Open Source

Install Web stacks in an instant with BitNami

Need to set up a server environment to run Web applications such as WordPress, MediaWiki, Joomla, Trac, DocuWiki, or Drupal? Here's how to do it in less than two minutes with free software.

Need to set up a server environment to run Web applications such as WordPress, MediaWiki, Joomla, Trac, DocuWiki, or Drupal? Here's how to do it in less than two minutes with free software.

Setting up a localhost Web server environment such as LAMP, MAMP, JRuby, WAMP, or Django seems to be getting easier each time I try. The BitNami project has stepped up to the crease and made it extraordinarily simple by offering executable installers which bundle up open source software stacks and allow users to install them in much the same way a desktop application would.

The advantage of all this? You get an instance of a Web application running very quickly and it won't mess around with existing settings on your computer or server.

The install package for WordPress, for example, includes the necessary Web infrastructure to run the platform – Apache, MySQL/LiteSpeed, and PHP – then offers simple to follow prompts to install an instance of the popular blogging tool. No messing around with database tables, settings or configuring Apache required.

As a test, I downloaded BitNami's instance of DocuWiki, an open source wiki aimed at people wanting to create documentation. After downloading the Mac package (it's available for Windows, Linux, and even Solaris) the installation took care of the Apache and PHP infrastructure and after a few prompts to cover usernames and the like I was up and running. It literally took less than two minutes.



While the upside of BitNami is the speed and ease of installing an application like a content management system, the downside is the lack of control you have to run these packages in a production environment. While this could be a great tool for prototyping, evaluating systems, and getting ideas up and running, I'm not convinced this is a great solution for real world customers.

Currently BitNami offers the following free infrastructure bundles:

* WordPress
* Joomla
* Drupal
* Roller
* Liferay
* MediaWiki
* phpBB
* Mantis
* Opina
* KTDMS
* Redmine
* Trac
* Subversion
* eZ Publish
* 10 Tracks
* Moodle
* Alfresco

All BitNami installers offered use open source software and are free to use. Most of the applications will run on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Solaris.

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