BitNami: Easy To Install Open Source Applications

May 21, 2008 | Tags:
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The BitNami Project has been created to help spread the adoption of freely available, high quality, open source web applications. BitNami aims to make it easier than ever to discover, download and install open source software such as document and content management systems, wiki, blogging software and more collaborative software.

More and more people are adopting open source software not only due to the minor cost but also because of the possibilities of customization the open source software offers. An important area of open source software development is focused on web applications. Web applications are used to provide multi-user environments where the user is not chained to a specific machine but he and other users can access the (remote) application through the web browser. This reduces the total cost of ownership and is easier to maintain than separate desktop applications. Unfortunately, the main problem the user faces when installing a web application is that usually the installation and configuration of these applications is not an easy task. Web applications are most of the time not self contained and require a web server, a database and a runtime parser (php, java, ruby, python, …) to be up and running. On Unix platforms the complexity is even greater as the installation of the servers and runtime can involve compiling and a lot of dependency issues to resolve.

This is the point where BitNami comes into play.

BitNami Stacks are built with one goal in mind: to make it as easy as possible to install open source software.

A BitNami Stack is a single file installer which is completely self­ contained and includes all the runtime dependencies the application needs. This allows you to try out almost any popular open source application in just a few clicks. No more dependency solving, no more compilation nor configuration…just Click and Run!

You don’t necessarily need to be an open source beginner to enjoy BitNami. As a well experienced system administrator you can also benefit from BitNami, just by the simple fact that you will save lots of time installing the latest hot new Wiki. Are you disappointed with the application you just tried? No problem, just run the BitNami uninstaller and your system will be as it was before. Since it is really easy to use, it is ideal for quickly setting up testing and development environments.

Currently BitNami supports applications written in PHP, Java, Python, Ruby and Jruby. A complete list of all applications (which can be downloaded freely by the way!) is available here. Among them are for example KnowledgeTree, Mantis, Drupal, Dokuwiki and phpBB together with many other blogging, bug-tracking, CMS, ECM, wiki’s, etc. applications.

Don’t worry about your operating system not being supported, as we provide Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and even Solaris installers!

As an example we stepped through the installation of the Joomla! Stack on Windows. The installation process is similar for all BitNami installers, even if they are based on different technologies or if you are installing them in a different platform. Some of them are focused on developers so during the installation process you may be asked to input a little more information to configure the stack for a development environment. You can find more information in the Readme file that it is included in the installation.

The installation process of a BitNami Stack is so simple that you can’t even imagine how many time you just saved compared to installing all the required programs and dependencies by yourself! If you want to discover it, just take a look into the graphic overview below for the main base stacks in BitNami.

The operating system lies in the very bottom of the stack, while the application is at the top. Between them, all the needed dependencies are installed. The blue coloured components are included in all the stacks, while the green may or may not be bundled. For example, BitNami LAMPStack, which is a PHP based stack, installs Apache, MySQL, PHP and phpMyAdmin, while in BitNami Drupal Stack the Drupal application is also included.

PHP based BitNami Stack

A Python developer can enjoy the BitNami Django Stack that bundles this powerful framework for Python development with a complete environment with the Python runtime, the MySQL database server and the Apache HTTP server to run her Python web applications.

Python based BitNami Stack

BitNami also commits with Ruby lovers and after installing the BitNami RubyStack you will find a configured, ready to use environment with Apache, MySQL, Rails and a number of extensions such as Mongrel and ImageMagick.

Python based BitNami Stack

Some of the more attractive stacks for developers that you can find in BitNami are those based on Project Management applications like Trac (a python application) or Redmine (a ruby application). Together with one of these management applications, we bundle the Subversion version control system for your convenience.

In BitNami you’ll also find some of the most important open source web applications based on Java like Roller. The BitNami Roller Stack provides an easy as cake installation of this popular Java blogging system. In case you already have Java installed on your system, you can choose to download the “no-jdk” versions which do not include a Java kit. Although if you wish to try a stack independent from the rest of your system, we advice you to download the complete version.

Python based BitNami Stack

We are constantly working on new stacks so you can easily discover new applications that fit your needs. Which one would you like to try first?

For comments or suggestions, please post at the following topic on the forums