceForge.

An example is Drupal, which sits on top the LAMP stack. I could write a framework that builds on Drupal, and you could write an application with my framework - that'd make the stack high.

If your question is really "how much (FOSS) software runs on Linux?", then the question is less interesting, the answer is "lots".

What are the right questions?

Doc Searls's picture

You're right. I could be asking the wrong question: one that comes down to something like "How many SKUs are in Home Depot?" Or "How many different kinds of building material do you need to make a house?"

The important answer might be "lots", as you say, or "many". Or "enough".

I have two goals in asking the question. One is just to see if it's possible to come up with a numerical answer, just because that might be a fun thing to do. Could be that we can't. The other is to substantiate a theory i've had since not long after I started with Linux Journal, more than a decade ago: that the software industry is turning into something like the constuction industry, and that the primary building materials are those made of natural stuff — the equivalent of rocks and wood. And by those I mean free and open source ones. I could go deeper into that metaphor, but where I'd rather go is toward understanding software and hardware more in terms of what you can do with it, rather than which companies make proprietary and controlling building materials, and how builders need to comply with those makers' "standards".

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

LAMP

Anonymous's picture

I think you are still missing the point.

You initially phrased the question to ask how high is the LAMP stack now? This purely refers to serving web pages, as that is the purposes of a LAMP implementation.

You then go on to speak of ANY software that runs on Linux. This could be GnuChess for all I care.

2 different questions... the first one is actually interesting and worth while. There are heaps of different content managers and other web serving technologies such as Rails etc. The second question is rather silly and can't be answered really - how many people have written a custom script or other program on their computer - do those count? It can't really be quantified. A qualitative answer would be... "lots"...

thanks

video portal's picture

You're either asking the wrong question or you're looking for the answer in the wrong way.

The LAMP "stack" doesn't grow high from just any software that runs on Linux. It only grows higher from software that runs on "top" of Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/Python/PHP. I'd guess that this is a small minority of the frameworks and apps on SourceForge.

An example is Drupal, which sits on top the LAMP stack. I could write a framework that builds on Drupal, and you could write an application with my framework - that'd make the stack high.

If your question is really "how much (FOSS) software runs on Linux?", then the question is less interesting, the answer is "lots".

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