Microsoft needs to release Windows Server Express
Microsoft urgently needs to release an Express edition of Windows Server.
Microsoft's existing customers want it, and need it. More importantly, Microsoft's new customers and potential new customers want it.
At present there is no free entry-level web server platform available from Microsoft. Yet Microsoft manifestly does need to offer one, if it is to compete on the same terms as alternative platforms such as LAMP -- even if the alternatives are inferior.
Everybody will benefit from a free web server platform from Microsoft -- especially Microsoft themselves. More people will end up using Windows server if there is a free "Express" edition. Developers and hosting companies want it, along with computer science students, start-up companies, hobbyists, script-kiddies, etc. Those who use Windows Server Express will generally also use other Microsoft products, including Visual Studio and SQL Server. Thus, Windows Server Express will bring additional customers to Microsoft and additional users for a wide range of products. A proportion of these extra customers will inevitably later pay, to scale-up or upgrade to fuller editions the software. Once hooked on Microsoft technology, people continue to use Microsoft technology.
All of the currently available editions of Windows 2008 Server cost money -- including Windows Server 2008 SP2 (effectively Windows 7 Server). This is frustrating because Microsoft already offers, free of charge, a comprehensive package of entry-level web development products. Only the server platform is not available for free. In particular, Visual Studio Express, SQL Server Express, and ASP.NET MVC, are the pre-eminent products for web development today. They provide everything needed to develop, deploy and maintain enterprise-quality web sites -- as advanced as anything on the web currently can be -- on an entry-level scale. Using the Web Platform Installer wizard, the entire web platform can be deployed quickly and easily, along with development tools.
So, Microsoft almost does already offer a superior alternative to LAMP, in a complete package encompassing much more than just the platform -- but without the "L". Of course, though inferior, WAMP would also cost nothing on Windows Server Express. To coin a new acronym, what I am calling for could be called "WISP" or "WIS.NET":-
Windows + IIS + SQL Server + Programming language (typically C#)
All we need from Windows Server Express is the basic server platform. We need little more than the brilliant software that powers IIS 7 -- just the core. In theory Windows Server Express wouldn't even need a GUI, because the relevant products all support remote administration.
As we bear witness to the dawn of the Internet age, with the OS wars reaching a crescendo, Windows Server Express is the single most important and obvious weapon missing from Microsoft's strategic arsenal.
06 August 2009
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