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Partying for PHP

In the fall of 1994, RASMUS LERDORF had a problem that seems simplistic by today's high-tech standards: he wanted to design a program that would detect when a company viewed a résumé he'd posted on the Internet. So Lerdorf, a self-described techno geek from Greenland, decided to write his own program. The result was PHP, or personal home page tools, which today is used to craft about a third of the Internet's web sites. Almost all of Yahoo!'s main page was built with PHP, which acts as an interface between webpages and databases where pictures and text are stored. "PHP is the glue between the front end and the back end," Lerdorf, 36, explains. This summer is the 10th anniversary of PHP's original release date, prompting parties among its champions in Quebec, Germany and Lerdorf's Fremont home, where he drank champagne with friends and served chocolate cake. The shocker for many will be that Lerdorf has never made a dime off his creation. He released the first version on a Usenet group, then PHP eventually wound up in the open-source community, where it mushroomed as more programmers relied on it for shortcuts to solve their own web-based problems. Now it's used by NASA—go figure! The software's future is boundless, Lerdorf says, though permanently tied to the Internet. "Wherever the web goes, PHP will go," he says.

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From the August 17-23, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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