VSJ – November 2002 – Sounding Board

Council Member John Ellis, FIAP has a bone to pick with Microsoft. Surely shome mishtake?
Summer’s nearly over, the kids are back at school and the roads are jam-packed again with mothers dropping the little ones off, parking on double yellow lines or other convenient spots; a good time, I thought, to do some upgrades to the hardware and software.
So there I am upgrading my laptop to run Windows XP. It’s only a small laptop so XP Home should be enough for my needs. Off we go.
Install the OS, no problem.
Install Office, no problem.
Install VB 6. (Yes I know, but I have many years of components and customers who use them.)
Install Personal Web Server… ‘What do you mean it won’t work?’
It appears that PWS is no longer supported and if you want to develop any ASP then you must install IIS. So far as I can tell, Microsoft hasn’t been particularly forward in letting us know this, though.
Well, my laptop is only little and I just use it to update and test web pages locally prior to putting them back on the server in the office while I travel on the train etc. But no more! This gem means that to run ASP, I must install IIS and to do that I must run XP PRO. Maybe it stands for Professional Rip Off.
A Web search reveals that many other people have found the same problem. Some are trying to work round it by copying DLLs from friends’ servers to get IIS to run under XP Home – which seems pretty dangerous on several counts.
The only way I can see to solve the problem is to move to an alternative web server, many of which are free or shareware. Of course, they use different scripting languages, but most of these are just as simple once you are familiar with them (CGI/PERL/PHP).
Surely Microsoft must realise that to alienate the client base yet again is not the best way to keep existing customers or to attract future business. Many of the budding programmers of tomorrow use tools like PWS to cut their teeth on. It’s quick, easy and FREE. Now, though, they will have to use other systems and, in doing so, will create a skill set void around IIS.
Bill or Steve, if you are reading this, please reconsider and release a PWS XP that runs on all flavours of XP. Oh, and how about consulting people next time?
[Something you’d like to get off your chest? Email me (Robin Jones) at eo@iap.org.uk.]

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