| 1) I anticipate using Open Source technologies so I don't need any licenses for producing, or letting the world use, my website, for this reason I'm dismissing .NET or JAVA technologies (plus the hosting charges are cheaper for Open Source) -- would you guys agree this is best? |
Java is open source and doesn't require a license. Licensing costs for something like .NET are probably not very significant in the grand scheme of things anyway, so I would not use that as a reason to rule it out.
| 2) I'm learning towards LAMP - is this still the best approach for developing a website? Would any of you advise going for WAMP (again the Windows hosting costs) as I'm wondering if there are main benefits for wamp? |
I would not advise using WAMP, primarily because the AMP part of it has strong roots in Linux and is easier to install and configure under Linux. If you use Windows as a server OS, you may as well go with IIS, MSSQL and ASP.NET instead of AMP.
| a) versions of 'L' Linux should I use? |
Hopefully the one you or your sysadmin knows best. CentOS and Ubuntu are both popular, depending on whether you prefer Redhat or Debian derived distros.
| b) verisions of 'A' Apache should I use? |
The most recent version. There is no reason to use anything else.
| c) should I use MySQL or PostgreSQL (I'm looking for a robust free to use Database with architecture close to SQL Server)? |
I haven't done much with PostgreSQL and I haven't done anything with MSSQL, but my guess is that PostgreSQL is more like MSSQL than MySQL is like MSSQL.
| d) should I use Perl, Python or PHP - I'm looking to use a language that is the future (i.e. maybe PHP was best five years ago but now, say, Perl has been bought by a big company it is the future - this is just a for instance)? |
As far as its use in building website backends, Perl is rapidly declining. PHP is currently the most popular and will likely remain so for at least another 5 - 10 years. However, I do not see PHP sticking around in the same way that C++ has. Something is going to replace it eventually, but nobody can give you anything other than a wild *** guess on what that will actually be.
Ruby is another contender to replace PHP, but I don't see that happening (ever). Everyone I have ever talked to who has built a website in Ruby thought it would be really cool at first but was pretty disillusioned with it by the time they finished. Admittedly I haven't talked to a lot of people who have built websites in Ruby though (2 or 3).