Take a look at this screenshot encountered when running the Drupal install for the secure, standard Drupal 4.7.4. This is yours truly trying to track down a runtime error after a relatively simple but still somewhat tortured install process. For interested readers do the MySQL install and then the Drupal install and then tell me which is better.
Drupal should come second to Joomla because Joomla has a better install process, roughly similar feature set – and a new install process for Joomla 1.5 that like WordPress and Menalto Gallery are highly automated and relatively foolproof.
Now why do I raise this point? Because the Redcoats are coming, the Redcoats are coming, the Redcoats are coming.
The Redcoats are Microsoft in the form of Office Live which might be better described as LAMPLights Out – because that is the intention of Microsofts free give-away offer:
Free – 1 Domain Name
Free -25 email addresses associated with that domain name and 2GB of space for each
Free -500MB of disk space for a website design
Free – 1 Microsoft Website Designer to create HTML-based websites
Free – 10GB of data transfer per month (serves a site with about 500,000 hits per month)
Free – online help
Free – Office 2007 Accounting Software
Free – Web support/tracking reports
Now compare this with what Google is offering. No web site, but similar mail support, no domain name and no website support goodies. Compare this with what Godaddy is offering for $5.99 a month on Windows Servers with 1 domain name, 10GB of total email and web space versus 50GB from Microsoft, and 250GB of transfers/month versus only 10GB for Redmond. In sum, Office Live Basics is not too shabby for free.
Now there is a number of provisos on Office Live Basics. First and foremost what do you own on the Microsoft Office Live website – the domain name ??? Your data and web page programming??? Your right to access and control that data 24/7 with appropriate back ups ?? Finally – for how long will this free offer at these feature levels last ??? If “perpetually free” IIS is any indication – 1-3 years tops.
Final proviso, I have dealt with a number of web hosters who have had these mission impossible maximums of 250GB of transfers per month or 100GB of diskspace – and many are doing that with virtual smoke and mirrors. They are relying on you not using 1/10th of maximum capacity. But if enough users/websites on shared machines get even 1/4 of the way there – its lights out and bad news for any decent availability and response time. Dont know if Office Live Basics (or Godaddy for that matter)are doing Virtual Space tricks.
Now the reason I suggest that Drupal may want to improve their install process – I saw the Office Live install and it was like Joomla 1.5 beta – highly automated, easy, and generally foolproof. So take that and the above Freebies as the first sign that Redmond is getting very serious about displacing LAMP/Linux in the SMB space. And the way they do that is by making it dirt simple for thr Small Business People to get in and get started solving a real business problem (getting a presence on the Web outside of MySpace or YouTube, can be very frustrating and/or frightening.
And Microsoft is attacking at a point of vulnerability – do businesses get what they consider to be good website services. Well if the Drupal install or the $7-15/month of a lot of LAMP web hosters for less than what Microsoft is giving away for free is any indication – watch out Linux/LAMPers – the Redmond Redcoats are coming to take away your business.