It is possible to consider a platform from many different levels and many different scopes. Linux, for example, was created on the GNU platform for software development. Bricolage, a content management and publishing system, was created on the platform created by the Perl language and the huge set of libraries written in Perl. The Yahoo! web site was created on a platform assembled from all sorts of software, infrastructure, and applications, from both the commercial and open source realms.
Our analysis will focus on three types of platforms:
Platforms for application development
Platforms for infrastructure
Platforms for applications
Of the three types of platforms, open source is probably strongest as an application development platform. Open source has always been best at serving the needs of the developers who create it. The challenge for an IT department in choosing open source as an application platform is narrowing the choices to the smallest number of languages. Open source development can occur in C, C++, Perl, Python, PHP, or Java using a variety of different compilers, application servers, and libraries. The problem for IT departments is choosing among these languages. All of them are viable, stable languages that have been used to create great software. The sorts of questions an IT department should ask when looking at using open source as a platform for development include:
What libraries are most important ...