Non-Linux FOSS: XAMP

One of my career iterations put me in charge of a Windows server that had Apache and PHP installed on it to serve as a Web server for the corporate intranet. Although I was happy to see Apache used as the Web server dæmon, the installation on the Windows server was the most confusing and horrifying mess I've ever seen. To this day, I'm not sure which of the three Apache instances was actually serving files, and there were at least six PHP folders in various places on the hard drive, each with a different version number.

If you're in a situation where you're required to use Windows, but don't want to worry about the nightmare of installing Apache and PHP (much less MySQL) on your machine, I urge you to check out XAMMP. It's not a new program, but that's one of its greatest features. It's basically just a single installer for Windows, OS X or Linux that installs Apache with PHP and MySQL. Its maturity means that even on a Windows system, it should install and work like you'd expect open-source software to work.

Although XAMMP can be used to serve files to the actual Internet, it was designed for individuals to install on their own workstations to test their code. And in that situation, it works really well. If you have a server connected to the Internet, I still recommend using a Linux server with a proper Apache/PHP installation, but if you're stuck using a Windows workstation, XAMMP can give you a stable, open-source Web server platform that you can rely on. Grab a copy at http://www.apachefriends.org.

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.