Microsoft Launches Open Source Web App Installer

By Josh Catone

A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft released their Web Platform Installer (Web PI), a free downloadable application that installs and configures their entire web platform stack. The application installs the latest versions of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, IIS7.0 and Extensions, IIS FastCGI, Visual Web Developer 2008, SQL Server 2008 Express, SQL Server Management Studio, ASP.NET MVC and Silverlight Tools. The idea is that the Web PI makes it easier for for developers to install the entire Microsoft web stack and then stay up-to-date with the latest releases.

But what good is a web platform without applications? So this week Microsoft launched the Web Application Installer, a companion tool that automatically installs and configures a number of widely used open source and community web applications. The app initially will install Graffiti, DotNetNuke, WordPress, Drupal, OSCommerce, and phpBB. It downloads the latest version of the application direct from the vendor.

According to David Lowe of the Windows server team, more applications will be added to the Web AI app in the future.

In some respects, Web AI reminds me of the cPanel installer Fantastico. Microsoft has taken the heavy lifting out of installing and configuring applications to work on their web platform stack, and makes doing things like installing phpBB or setting up WordPress, for example, a matter of a single click.

As Matt Asay points out, Web AI doesn’t make Microsoft a distributor of these open source apps, since they’re being downloaded from public source code repositories, but it is pretty close. And that’s a departure from Microsoft’s stance on open source software in the past.

  • darksystem

    ill give it a try.


  • I think this is great. MS takes a ton of slack because of their rep, but they are making some positive steps forward…

    God knows that if Apple did something like this they would be praised by all at leading the way….

    Just my thoughts

  • Scruffy

    Why bring Apple into this?

    Also, MS deserve the flack (not slack!!) because of their reputation. If you think they have learned their lesson in anything then you have not been keeping up with the news regarding their patent threats to Linux, OOXML standardisation, attempting to take control of ODF etc. They also have not paid their fine from the EU – which is what, 4 years old? They have also not fully complied with the US DoJ decision, which is what, 7 years old?

    This positive step forward, as you call it, can be considered the first step of Embrace Extend Extinguish – the embrace step – of Open Source software by making OSS look only viable on Windows computers. The next step is to extend it, and this could be closer than you think considering they may now be submitting stuff to Apache. Their aim may not be to extinguish OSS although this would be possible if they can include Windows only stuff containing patents.

  • Anonymous

    Why bring Apple into this?

    Free speech? Right to expression? Or are those two only applicable when being critical of Microsoft? :-)

  • roosevelt

    I am bit surprised by Microsoft’s move, and quite happy as well. I am afraid, CPanel might have some competing in the market if everyone decides to switch ;) I, for instance, will surely try it out.

  • Jim Boulton

    More about SQL Server Management Studio etc. here…

  • Jim Boulton
Get the latest in Front-end, once a week, for free.