Apache Week
   Issue 16, 24th May 1996:  

Copyright 1996-2005
Red Hat, Inc.

In this issue


1.0.5 is the current stable public release (it is 1.0.3 plus a security 'fix'). The beta test version, 1.1b, is still at version 2. A number of bugs have been fixed in this version, so a new version (1.1b3) is expected soon for public testing.


Apache fails to start if DocumentRoot doesn't exist
If the DocumentRoot directory does not exist, Apache prints an error message and stops. This is normally useful behavour, because a document root should be present in most simple configurations. However, it can be a problem in some cases. For example, if a site has virtual hosts for its customers, the DocumentRoot settings will point into the customers' directories. If the customer accidently (or otherwise) removes their document root directory, and Apache is restarted, it will print the error and fail to start. It might be nice if the lack of the document root in a virtual host could be regarded as a warning instead of a fatal error. This is a possible enhancement for the next version (after 1.1).

Some SVR4 systems can lose data
On some systems (notably Dell SVR4, Esix, early Unixware and other SVR4/386 systems), some data at the end of document transmissions can be lost. This is because when Apache closes the socket, the operating system is not bothering to wait to send any unsent data. A workaround is to turn on the socket's SO_LINGER option, which causes the socket to remain open for a length of time. A fix for these operating systems will probably be in the next version.

Under Development

Perl module alpha release
A public alpha version of the eagerly-waited perl module has been released this week for testing. While the code is still in an alpha state, and so likely to contain bugs, it will give an indication of the enourmous speed inprovements that can be obtained on sites which make heavy use of perl for CGI scripts.

Cookies, cookies
When a CGI program sends multiple cookie headers (Set-Cookie:), Apache merges them into one HTTP header. It does this with all headers of the same name, since this is a standard part of the HTTP specification. Unfortunately, the Netscape cookie specification does not allow multiple cookies on one header, but does allow multiple Set-Cookie: headers. While this breaks the HTTP specification, Apache will probably be updated in a future to send multiple cookies on multiple header lines. Incidently, there is a new version of the cookie specification available in an Internet Draft which fixes the problem in the original documentation.

On the subject of cookies, the Apache cookies module (mod_cookies) is not needed to be able to use cookies in CGI programs. The cookies module is used to identify 'click streams' through a site, by analysing the cookie log (see the CookieLog directive).

... and finally

Apache in the News: The fact that Apache is the most-used Web server is reported in " Apache Leads Web Server Pack" in 20, May 1996 issue of Web Week. It also explains why users prefer Apache to other, commercial servers.

Netscape targets Apache: Apparently, some sites that have changed to Apache have been asked by Netscape for the reasons why. The Web Week article gives some hints: "It is free; it is fast; it is available in source code, not just a compiled binary; and it is easy to expand.".

Comments or criticisms? Please email us at editors@apacheweek.com