RealTime IT News

J2EE vs. LAMP vs. NET Battle Royal

BOSTON -- In a fiery session interrupted by a fire alarm (apparently the UNISYS booth had a server overheat that started smoking), leaders of all three principal open source stacks (LAMP, J2EE and .NET) on Linux debated the merits of their respective platforms.

Though the session started with a tongue-in-cheek remark from JBoss about the superiority of J2EE, the mean consensus of the session is that it takes different strokes for different folks.

"Java is great, PHP sucks and .NET can't scale," Shaun Connoly JBoss's vice president of product development said. He added that JBoss is "laser focused" on simplifying development, and recent product announcements and initiatives are proof positive of that fact.

LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) backer ActiveGrid wasn't shy about making grandiose claims about its status, either.

ActiveGrid develops an Application Builder and LAMP Application Sever geared toward bringing additional enhanced features for enterprise LAMP deployments.

Peter Yared CEO of ActiveGrid commented that LAMP is woven into the fabric of the web.

"It's basically everything you use already, it's hosted at every ISP and is included in every Linux distribution," Yared said. "LAMP is the platform of the Web."

Yared did admit that a generic LAMP stack is missing some enterprise features. That's where his company comes in, adding enterprise SOA-type features and making it a platform that integrates and scales with other enterprise systems.

He also took aim at J2EE saying that, "What LAMP and .NET have in common is broad multi-language support, and that's not something you get from a Java environment."

Miguel de Icaza, founder of the Mono project and a Novell employee, didn't pull any punches, either.

Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET framework. De Icaza is also the founder of the GNOME desktop Linux environment and so has a particular desktop slant, even when in comes to .NET.

He's not alone of course, as Red Hat's Fedora Core 5 also supports Mono and its desktop application, including F-spot (photo album) Beagle (desktop search) and Tomboy (note taking) applications.

One audience member asked the panel about Ruby on Rails (RoR) and whether it should have also been up on the panel.

RoR is a relatively new entrant in the open source application platform game offering a Ruby -based framework for application deployment.

"Ruby is definitely fascinating and a great platform," ActiveGrid's Yared said. "It's one of the nice things about open source. It's more Darwinian than not.

"That's how we ended up with LAMP," Yared continued. "They [Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP] just individually grew up to be the best."

De Icaza also said that he likes what he sees in RoR, though it's still early in the process.

So, what framework should an enterprise use?

"Frameworks are kind of like a lifestyle," de Icaza said. "You live different lifestyles depending on what you do. There isn't one tech that will take over the world."

ActiveGrid's Yared said that getting people to change what they do to migrate from one platform to another is the hardest thing to do. The panelists seemed to agree on the point that if an enterprise is happy with their current platform, it's probably best that they stick with it.

Yared did however explains how he sees the respective platforms breaking out in terms of users practical utility. "If you want the best tooling, use mono; enterprise focus, use Java; scalability, use LAMP."

There are a lot of different ways to solve the same problem, and that's also what the three different platforms provide: different ways to achieve the same end objective.

From de Icaza's point of view, it's all about learning.

"I haven't met a programmer that has said I want to stop learning," de Icaza said. "It's always fun to learn about how someone else has solved the problem."