I can build Health Care Dot Gov Faster and Cheaper with LAMP

I think ABC News mentioned that the system government health care website cost 400 million to implement. I heard other reports of three hundred and fifty million. If they used the open source LAMP software (i.e. Google Wiki article – it’s Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), it would be easy to add additional servers to a server farm… I would be happy to do this and hire the right people to build and debug it. I’ll keep whatever is left from the 350 – 400 million.

PHP Rock Stars
PHP Rock Stars (Photo credit: RichardBowen)

I heard that the program team only had 2 weeks to test the system. They did request several months. I have to agree with the programming representatives. Two weeks is not enough time to test a system that is used in several states and also the federal level.

I still insist that you can run a LAMP (i.e. Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) combination much lower that 400 million dollars. In fact, if you gave me a budget of 400 million, allowed me to build it upon LAMP and hire my own experts – it will cost far less and be much sounder and bug free. I understand that Yahoo runs on MySQL databases. How often has that crashed? And I would also be able to have support contracts in place, to resolve any open source issues.

But they hired a firm with the name “federal’ in it. I wonder if they farmed things out to India and 3rd world countries and kept the profits for themselves?

Let’s look at a definition here from LAMP definition 1

“LAMP stack is a popular open source web platform commonly used to run dynamic web sites and servers. It includes Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Python/Perl and is considered by many the platform of choice for development and deployment of high performance web applications which require a solid and reliable foundation.”

The underlying is mine.

Let’s look at another definition at LAMP definition 2.

“Short for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, an open-source Web development platform, also called a Web stack, that uses Linux as the operating system, Apache as the Web server, MySQL as the RDBMS and PHP as the object-oriented scripting language. Perl or Python is often substituted for PHP. “

While they say you can substitute Perl or Python for PHP, I would choose the scripting languages in this order:

  • PHP
  • Python
  • Perl

I have worked with all three in the past. This is the order I would choose, with PHP being the scripting language of choice.

I would also pick a commercial implementation of LAMP, such as Ubuntu or Red Hat. And I would do things like buy the MySQL enterprise edition at MySQL website.

Image representing Wappalyzer as depicted in C...
Image by None via CrunchBase

How many screens are in the site? How can they justify the huge price tag? I decided to plug the site into Alexa on October 25, 2013, at Alexa. It mentioned that the daily page view per visitor is 6.49, the bounce rate is 20 per cent and the average time on site is 6 minutes and 7 seconds. I also notice some traffic from India and Canada, leading me to suspect these two countries host the developers.

If you go to Wappalyzer, they have browser extensions that tell you the software running – at least, on the front end. For example, at Turnkey LAMP Stack – Web Stack (MySQL) , you can see they run Debian and PHP. But at government health care website, I only see Apache, the back bone java script framework, and JQuery, and Optimizely.



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