September 30, 2006 on 1:40 pm | In Build, IdBlog, Tools | Add a Comment

Shortly after I got this box in late 2002, I realized that Windows XP Home did not come with a built-in server. I needed a local test environment for my development work and to run server-based tools.

After a bit of research I found Xitami, which was easy to setup and use. For the stuff I was building at the time it worked just fine.

By the middle of 2003, however, I started looking for a full-featured server setup. IIS was out and so was NT. I needed something that was free, flexible and robust. More research led me to LAMP, or more precisely WAMP, a Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP bundle that I could install and run on my PC.

Apache ran alright, but getting it configured properly was tough. I never mastered the httpd.conf file. Nor could I make the components play well together. Multiple tries, a week of frustration and cursing, and I was back with Xitami.

Then I found XAMPP. I got the bundle from the Apache Friends site in June of 2004 and had it up and running in about an hour. Configuration and security was a snap.

XAMPP stands for Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl. The X is for multiple operating systems — it runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Solaris.

The XAMPP project was begun in 2002 by Kai Seidler and Kay Vogelgesang. The Apache Friends core team now numbers about five with an international crew of volunteers helping out. The developers estimate the XAMPP bundle has been downloaded over three million times in the last four years.

This morning I downloaded the latest version of XAMPP with Apache 2 and MySQL 5. The whole project, from download to security lock took just 45 minutes. All in all, XAMPP is a great tool and the platform of choice for lazy open source developers who never aspired to become sysadmins.

Netizens Rally; Telecom Bill on Hold

September 24, 2006 on 9:28 pm | In IdBlog, Spin | Add a Comment

Coming out of the August recess, it looks like the telecommunications act of 2006 has hit a wall of popular resistance and the primary obstacle is network neutrality.

Back in June, a Republican majority quashed a network neutrality provision in the telecom bill that was put forward by the Democrats. Without this specific piece of legislation it is likely that the FCC will allow an administrative change to common carriage rules that have been in place for decades.

Normally this sort of detail buried in an omnibus bill would only be of interest to policy wonks inside the Beltway and the few businesses concerned. What Senator Ted Stevens, the chairman of the Commerce Committee that is shaping the bill, did not realize is that the internet is now everybody’s business. Thousands of small and medium-sized companies stand to lose if the Federal Communications Commission accedes to big telecom lobbying for tiered access.

Six weeks from the midterm elections, other members of Congress are waking up to the fact that people actually care about this issue.

Not completely deaf to public opinion, Senator Stevens, a Republican from Alaska, and his Commerce Committee released a poll last week that showed the majority of Americans are against internet regulation of any kind. However, as the Wall Street Journal’s capitol bureau noted, the the poll was paid for by Verizon. Which prompted Broadband Reports to call the Senate Commerce Committee a Telco PR firm. The best job of headbanging reporting on the issue was posted by Jeffery Chester of The Nation. Although a very honorable mention must go to We Are the Web and their geek-funk protest video.

Meanwhile, the wave of telecom mergers continues. AT&T’s $67 billion purchase of BellSouth is expected to get the OK from the FCC without neutrality provisions.

Stay tuned to see whether this important legislation is addressed after the November elections, or punted to the next Congress.

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