XAMPP, the new LAMP hotness
XAMPP is an easy to install web server distribution containing Apache, MySQL, PHP and Perl. It claims to be a snap to use and install. After I got through clicking like 20 times to find the actual file download link on the XAMPP site (hosted at sourceforge), which irritated me a bit, the process got a bit better. You can download three different versions of the file, the installer (32MB), the zip file (86MB), or the self-extracting executable (28MB), all with MD5 checksums. The software package you get with this download includes these fine modules: Apache HTTPD 2.2.3, MySQL 5.0.24a, PHP 5.1.6 + 4.4.4 + PEAR + Switch, MiniPerl 5.8.7, Openssl 0.9.8c, phpMyAdmin 188.8.131.52, XAMPP Control Panel 2.3, Webalizer 2.01-10, Mercury Mail Transport System for Win32 and NetWare Systems v4.01a, FileZilla FTP Server 0.9.18, SQLite 2.8.15, ADODB 4.91, Zend Optimizer 3.0.1, XAMPP Security. The full install on my Windows machine ate up about 218MB of hard disk space, which is quite good for all that software in one shot. I found myself as happy as a kid with a 6LB. box of chocolates and no one else around. Luckily, I didn't have to know anything about the guts of the programs running, and XAMPP even offered to install and run all the services I needed, which it also succeeded at starting, which is a rare thing for all of them to work on the first try. Many times these LAMP-like installs go awry in some way, but XAMPP looks to be in control in this regard. At first I thought, oh great, all I need is one more LAMP to install and put up with, but honestly, it was the easiest install and start-up I have ever done. Most enjoyable indeed. If your LAMP needs an upgrade, XAMPP is a new light bulb.