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PHP might have put the "P" in LAMP - the all open-source server stack - but on the desktop, it seems that those using PHP generally prefer the "W" to the "L."

In a recent study from Zend Technologies, forty two per cent of PHP programmers named Windows as their primary development operating system. Linux came second, with 38.5 per cent, while Mac's OS X was third on 19.1 per cent.

Zend did not say how many developers it spoke to, but called the December poll a "global survey" ranging from independent consultants to organizations with more than 5,000 employees.

Windows' lead and Linux's second-place position are turned around, however, on the server. When it comes to the deployment of PHP in a live, production environment, eighty-five per cent named Linux as their primary OS, with Windows a long back at 11 per cent. OS X scored two per cent.

The numbers are interesting given Microsoft has worked with PHP shop Zend since 2006 to improve the performance of PHP on Windows operating systems and servers. Microsoft's prime concern has been getting developers to deploy on Windows, because that's where Microsoft could make the serious money in the future.

But it seems that after four years work the vast majority of PHP applications are still being deployment on Linux servers at the expense of Windows.

The server-side applications being built are the sort where Microsoft would like Windows to feature as a player: 58 per cent are "company wide, business critical," with 16 per cent defined as "departmental, critical" applications and a further 16 per cent "departmental, non critical" applications.

While Windows has the edge over Linux when it comes to development, the race is made tighter by the existence of some very handy and powerful tools that work on both. Seventy per cent use Zend's Studio or Eclipse PHP Developer Tools, while 18 per cent use Vim. ®

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