FileMaker was way ahead of the curve when they offered FileMaker Server 5.5 for Linux. From what I understand that resulted in a very, very small percentage of total sales. Even today, most FileMaker developers have little interest in a Linux based solution and I feel that much of this 'lack of interest' is because many developers have not really thought about it...
Reasons to offer a Linux version of FileMaker Server
- Faster... Linux requires less processor and RAM than MacOS X or Windows Server, thus identical equipment running these three operating systems- the Linux based machine would have more available RAM and CPU for FileMaker services
- Less expensive (free)... MacOS X Server and Microsoft Windows Server are expensive ( often $1,000+) and in most cases in a FileMaker deployment the majority of the 'additional features' which these system offer are 'tunred off' as recommended by 'best practices'
- More Secure... the fact that many Linux distributions are so 'stripped down', there is much less code to hack
- Internet standard... vmWare, Citrix, Brocade, and thousands of other vendors are selling 'appliances' based on Linux (largely for the reasons cited above)
Why did it fail before?
- hard to install- many FileMaker developers wouldn't have a clue of how to install/ troubleshoot/ maintain
- many users didn't understand the advantages
- it did not have the current level of industry support
What would it take?
I am not an application developer, but from what I understand a couple of (smart) developers have managed to get the MacOS X version of FileMaker Server to run under Linux. This implies to me that the differences between these two operating systems are relatively small in regards to how the FileMaker Service works. I've also noted that our phone system (which is Linux based) was offered in several 'pre-packaged' images, so whether we wanted a vmWare virtual machine, a HyperV image, or an ISO installer, etc.; anyone could install both OS and the 'applicance' software with little knowlege. I have witness many other appliances which are offered in this fashion. Another advantage of this model is that since the OS and FileMaker files are installed together that each system would be practically identical and would be esaier to troubleshoot. These system could be shipped with a very limited interface. Other than the SAT tool, the server would only really need an interface to set IP address and a few other options.
For anyone who wants to save money on hardware, RAM, and OS license costs; this seems like an logical direction. The fact that so many vendors are offering there server products in this fashion gives validity that the industry is much more receptive to this type of server than in late 1999 when FileMaker 5 was introduced.
What do you think?
I'm I dreaming that FileMaker will repeat it's venture into Linux. Certainly, if FileMaker offered a Linux version, it would cost them some resources to test, support, and deploy; however, on a low-end machine saving $500 to $1000 is significant and I can't think that wouldn't help their overall sales. Would any of you consider a Linux based FIleMaker server or a 'FileMaker appliance'?