AMP: Novell Pumps up the Volume on Open Source

Linux developers have long enjoyed powerful Open Source web development tools. With the release of its AMP Developer Suite, Novell will finally deliver full support for Apache, MySQL, and PHP (or Perl) and show the Open Source community it is serious about its commitment to open source.

 By Hallett German
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Linux developers have long enjoyed powerful Open Source web development tools. With the AMP Developer Suite -- Apache, MySQL, and PHP (or Perl) -- Novell will finally deliver full support for these popular tools and show the Open Source community it is serious about its commitment to open source. Although the final versions are expected to be included in the "Nakoma" distribution, the upcoming new release of Netware, there is no need to wait until then to try AMP; the beta versions are available now for Netware 6 Service Pack 2 in the separate "Leading Edge" package.

Why would you be interested in AMP? If you are already a Novell shop and you need to develop powerful network and e-business tools, then you'll likely be interested in some of the unique AMP features like:

  • With Nakoma, Apache Farm administration can be centralized for one server, a group of servers, or all servers using eDirectory.
  • Of particular use to MySQL application vendors, Nakoma will include a commercial license of MySQL.
  • Nakoma will include PHPMyAdmin for MySQL management.
  • Nakoma will likely include disk/hardware features such as MySQL cluster failover, dramatically improved performance, and the ability to implement cluster architecture to eliminate single points of failure.
  • PHP support for third party PHP and Perl scripts including PHProjekt, PHPNuke, XOOPS, and Incyte Project Manager.
  • Sample scripts in the Perl distribution to perform Netware volume and file operations.

Now that we've covered some of its great new features, let's delve into some details of the AMP beta release so you can see the benefits for yourself.

Novell Embraces Open Source

Open Source is serious business at Novell. The chair of the recently established Open Source Review Board is a key member of Novell's corporate architecture and strategy team. Four major factors are behind Novell embracing Open Source development tools:

  • Open software's popularity -- How popular is this software? There are 21 million Apache web server users (63% market share), 4 million MySQL users, nearly 8 million PHP users (growing by 6.5% each month), and nearly 4 million Perl users -- numbers that are going to attract any company's attention!
  • The Novell user community -- The Netware community has aggressively pushed the company for the best of both worlds -- easy-to-use Open Source software on Novell's well-tested, robust, scalable, and secure network platform.
  • Prevention of a migration of Novell users to Linux -- Linux, where these tools already exist, is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative platform, and the low/free cost is a big draw too!
  • Establish credible competition for Microsoft's .Net offering

Although the Review Board's charter is to establish bilateral communication between the Open Source community and Novell, the board's current focus is more on "inbound" technology and licensing concerns. This means that Novell is looking for the best Open Source technology to bring into the Novell world. To date, this includes the AMP software plus LDAP developer libraries, PostgreSQL (a relational database rewritten for Netware) and Tomcat (a servlet/JavaServer Pages container). True to the Open Source community spirit, any changes made to integrate these products in the Netware environment are also fed back to the Open Source community.

Novell's "outbound" Open Source strategy for internal technology is still in process, but the company is showing support by creating a website specifically for developers to share code, news, etc. The site is currently in beta and is scheduled to go public in early February.

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This article was originally published on Jan 28, 2003
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