I started typing this as a response to this blog entry and then decided that I was investing a little too much of myself into the response... so here goes.

The original question was about "how to install Virtual Server, install its VSWebApp.exe component, without IIS ever being installed" because the user wants to run Virtual Server, re-use its VSWebApp.exe, but does not want to run it on IIS. Thus, the user viewed any additional non-technical requirements as "bundling".

Well, I do not think it is bundling. Is the glass half empty or half full? Why can't we all be tolerent and simply get along?

From my perspective, Microsoft only tested that same product against IIS and only supports running on IIS by-design. If the requirement of IIS is not fixed, then I consider that a bug. Now, if the product was designed to support other web servers as well as Commandline usage, you can bet that the requirements will change for VSWebApp.exe such that independent installation is possible. That is the meaning of design and support.

As an analogy, suppose you really like to drive a Porche sports car, and you really want to save on gasoline since it is getting expensive these days. Just because you want to save on gasoline does not mean that you can question why the Porche does not come with an ethanol conversion kit or that the car is badly designed to require gasoline. If you want to save on gasoline, then either figure out a way to tinker with the car to purr and rev without gasoline or buy a car that naturally saves on gasoline. The car is not "bundled" with gasoline any more than it is "bundled" with its steel bolts. You can't complain that you cannot swap out the steel bolts with aluminum ones to lower the weight and improve gas mileage. Oy, it's a conspiracy between the auto manufacturer and gasoline providers! ;-)

Actually, I think that we are simply disagreeing over opinions in a very self-centered way - there is no right/wrong here - it is all about what makes sense for you:

  • Since Microsoft owns Virtual Server, it has the right to decide what combinations are allowed, but it also has the responsibility to support those combinations
  • Since everyone owns Apache, anyone can decide the combinations, and no one has the responsibility to support those combinations

Both are viable options, and there is nothing wrong with either choice. Some people like tinkering, assembling things together, and supporting it themselves because they can. Many people like having a packaged ride because it is simpler and does what they want. I simply accept that people are all different, have different needs, and make different choices... because the same freedom to choose a la carte is also the same nightmare from a support perspective. No sustainable organization will provide guaranteed support without restrictions; you decide whether the restrictions are worth the support.

Personally, in this case, I think one should put aside one's prejudice and install IIS6 on Windows Server 2003 (available for free evaluation) and use it to extract VSWebApp.exe. Installing IIS6 is not exactly a bad thing - I would argue that it is certainly equal if not better than Apache (you can find my other blog entries on this), so by all means, have fun tinkering. :-)

Good luck,

//David