Is Microsoft at last conceding that the open-source world may have some new tricks to teach the old dogs in Redmond? Or is the Redmond software giant simply using new tactics to infiltrate the Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) camp?
On Wednesday, Microsoft will announce an agreement with Covalent Technologies, a commercial vendor of secure Apache Web-server software. The agreement is to be unveiled at the OReilly Open Source Convention (OSCON 2002) in San Diego, where industry watchers have speculated that Microsoft will unveil new support for its Visual Studio .Net toolset that will allow Web developers to target Apache, not just Microsofts own competing Internet Information Server (IIS) Web server that is bundled into the Windows operating system.
Earlier this week, hints of some kind of "Apache.Net" deal kicked off a frenzy of speculation on the Slashdot Web site.
Representatives from the Apache Software Foundation, which champions a variety of open-source software projects, were quick to distance themselves from the pending announcement. Apache spokesperson Sascha Schumann told Slashdot that the Microsoft-Covalent deal was a private one between two companies and had not been approved or endorsed by the Apache Software Foundation.
Microsoft executives are stepping up the companys campaign to win over the hearts and minds of more Web developers. And with good reason, according to the latest Web server survey data from Netcraft. In the month of June, Apaches Web server had 56.2 percent market share, compared with Microsofts 31.7 percent. Apaches share rose 3.5 percent in June; Microsofts declined 2.7 percent, according to the Netcraft results.
Microsoft isnt setting its sights on Apache and Linux alone. The company is taking aim at wresting market share from a full suite of open-source products that Microsoft has dubbed LAMP: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP.
MySQL, an alternative to Microsofts SQL Server, is an open-source database. And PHP is an open-source scripting language that is spearheaded by the Apache Software Foundation.
Microsoft has been stepping up its war on LAMP in recent months. Microsoft executives have called on numerous South American, European and Asian governments to get the word out on Microsofts alternatives to LAMP, in particular on Microsofts shared-source licensing options.
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