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Of course, for real openness—lin the traditional OSI sense of the term openness, rather than the Microsoft-defined meaning of the term—lJava on one of the 'nixes (Linux or UNIX) is the platform of choice, while the most open Web server is of course Apache, which has the added benefit of being Open Source. Even within a Microsoft environment, though, it's possible to increase openness (interoperability) by using standards such as XML for passing data between software layers or using ODBC/JDBC to access the database (so that different databases can be used at the back end if needed).

It's important that the openness and interoperability of the database engine itself is not forgotten—lfor example, Microsoft SQL Server will only run on a relatively small number of platforms compared to Oracle or Sybase, which run on all the main UNIXes as well as Microsoft platforms.

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