You are probably starting to hear people talk about “LAMP” or the “LAMP stack“. This is an acronym that means Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP. The P can also stand for Python and/or Perl.

LAMP is a very popular and powerful open source web application development and deployment system. Linux is the operating system, Apache is the web server, MySQL is the database server and PHP (and/or the other ‘P’ languages), with associated HTML and CSS, provide the interface and interactivity. This is amazing. With all of the resources that the big companies use for product development — literally billions of dollars and some of the brightest people on Earth — they haven’t created a solution as cool as LAMP. Open source, 1, commercial software, 0.

With the adaptation of LAMP, the economy has “lost the sale” in one very narrow sense, because companies aren’t laying out thousands of dollars to pay for commercial web deployment software. To build out a cluster of Microsoft servers is incredibly expensive. To roll out a LAMP cluster, by comparison, is cheap. The company spends less and gets more and part of the budget is deployed elsewhere, a serious competitive advantage. Now throw in the fact that companies like Apple and IBM are bundling LAMP in their operating systems. Every Mac comes with apache and mysql installed. These companies are leveraging open source, too. So LAMP and other cool open source projects create tremendous value in the economy.

Open source is fueling thousands of companies that are creating incredible value in the marketplace.