In this issue
Some readers subscribed to the text version of the Apache
Week mailing list received the HTML version of issue 97. This
was caused by one particular subscriber whose mail system was
setup to relay mail based on the To: address in the headers
(mail relays should always use the address in the mail
"envelope", not the header). Like all other mailing lists,
Apache Week uses the address of the list in its To: field, so
this user's mail system sent the message back to the list.
The list is configured to prevent mail from subscribers going
out onto the list, but in this case the mail was from the
user's machine, not the user themselves.
The user in question was on the HTML version of the list.
However because of the way that the Apache Week headers are
configured, when the mail was relayed back from their site it
was sent out to the text list. Starting from this issue, the
headers are configured to ensure that the lists are kept
separate. The user involved and their connectivity provider
are both aware of what happened and have fixed the problem.
If you did not receive the text version of Apache Week issue
97 (dated 9th January 1998), you can obtain it by:
Getting it via mail by sending a message to
firstname.lastname@example.org containing the text
get apacheweek 98-01-09.txt (note: send the
index apacheweek command to get a list of all
the back-issues available by mail)
We have not altered the subscriber lists for either the HTML or
text versions of Apache Week at all. If you subscribed to the
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subscribed to the "apacheweek-html" list you will get the HTML
version (suitable for reading in any HTML-enabled mail reader).
To unsubscribe from the apacheweek list, send a message to
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To unsubscribe from apacheweek-html, the contents of the
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Apache Site: www.apache.org
Release: 1.2.5 (Released 5th January 1998)
Beta: 1.3b3 (Released 20th November 1997)
Apache 1.2.5 is the current stable release. Users of Apache
1.2.4 and earlier should upgrade to this version since it
fixes a number of bugs and potential security problems. The
next major release will be 1.3. A beta test release of 1.3 is
available now for both Unix and Windows 95/NT systems.
Bugs in 1.3b4
These bugs have been reported in 1.3b3 and are either not
fixed, or have not been reproduced by the Apache developers.
TABs or multiple spaces in CustomLog formats
get converted to a single space.
Bugs fixed in 1.3b4
These bugs have been found and fixed in 1.3b4.
Because of the major differences between Windows and Unix,
these are separated into bugs which affect Windows systems
only, and other bugs (which may affect Windows as well). Unix
users can ignore the bugs listed in the Windows section.
Output from CGI programs is buffered within Apache. This is
because Windows does not support non-blocking output to
sockets using the normal (BSD) sockets interface.
Apache goes into an infinite loop if the number of threads
set by ThreadsPerChild is greater than 64.
Some unnecessary memory allocation has been removed.
If mod_speling found an ambiguous URL, it
would return a list of choices containing invalid links to
the actual files.
Removed warnings when compiling on SVR4 systems.
Apache now compiles on Siemens Nixdorf BS2000-OSD/POSIX
mainframes which use the EBCDIC charset (instead of ASCII).
This might make it easier to port to othe EBCDIC systems as
Apache uses a case-sensitive match to determine whether to
use basic authentication. The word "basic" has to be given
by the client as "Basic" (not, for example, "basic" or
If a HeaderFile contains plain text (not
HTML), Apache outputs the <PRE> tag before the
preamble instead of after it.
Patches for bugs in Apache 1.2.5 may be made available in the
to 1.2.5 directory on the Apache site. Some new features
and other unofficial patches are available in the 1.2
patches directory (these may not apply cleanly to 1.2.5).
For details of all previously reported bugs, see the Apache
bugs pages. Many common configuration questions are
answered in the Apache FAQ.
Development has slowed down to prepare for the release of
Apache 1.3. During the beta release cycle Apache is in a
"feature freeze" where no major new features will be added.
Giving Directives on the Command Line
From the next beta of 1.3, it will be possible to give
directives on the command line. The -C option
gives a directive to execute before reading the
configuration files (httpd.conf, etc), and -c
gives a directive to execute after reading the
configuration files. Both of these can be given multiple
times to specify multiple directives, but sections (such as
<VirtualHost> cannot be used.
These options were added to enhance support for the mod_perl module. It will
now be possible to configure Apache completely within perl,
without using configuration files at all, using:
httpd -C "PerlModule Apache::httpd_conf"
This would cause mod_perl's PerlModule directive
to be executed before any configuration files are read.
Fixing Netscape Multiple Requests
A bug in Netscape Navigator can cause it to repeatedly
request the same GIF file. This occurs when an animated GIF
contains a loop and when it has an expiry date. Navigator
will request the GIF every time around the animation loop,
even if the GIF file came with an expiry date sometime
in the future. This bug was first reported in Summer 1996,
but it is still in the latest versions of Navigator (4.02).
A patch is in progress to work around this behaviour. The
workaround is to remove the Expires header from
GIFs when the client is a buggy version of Navigator (i.e.
versions 1 through 4).
Various recent press reports have incorrectly described the
licence conditions for using Apache. In addition, some users
are under the impression that Apache is covered by the GNU
General Public Licence (GPL). This article will attempt to
clarify this issue.
Apache is free. This does not mean, of course, that it
is free from copyright and licence, nor does it mean that it
is totally free of all associated costs, such as disk space
costs. Because the use of Apache is restricted by a licence,
it is not public domain. Since it is free, Apache is
often described as "freeware". But it might be more
appropriate to regard Apache as just like any other
commercial software, except that it costs nothing to buy.
Apache is not shareware. The term "shareware" is not a
term normally applied to Unix software. It is widely used to
describe personal computer software that is distributed at
low cost, and where the user can try it before they must pay.
Because of the low-cost distribution, many small companies
and individuals distribute their software as shareware.
However, there is essentially no difference between
"shareware" and "commercial" software -- you are expected to
pay for both. Today, many software providers make their
software available for testing before purchase -- including
both Microsoft and Netscape -- so their software could also
be described as "shareware".
Apache is not covered by the GPL
licence. The GPL would prevent Apache's use in third
party products which did not themselves provide source code.
People can build Apache into their products (either
commercial or free) and there is no requirement for the
source to be provided with these products. (The licence does
place restrictions on people who use Apache code, but these
apply to advertising and documentation, not the use of the
code itself). Incidently, the GNU project has a list of
software categories (free, commercial, copyleft, etc) the
might be of interest on their
site. Note that GNU uses "free" in relation to continued
availability of source code, not cost.
While the above attempts to simplify the issue, in practise
it is more complex. For example, there are commercial and
shareware products that come with no support, which is often
associated with free products. Similarly, some commercial
software is available for free, and some free software (such
as Apache) is viably competing with traditional commercial
Week issue 96 we reported on a story in ZD Net's Internet
Magazine that incorrectly described Apache. It also featured
a Zona Research survey that gave Apache an 8% share of the
Internet server market. The author of this story has replied,
Into Hot Air: Online Editor Albert Pang Examines Debates over
Apache's Market Share, Understated or Otherwise.
This article is spread over several pages, and features a
number of reactions from readers. While there are still some
dubious assertions -- such as more Zona Reseach figures that
claim that 52% of Internet servers are today running on NT --
the most serious issue surrounds how to describe Apache. To
help clarify this, we have described the Apache licence
above. The article makes the following points about the use
of the term "freeware" when applied to Apache:
"I have a hard time accepting the fact that Apache is
freeware because there are many vendors and developers that
are profiting from Apache by selling add-ons and other
Third parties are actually encouraged to develop products
based on or for use with Apache. This does not affect the
fact that Apache code continues to be available for free.
"Another problem with the term freeware is that one still has
to enter into a licensing agreement with the author before
using the product. My question is how can there be strings
attached to something that is ostensibly free."
A licence agreement on a free product does not stop the
product itself from being free. The answer to the question is
to prevent people from doing whatever they want with the code
- even saying that they developed it themselves.
"Even when it's free to download Apache, it requires disk
space to store it".
This is getting too absurd to comment on.