[lug] Web development costs for NT/IIS vs Linux/Apache

Ferdinand Schmid fschmid at archenergy.com
Fri Mar 16 09:22:52 MST 2001

John Karns wrote:
> Hello all,
> I'm currently in an advisory situation where the client is negotiating
> the development of a web based learning program.  Unfortunately the MS
> platforms are very dominant in this country (Colombia), and Unix / Linux
> skills are rare indeed.  Even the ISP's here are NT based, and it shows
> with eradic service and low BW.
> The idea is to use Apache + PHP or perhaps AOL Server + Ars-Digita on
> Linux with an SQL back-end to dynamically generate much of the text.
> Flash animation is also planned.
> I would be most appreciative in receiving input re cost comparison in
> terms of development time for the two platforms.  Although the project is
> slated to be done on Linux of course, the development peoples' experience
> is on the MS side.  Assuming a developer had equal facility with Apache +
> Linux + Postgres as with NT + IIS + SQL Server, in general terms how would
> the development time compare?

I don't see any dev speed advantage for NT over Linux.  Yes, the ms
developers will need to learn dealing with Linux systems - but only on a
very high level.  Our company had only Windows developers and we started
using Linux systems for server development on a recent project.  Getting
our developers up to speed on the Linux systems was almost immediate. 
Java is the same on both systems and so is C++.  There were very few
issues that cost us extra time.  All I had to do is spend some time
answering Unix/Linux questions as they arose.  While initially critical
the developers now love Linux!  They can't believe that our Linux based
dev server never needed to get restarted in the past 1/2 year!  
For obvious reasons we are keeping the developer workstations on NT. 
The developers each also have a VNC session to our high powered Linux
test server.  A few people on a 1 GHz Athlon system with a 15 kRPM
SCSI-160 disk seem no load, even with Apache, Jakarta-Tomcat,
Postgres... all running at the same time.  FYI - this machine typically
has over 5500 files open so I had to increase the /proc/sys/fs/file-max

> Secondly, since Apache, PHP, and Postgres are also available for the MS
> platform, I am curious as to how practical it might be to do development
> on the MS side for implementation on Linux.  This way it would eliminate
> the need for the developers to learn Linux admin and system manipulation
> which might expedite the project a bit.

Postgres on NT does not always seem to be the latest version.  I can't
speak for PHP since we are using Java and JSP for our dynamic content.

> IOW, what kind of compatibility issues might be encountered in the
> characteristics of the three applications on the different platforms?
> For example if Apache is implemented with forking processes on Linux but
> thread based on NT, there might be noticable performance differences which
> would affect design considerations.

Again - our developers really like the stability and absence of reboots
so they don't mind using a Linux type development environment.  And at
least in this country avoiding the MS licenses saved us a fortune of

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> John Karns                                              jkarns at csd.net
> _______________________________________________
> Web Page:  http://lug.boulder.co.us
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Ferdinand Schmid
303-444-4149 x231

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