September 1, 2004

Developer begets LAMP-based online financial package

Author: Tina Gasperson

The Adams-Blake company's is home to a cross-platform, Web-based financial system that came to be because of one programmer's frustration with Windows' instability and susceptibility to viruses.Jaya123 exists because Adams-Blake CEO Al Canton got tired of trying to run his small publishing house and software business on Windows. He was using and selling a standalone receivables program called Pub123, while at the same time printing and marketing niche publications like "The Complete Guide to Moving a Corporate Data Center" at $99 a pop. Canton said he was selling about 1,000 copies a year until recently.

Like other Windows users, Canton fell into the daily routine: download the latest anti-virus definitions, install, and reboot. Repeat. But then a particularly nasty run-in with the Nimda virus pushed him right off the Microsoft ledge. "I just did not have time anymore for the worms and viruses, as well as the constant instability of the Microsoft operating system," Canton said.

So he went to work, not only learning how to use Linux, but also how to administer a Linux system. He also created the Web-based program Jaya123, using LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) components.

Canton said he wrote Jaya123 to satisfy his own need for a receivables program, accessible from anywhere, that would run on Linux. He believes it is so good it's worth marketing to the rest of the world. Adams-Blake rolled out Jaya123 last January.

Canton started his journey to Linux with Mandrakelinux, running Win4Lin so he could still access his Windows-only applications. But that was a short-term solution. "Mandrake tends to rush out their products, and they leave a couple of bugs in them," he said.

After about a year of absorbing Linux through Mandrake, Canton switched to the serious stuff: Slackware. "Not recommended for first-time Linux users, but highly recommended for those with six months or more experience," Canton said.

He likes the flexibility and power that Slackware provides. "It ain't nearly as hard as everybody seems to make it out to be." Win4Lin was no longer a necessity, since Canton was able to find, or create, just about every application he needed for Linux.

Canton uses the KDE desktop on a couple of "very old" Gateway Pentium II systems, a year-old 1.2GHz Intel system, and a brand new Toshiba laptop. He calls KDE "a better Windows than Windows."

"All of our systems are dual-boot," Canton said, "but we never book to Windows. Well, the only time is when I have to do the taxes, because there is still no tax software that runs on Linux."

He gives his staff the option to use, or run Crossover Office in order to access Word or Excel on the Windows partition.

As for Jaya123, that's hosted on remote servers and backed up every 36 minutes in three different locations. Canton says he has almost 300 subscribers to the new service, which costs $14.95 per month. "Every day we get more and more people who hear about it and like it."

Click Here!