It appears Micro$oft is a little worked up over the spread of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/Python/PHP) platform for web applications and internet solutions. Monopolistic capitalism and giving things away for free seem to be conflicting interests, it is certain that the cost of development tools for Micro$oft-based web applications is prohibitive to a lot of people. For example to get up and running with Windows Server 2003, Visual Studio and SQL Server would have previously set you back a couple grand- compared to LAMP which is free and perhaps more importantly also open source.
So what do M$ do? The nice people in Redmond have decided to give away its .NET development environment for free, dubbed “Express” editions. This includes Visual Studio 2005 in an Express edition along with SQL Server. This is obviously to encourage more people to the M$ view of the web and of course expand their already extensive marketplace foothold in the wider computing community. The question that remains is which do you choose? And why. The reason not to go M$ on your website’s ass is that it is still a black box technology. Open source has thousands if not millions of enthusiasts and evangelists who work for technology’s sake and not money, this enthusiasm among the open source counterparts has lead to a very fully developed technology and a tried and trusted platform. This is one market M$ will unlikely monopilise anytime soon.