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Erowid's Favorite Software
The following is a list of the software used to build and the software we like best.

Server Software #
The software we run on erowid server and our development servers.

Simply the best, most reliable, and fastest web server available. Open Source, completely free, supports unbelievable amounts of modules and extra features. These guys deserve tons of money. Donate to the project and help out today.

PHP is an excellent webscripting language which has replaced Perl as our primary development language. Although it has some weaknesses compared to Java because its object-oriented programming and debugging are not as well done, it provides a quick way to get functioning systems up and running. With its good support of Perl Regex in 4.x, it has become a mature building language. Open source, free software.

Perl 5 has been a long time standard for all web programming. It is crazed, fast, powerful, and works on any platform. Cryptic. Open source, free software. Perl is now used primarily for maintenance scripts and processing rather than web software at Erowid.

MySQL is an excellent, lightweight SQL Database engine which has lacked some of the main features of the more robust SQL engines for quite a while. It is starting to become more mature and only has a few major features missing (which cause us no end to trouble). It is fast and has been around a long time. Open source, free software.

Amazing collection of tools and functions, we've been using this for 13 years and, well, it is a tool that everyone uses and hardly thanks. Occasionally annoying, some cryptic UI, but...

A new addition to the Erowid development world in the summer of 2004, thanks to Stu's amazing help. We are transitioning more tools to Tomcat / JSP / JSTL. Another amazing product from

Web Software #
Soon after it launched, Google became the best search web search engine because it was not soiled by purchased rankings and produced extremely fast results. As it has added usenet & image search, it has remained one of the most reliable, fastest, and most useful sites on the net. There are concerns that they may be too successful, with too much of the web dependent on them for listing. It is certainly better when there are more equal competitors and we look forward to other search engines surpassing google over time.

One current competitor that some of our users like is, but their results are very clearly inferior for many searches. An anti-google meta search engine which some people enjoy is We still love google, though, and could rant for hours about the cool things they've done.

Client Software #
The list of 'client software' is the software we use on our home development machines which we particularly like.

Erowid recently acquired a Mac OS X dual G4 tower after targeted donations to make sure we had a mac on hand. Of the main erowid crew client machines, we now have an iBook, a G4 tower (partially donated), two sony Vaio windows laptops (donated), a hand-assembled (Abit MB) windows XP tower, a Shuttle box running FreeBSD 4.10 (our dev server) and a Shuttle box running Suse Linux 9.1.

Windows #
What more is there to say. Absolutely required.

Although it is designed to be a Java IDE, it has some great CVS features and we are moving towards trying to use Eclipse as one of our base development platforms.

OS X Software #
In our small crew, we run two machines with OS X, apple's unix-based 1.0 new operating system.

Photoshop, InDesign
See windows descriptions above. Perhaps the only reason for us to have OS X is to have a unix that runs Adobe products.

Important and useful. JEdit is an open source code editor. Although it really needs to mature a bit, this is my favorite code editor on OS X. Preferred over BBEdit because of the tabbed interface and the search features.

Essential and decent. Although it is, as of May 6, 2003, only at 0.9 for the port to OS X, it is my favorite OS X irc client. I am not a fan of the zillion-windows style interfaces and x-chat keeps it all in one window with tabs. Pretty solid.

Truly world class email client for the person who lives in email. Really, really, too bad there is no native OSX client. Earth hates all the mail clients for OSX because they each lack some critical feature. Earth runs KMail under KDE-X11 on OSX, which is really klunky, but it is such a feature-rich client that is so keyboard friendly that he does not want to give it up. It is also -fast- compared to Thunderbird and Earth is almost considering switching to linux as my main desktop just to keep this as my main mail client.

Although it is designed to be a Java IDE, it has some great CVS features and we are moving towards trying to use Eclipse as one of our base development platforms.

GraphicConverter is a badly named image browser and editor. It is, in Earth's opinion, the best available graphics browser for OSX, which is not saying that much :) Compared to iPhoto and Photoshop CS's browser, it is fast and light. Does most of what I need. It can be a bit slow when it is trying to read/write thumbnails for large directories and the authors really need to improve the way they handle that so that the UI doesn't get sluggish when this is going on.