So, I went over the FAQ BEFORE posting the question. Now, I happen to think I am not too stupid. Here's how I interpreted it:

Server Fault is for Information Technology Professionals needing expert answers
related to managing computer systems in a professional capacity.

YUP. Founded three companies. Manage a team. Write code. Setup and administer workstations and servers (Win/Linux/Mac). About twenty computers and eight servers.

I think that qualifies for "Information Technology Professionals", whatever that is.

If your question is about...

Let's see...

Server and Business Workstation operating systems, hardware, software
and virtualization


Enterprise storage, backup, and disaster recovery


Network routing, switches, and firewalls


Operations, maintenance, and monitoring


So, this question (and many XAMPP/WAMP questions I see closed on SF) are, according to the FAQ, perfectly relevant. The FAQ does not state that SF is for enterprise-class technologies at all. And, while I understand that solutions like XAMPP have their failings and are NOT a good idea for production deployment, lots of "Information Technology Professionals" use this during development of non-trivial real-world professional projects.

I've seen a comment or two about XAMPP (and related) questions belonging in SuperUser.

Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about...

  - computer hardware
  - computer software
  - personal and home computer networking

Clearly we are not "computer enthusiasts" or "power users". And, this is not about personal and home computing. What's a "power user" anyway? Some guy who connects their computer to their TV?

These questions are about server software. Yes, last time I checked XAMPP is server software.

It isn't my intent to insult anyone, but one has to wonder if enterprise-level admins are taking over ServerFault and injecting a degree of elitism here.

XAMPP contains all of the technologies found in most production servers out there. That's certainly the case for shared hosting and virtual private hosting servers millions of sites use.

I have seen comments referring to "one-click LAMP stack installers" which, in my eyes, reveal a certain elitism or at least disdain for the technologies.

I remind you that these technologies include the very foundation of nearly every non-static site on the Internet: Apache, PHP and MySQL. The fact that these are easy one-click installs isn't any more relevant here than one-click activation of AWS resources.

Now, to be fair here. If ServerFault is about enterprise-level ("serious stuff", "the real deal") server administration please do the follwing:

  • Change the FAQ to reflect this
  • In fact, you might want to explicitly mention "one click LAMP stacks" as off topic to be clear
  • Delete all XAMPP/"one click LAMP stack" questions from SF in order to make it very clear that these do not belong here

I'd personally have no problems if this was the case. It currently isn't and the moderators who have chosen to smash all XAMPP/"one click LAMP stack" questions are doing this community and the professionals who come here for help and to help a huge disservice.

  • No ♦ moderators were involved in closing your question. – user9517 Dec 29 '12 at 18:19
  • Then something is broken because it should not have been closed. And, if no moderators closed the question it should not have been used to justify welcoming me by being banned from posting. I post something that clearly fits within the FAQ. No moderators are involved in closing it. I am banned from posting. The algorithm is broken. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 19:31
  • Nothing is broken. Members of the community with >3000 reputation have the privileges that allows them to vote to close, 5 such members exercised that privilege and closed your question Off Topic. – user9517 Dec 29 '12 at 20:04
  • Good-enough. Done. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 20:42
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    As I commented below, this is not about elitism or any other such nonsense. It's about doing systems administration the right way, which doesn't include *AMP installers. There is certainly no disdain for the LAMP technologies themselves, but rather the manner in which they are deployed (outside of a standard package updating system) and configured (very insecure) using these one-click installers. – EEAA Dec 29 '12 at 20:47
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    NO SIR. IT ABSOLUTELY IS ABOUT ELITISM. The FAQ does not say anything about the manner in which tools are deployed being a reason for a question NOT belonging in this list. Are you people reading what you are saying? You don't like *AMP packages and that is the only reason these questions are being bounced back and forth between SO, SF and SU mercilessly. To boot, there seems to be some contempt for the SO folks sending questions to SF. Barring anything else the FAQ provides the definition for this community and it does NOT, in any imaginable way exclude *AMP and other techs being down-modded – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 21:15
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    Cripes. I use MAMP extensively, and I'm sure others here do the same. XAMPP/MAMP/etc. are fine tools. To be used in development. They fit into the same class of applications as Eclipse or Visual Studio - they are developer tools and as such are off-topic here. Regarding SO, as mentioned elsewhere, they have a long history of migrating questions to SF that are off-topic here. In spite of many MSO discussions on the topic, they were still unable to grasp the topicality of SF, which is why the SO->SF migration path was removed. – EEAA Dec 29 '12 at 21:25
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    "they were still unable to grasp the topicality of SF". Probably because it isn't at all very clear and it leads to discussions such as this one. Don't fault them. Fault SF for not have really clear guidelines. Why does the XAMPP tag even exist if it is off-topic here? Remove it. Remove all the questions and answers on those topics. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 21:40
  • I came across this, which is brilliant in many ways: meta.serverfault.com/questions/23/… That seems to refer to an older version of the FAQ, which, in many ways, seems to have had clearer wording. If Jeff Atwood is referring to the FAQ I think it might have a little bit of weight. I really think you need to work hard at creating a solid definition of what SF is and is not. Then mercilessly remove tags (such as XAMPP) that are off topic and you'll have the community you want and visitors will have no doubt what it is about. Not the case today. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 21:44
  • @martin's - there are very rare occasions where, say, an XAMPP tag would be on-topic, say if a windows admin was trying to figure out how to automatically deploy XAMPP to his software developers. – EEAA Dec 29 '12 at 21:44
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    @martin's - you'll notice that the post you refer to is from 2009. That's an eternity in the life of an online community. Over time, it became clear that the '09 version of the FAQ was not adequate, and that we needed to clarify things. This led to several rounds of FAQ re-writing by the community. If you have suggestions on how the FAQ can be improved, we're all ears. – EEAA Dec 29 '12 at 21:48
  • Sure. I'd start with: SF is about Production Server software and Hardware and the Professionals who install, support and administer it. Such an opener in the FAQ would even prevent SF and other sites from migrating questions to SF. It defines the environment very tightly. Note that I don't and wouldn't have a problem with *AMP questions being closed summarily if SF was defined this way. How would I? Today, it is not. And, today, it is wrong to reject *AMP questions wholesale. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 22:07
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    To dig a little further. If you took my question and removed XAMPP from the equation, what was it about? It was about one machine, running Apache and several Virtual Hosts needing to be visible from a whole pile of other machines inside a private network without an internal DNS server. Really, that's what the question was about. Forget that XAMPP was used to install Apache. Get my point? The issue had to do with how to, under those conditions, setup firewalls and hosts files. Remove XAMPP and the associated stigma from the equation and you should see that this was definitely on-topic. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 22:10
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    @martin's it is up to you to remove the emphasis on XAMPP. The whole "professional capacity" thing is about being at the same technical level. If a developer has badly screwed up his configuration, does not know how to configure DNS for his web hosting and has trouble determining if Windows Firewall is blocking traffic, then the gap is just too wide to allow for a single, concise answer. And if it is, the question does not belong to this Q&A site. Of course, if you are the aforementioned developer, you would not know. But this is where the community tells you by casting close votes. – the-wabbit Jan 2 '13 at 13:01

Like yourself most people who come here with XAMPP,WAMP,MAMP and other one click *AMP stacks are developers and these are being used as development tools. If you look at the Stackoverflow FAQ it says

...but if your question generally covers …

  • software tools commonly used by programmers

… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!

So we consider Stackoverflow the correct place to ask questions about this kind of environment.

Furthermore, you particular installation is on Windows Vista which is a client OS which is not an enironment we support as a server.

As an interesting aside, we almost never get anyone coming to Server Fault with questions regarding the similar Microsoft technologies because for some reason they are obviously developer tools whereas the equivalent *AMP are strangely, considered servers.

  • I'd be more than happy to migrate these questions, but SO has a disturbing tendency to reject them. I haven't yet figured out why, since they're pretty obviously on topic there. – Michael Hampton Dec 29 '12 at 18:32
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    @MichaelHampton StackOverflow was cut off from migrating stuff to us since they have no understanding of how we define "...in a professional capacity". As far as they're concerned, these questions are below the threshold of topicality for SO and squarely in our's. This is why we send them to U&L or SU when we decide to send things. – sysadmin1138 Mod Dec 29 '12 at 18:35
  • @sysadmin1138 Hm, I just did a few searches on mSO but couldn't find any discussion of this specific issue. Perhaps it's time to bring it up? – Michael Hampton Dec 29 '12 at 18:43
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    Nice one. So these questions are bounced back and forth between SO, SF and SU and nobody wants them. They certainly don't belong in SU. Read the FAQ. They probably don't belong in SF either. Read the FAQ there. They squarely belong in SF. They are server questions. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 19:21
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    Just because moderators look down upon the stack and don't like it (as @sysadmin1138 revealed in his own answer) it doesn't mean that they don't belong here. The SF FAQ does not say that SF is for enterprise-class technologies. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It sure feels like you guys (moderators) are injecting your own bias into this and you are damaging SF in the process. I founded three companies, manage a bunch of developers, have over two dozen workstations and, yes, about eight "real" servers and yes, we use XAMPP for internal testing and development all over the place. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 19:23
  • Being that there are so many closed XAMPP/etc. questions on SF, either re-open them or make it clear that these questions do not belong here. How? Delete them. Remove the relevant tags. Update the FAQ to explicitly exclude that set of questions. Why am I worked-up about this? Because I got banned from posting for exactly that very-much-on-topic question and, in principle, it really bugs the hell out of me because the root cause of the closing of these questions is nothing short of elitism. The FAQ does not support the idea of rejecting content because the moderators don't like the tools. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 19:28
  • "Furthermore, you particular installation is on Windows Vista which is a client OS which is not an enironment we support as a server." That's brilliant. So, when I run, say, CentOS (or take your pick) inside a virtual machine running on, say 64 bit Vista, that is not "supported" here? That's nonsense. Again, is SF only about tools and software the moderators have blessed? It's OK if that is the case. Just please update the FAQ to reflect it so otherwise-intelligent people will leave you alone. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 19:38
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    @martin's: It's not nonsense - it's just not what we support. – user9517 Dec 29 '12 at 20:05
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    @martin's You're laboring under a misconception that tripped us up. The FAQ is merely the welcome pamphlet we pass new people, it isn't the definitional document that sets in stone what's topical; that's according to StackExchange staff. We keep the definitional stuff in here: faq. – sysadmin1138 Mod Dec 29 '12 at 20:51
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    This guy seems to think the FAQ is important: meta.serverfault.com/questions/23/… and, funny enough, according to his not *AMPP questions ARE on-topic. Anyhow, I'm done. You can have your little club back. Continue as you were. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 21:46
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    @martin's - you're taking things completely out of context. Please read my comments about XAMPP being developer tools. If you have something constructive to add here, please do so, we'd love to hear it. – EEAA Dec 29 '12 at 21:53

There is some history here. The overall discussion of What to do with XAMPP/MAMP/WAMP questions happened here on meta.sf last year. We recently had a straight up question on the main-site that covered it: Why not use a WAMP stack?

Which also covers XAMP.

The core of our collective dislike of *AMP installers has to do with their focus: ease of installation. To make a single installer, they deliberately compromise certain other very important to production items like patchability and customizable secure config.


And, while I understand that solutions like XAMPP have their failings and are NOT a good idea for production deployment, lots of "Information Technology Professionals" use this during development of non-trivial real-world professional projects.

You're missing one of the nuances surrounding "...in a professional capacity" in the opening statement. How we interpret that to mean is, "In production, supporting the service's normal production workload." This is why "during development" earns questions Off Topic closes.

  • I strongly disagree with you. This is your chosen interpretation of "in a professional capacity". There's a vast stretch between those words and "In production, supporting the service's normal production workload." If you want SF to be about that, please lobby for a change in the FAQ. Until then, you don't get to substitute your sense of reality for what you imagine the FAQ needs to say. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 19:13
  • Just picked up another nuance: "our collective dislike of *AMP installers". So, SF is about what you like? If people use tools you don't like professionally these tools don't belong in SF? Please update the FAQ to reflect that as well. SF questions have to be about tools the moderators like. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 19:16
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    @martin's - in a way, yes, it is about what SF likes, in that we have a strong like of doing things the right way (where right includes things like security, patching, maintainability, traceability, etc.). One-click LAMP installers are surely nice as a developer's tool (which is their stated goal), but using them in production is most definitely not the right way to do things. – EEAA Dec 29 '12 at 20:42
  • Who the heck is talking about using them for production. My question and a myriad of other questions on the subject have nothing whatsoever to do with using them on production. Is SF ONLY about software used on live production systems? If so, update the FAQ. That would pretty much define it, wouldn't it? Until then you can't exclude *AMPP juse 'cause in the elite world of live production server folk it is considered trash. It is a legitimate question about using a server tool (Apache) in the context of a professional networked environment. Anyhow, I'm done. I have work to do. – martin's Dec 29 '12 at 21:49

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