Did you say Open Source on Microsoft Platform?

February 18, 2010 by iWeb Technologies in: iWeb Articles

Hi folks, my name is Nik and I’m an Open Source Strategy Lead at Microsoft Canada. Yes, you read it right… Open Source and Microsoft. Many people get surprised when they hear my title, or when I tell them there’s a Technology Centre at Microsoft dedicated to making Open Source apps work well on Windows. Many will probably be surprised to hear that iWeb and Microsoft have been working together to offer a Windows Server package for running many popular Open Source applications. Why are we doing this?

In the past we’ve often heard our customers at iWeb and Microsoft Canada say: “Hey, I want to run a blog, or a CMS on my site. I use Windows, but want to use WordPress, or Drupal, or Joomla! What are you guys doing to make it easy for me?” Well, now we have an easy answer for you!

We’ve created an installer called…. Web Platform Installer — I know, we’re so creative in our naming –specifically for Open Source applications, including many popular PHP apps like WordPress, Gallery 2, Aquia Drupal, and most recently Joomla! It’s easy to get them running on Windows server with just a couple of clicks and filling out simple wizard for admin & database info. WebPI checks the server for what’s installed, such as the right version of PHP, modules, etc., understands all the dependencies, and then goes out and downloads + installs all the components. It’s crazy simple. You can read more on it here.

You may ask us why we care about PHP, or who would want to run OSS apps on Windows? I like the fact that with iWeb’s Windows Server package you get both the PHP and .NET frameworks installed, so now you’ll have access to both PHP apps and also .NET apps like DotNetNuke – from the Web Platform Installer. And you also get your choice of databases including SQL Server 2008 Express. And with iWeb’s dedicated server promo starting at $79/month, it’s an offer you can’t refuse!

I’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions about PHP apps on Windows, as we work with iWeb on more cool offers, so hit me up on twitter @Nik_G or @PHPonWindows.



  1. > Did you say Open Source on Microsoft Platform?

    I say: who cares?

    > You may ask us why we care about PHP, or who would want to run OSS apps on Windows?

    I would guess you care about PHP because Microsoft is still a platform shop,
    and would happily “embrace” any non-MS technology with an audience any time.
    I’m not a PHP guy, nor Java (or the MS “embraced&extended” version – i.e. .NET) afficionado.
    But I’m just saying platform wars are so “last century” and the topic of
    this article (“Open Source on Microsoft Platform”) just sounds so very “old”.

    Here’s a topic for you: how relevant is Microsoft (the classic desktop platform)
    in a world shifting towards web and phone apps. In all these markets, MS will
    always come second at best. Your soul is in desktop, not servers,
    not the web, definitely not open source.
    Sure, unsophisticated customers will find value in your offer because they don’t know better,
    and iWeb gets higher margins on Microsoft gear,
    but from my perspective I wonder:
    Why should I run open source on Windows when I can run open source
    on real open source OS-es?
    The “open source” positioning is already filled, so
    why are you wasting my time with such propositions?

  2. @vio

    You know, it’s refreshing to hear that platform wars are so “last century”. I couldn’t agree more, but so many people still have the perceptions that Microsoft is against Open Source. So many others think that it’s still ridiculously difficult to run [ your fav PHP app here ] on a Windows box. My point of the blog post is to address that.

    On the “MS in the desktop” point, check out sometimes the market data on server shipments. Or data on # of Open Source projects compatible with Windows, or number of OSS projects Microsoft contributes to. I think you’d be suprised.

    Oh, and I wish I could find a link from an old article that said in gaming Microsoft will never have a compelling offer…. and then there was Xbox. Others said Microsoft will never have a server offering, and now you’ll find Windows HPC Server running some of the Top 100 supercomputers.

    Anyways, if platform wars are so last century, let’s keep them there? And if you’re Montreal and happen to be at ConFoo conference this week, swing by our MakeWebNotWar booth — would love to chat


  3. Hey Nik,
    Always nice to get a little flame war going :) – just kidding.

    > You know, it’s refreshing to hear that platform wars are so “last century”.
    Yes, only it’s just as depressing to hearing about it still “this century” (the point of my initial message, and which made me answer your initial post on this iWeb blog).

    XBox, Windows HPC Server, Office, Windows … yes, Microsoft is a very financially successful “platform” shop. Is it the best platform for “my” servers ? Not so sure …

    > but so many people still have the perceptions that Microsoft is against Open Source.
    That’s quite funny, from my side of the laptop. Really.
    Let’s play “re-write history” game now, shall we:
    Microsoft’s history showed that this anti-open-source “perception” is totally unfounded.
    (comes to mind: an anti-Linux campaign polluting the web with ridiculous banner ads;
    that whole “proxy” campaign threatening with lawsuits whoever used “open source” – what’s
    that guy’s name again, I forgot, … anyway, old stuff)

    > So many others think that it’s still ridiculously difficult to run [ your fav PHP app here ] on a Windows box.
    And let’s keep it this way (!!), shall we ;)

    True story: couple days ago I got a “free” Aspire One netbook (thank you Rogers wireless:)
    Ok, so now I have 2 of these (one red, one blue), big deal. But they’re so cute …
    If they could bark, they’d have great time playing together, and pooping my place.
    So first thing I did: had a look at Windows7 (came factory installed on this 2nd netbook).
    Second thing I did (actually doing it while writing this): kicking this “factory installed” baby out,
    and installing Linux Mint in its place.

    Now, if you “really” want to be “really” impressed, have a look at “that” baby
    (see: linuxmint.com )
    Just found out about them yesterday after Googling about something,
    and am still in “Wow!” mode.
    Sorry, but Win7 in comparison looks so terribly “boring” (icons, color scheme, yak!)
    … or maybe I have the crappy netbook Win7 version,
    I don’t know (MS likes to have the “home” edition and such for stupid non-geeky people).
    Besides being ugly, my Windows7 “felt” slow on the Acer machine (new one I told you about).
    I think WinXP is faster on this type of limited hardware (Atom brains, 1 GB memory).

    Anyway, thanks for your reply Nik, good luck for your OpenSrc campaign (pays your rent,
    hard to argue against life’s realities)
    but if you have some spare time, you should “get serious” and have a look at Linux Mint.
    They’re kicking your fat Windows7 butt. (I mean “fat” as in “resources-intensive”, no disrespect :)
    You can just burn a 700MB CD-ROM with it, then it boots/runs directly from CD.
    I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised
    … or not, depending on how “religious” you are about your “day job”.

    Spring finally, time to “live a little”
    … i.e. go out and enjoy other “free” (if not open src) stuff: sunshine, birds singing …

    PS. “MakeWebNotWar” – hey, you guys are really funny. Though coming from Microsoft,
    this sounds like applied infiltration tactics … I know, those pesky persistent perceptions ;)
    Hey you know what they say: you only have one chance to make a “first impression”.
    I think MS blew their chance, somehow …
    hence your job (to change that strategic mistake).
    But changing perceptions is tough, so good luck with that …

  4. Hey Vio -

    I wish you had given it a bit of time with Windows 7 — but to each his own. I have 7 systems at home not including ones that my wife uses. Couple of them run Xandros and LinuxMint, and one triple booting with 2 different distros. My favorite of the dirsto’s is one with 2 letters and 1 number I’m not going to talk about :) If you found LinuxMint just recently, chances are you don’t know what I mean, but maybe it’s better that way ;-)

    So I can tell you I have my share of fun with various distros, and of various MS OS’s. Of all, I’ve been impressed by Windows Server 2000 a while ago — and then more recently Win7. It just rocks. On my high-end PC it’s just an experience that makes me happy to boot into… but surprisingly on my low-end M7 laptop 1GB memory it’s still a better experience too.

    And yes, what I do pays the rent – but even if it didn’t, I’d still like W7 best :)

    P.S. The “perceptions” are totally warranted. The cancer statements still echoe — and that’s why I still got this job

  5. To both :
    Why not switching to an ipad hosted @iweb ? :
    have fun ;-)

  6. Hey Nik,

    howzit going? Nice little menagerie you got there…
    I have 4 laptops myself, and am somewhat starved of desk space
    right now.
    I’m sure adding an iPad to the lot would fit in nicely … provided it
    sits upright and to the left … somewhere …
    Glad to hear you like your w7 cool-aid (anything else would have
    pushed you closer to the office door … never know who reads
    these innocent-sounding rants on a bad hair-day).
    Instead of getting the w7 medicine, I think I should get “a life” :)
    outside the office, but thanks for the MS pitch.

    Hey, sorry for any perceived anti-MS views,
    I guess I got that from my old days
    soaking in PowerMacs culture (circa 10-15 years ago).
    Believe it or not, but I actually took the time to read
    almost all corporate bios (as in ‘biographies’) regarding MS.
    And admittedly I am a fan of the ‘old’ MS – during the startup days.
    Probably the most opportunistic and strategic-minded company
    I’ve read about, so far.
    Ruthless as hell, but overly-aggressive behavior
    seems to have worked wonders for your company’s earlier years.
    But then during 95 – y2k period, you guys kind of lost me.
    And these days, let’s say today’s Ballmer is not as sexy
    as Bill’s geeky persona. The underdog is always cuter
    than years later when he became the 800 pound bureaucratic gorilla.
    (you’re now at what 90-100k people? What do all these people do?)
    Hey, where am I going with this? I don’t know. Maybe just to say
    that todays’ “real” open source has this “young MS” feel to it,
    which todays’ MS lost, and which I want to support.

    That, plus I’m smart enough to know how to type
    “configure; make; make install”
    on a linux terminal