Apache Week
Issue 85, 3rdOctober1997:

Copyright 2020 Red Hat, Inc

In this issue

Apache Status

Apache Site: www.apache.org
Release: 1.2.4 (Released 22nd August 1997) (local download sites)
Beta: None
Alpha: 1.3a1 (Released 23rd July 1997) (local download sites)

Bugs fixed in 1.3:

  • The proxy module, mod_proxy would send HTTP/1.1 responses to ftp requests by mistake. Because of this and the fact that no content-length header was being sent, the size of any download is unknown.
  • When Apache 1.3 is started it will now detach itself from the standard descriptors (stdin, stdout and stderr). This cures problems restarting Apache via crontab or when logged into the server using rsh.

Apache 1.2.4 is the current stable release. Users of Apache 1.2.3 and earlier should upgrade to this version. The next release will be 1.3. The first beta of 1.3 will be available around the first week of October. An alpha test release of 1.3 is available now for compilation and testing on Windows 95 and compilation and testing on Windows 95 and NT systems.

Patches for bugs in Apache 1.2.4 may be made available in the apply to 1.2.4 directory on the Apache site. Some new features and other unofficial patches are available in the 1.2 patches directory. For details of all previously reported bugs, see the Apache bug database and known bugs pages. Also many common configuration questions are answered in the Apache FAQ.

Development has slowed down over the last couple of weeks to prepare for the release of Apache 1.3b1. This release is expected around the first week of October.

Virtual Host fixes

Patches are being worked on that fix some of the problems with the current Apache virtual host configuration. Some of the problems were outlined in Apache Week issue 70. The most common difficulty occurs due to the order in which virtual hosts are selected when combined with the HTTP/1.1 Host: header.

New Apache Ports

Ports to two new platforms were submitted this week. The ports are likely to be incorporated into a later beta of Apache 1.3. The first port is for the new SCO operating system that is currently in beta test. Code-named Gemini, the new OS is a combination of SCO OpenServer 5 and SCO UnixWare 2.

The second port gives support for Atari MiNT. MiNT is a Unix-like OS for 16 or 32 bit Atari computers. MiNT is available from a number of distribution sites including funet.fi.

Changes to CGI buffering

CGI scripts in Apache 1.3 are now given an effectively un-buffered connection. This means that output from a CGI script will be sent to the client as it is received. In Apache 1.2 the only way to acomplish an un-buffered connection was to use "nph" (non-parsed header) scripts. nph scripts were previously unrecommended as they were not fully compatible with HTTP/1.1.

Un-buffered output has a number of uses. For example, if you have a CGI program that takes a long time to run, you can now send back a line or two to the user telling them to "please wait....". Alternatively a search engine can display results as it finds them. Most scripting languages (C, Perl and so on) have their own output buffers anyway so server performance should not be affected by this change. "nph" scripts are still available and are now identical to regular CGI except their headers are not parsed.

A Faster Apache

Hints for High Hit-Rate Sites in Apache Week issue 73 gave some tips on how to configure Apache 1.2 to get better performance.

Apache 1.3 has been tuned to improve performance and a document, Apache performance notes, is available which gives an in-depth technical look at the peformance of the Apache server and how to improve it. The guide concentrates mainly on Apache 1.3 and includes fairly detailed traces to show where most of the time taken to serve a document is spent.

Apache near 50% market share

The percentage of Internet servers using Apache or one of its derivatives is now over 49%, according to the October Netcraft Server Survey. The changes to the market share for each of the major servers are now relatively small (under 1%) each month. The Netcraft survey is published each month and is generated by an automatic poll of web sites that can be seen on the Internet. Just under 1.5 million sites responded to the October survey.

Apache in the News

Net Insider examines the September Netcraft survey results and reports that Apache Dominates Web Server Market. The article predicts that Apache's market share could suffer as the Microsoft IIS server becomes more popular. Apache 1.3 includes support for Windows NT (and Windows 95).