Apache Week
   Issue 101, 6th February 1998:  

Copyright 1996-2005
Red Hat, Inc.

In this issue

Apache Status

Apache Site: www.apache.org
Release: 1.2.5 (Released 5th January 1998) (local download sites)
Beta: 1.3b3 (Released 20th November 1997) (local download sites)

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 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.

Windows-specific Bugs

  • Line numbers of errors found in configuration files could be wrong if the file used CRLF line endings

Other Bugs

  • Small memory leak on each subsequent request on a kept-alive connection

Patches for bugs in Apache 1.2.5 may be made available in the apply 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 bug database and known 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.

Adding Dynamic Modules

On NT, Apache can load modules at start-up. This means that the server does not need to be recompiled to add new features, and means that module authors can ship pre-compiled binaries of their modules. Now this feature will also be available for Apache on Unix. The next beta of 1.3 will include a new module, mod_so, which implements dynamic loading of modules at startup. Like Apache on NT, it will let you extend the server without recompilation, and even without requiring you to bring the server down at all.

This feature is currently experimental and only works on selected operating systems. Because of this it is not extensively documented at the moment, but instructions can be found in the src/modules/standard/mod_so.c source code file. The Configure program has been updated to automate the building of modules suitable for dynamic loading into Apache.

mod_so replaces the old mod_dld module from previous releases of Apache. mod_dld was not being actively maintained and only worked on some systems.

API Change: New Include Directory, Regex Header File Changes

The next beta of 1.3 will contain a new include directory for Apache's header files. Authors of larger modules may need to update their build process. In previous betas, Apache's header files have been stored in the main directory, along with the source code. When new abstractions have been added, such as the libap library, its header files are added in a new directory (ap in this case). This has meant updating makefiles to know about the new directories. From the next beta, header files will be placed in a single directory called include.

In a related change, the header file for the Apache-supplied regular expression (regex) library has been moved from regex into include, and renamed to hsregex.h. The renaming of the file is to prevent confusion with any vendor-supplied regular expression include file already called regex.h.

Surveys Show Apache is still the Leading Server

The February Netcraft Server Survey shows a continuation of last months trend, with Apache's share still increasing slowly. Microsoft's IIS is also increasing, but slower, and Netscape and NCSA's server shares are decreasing. Taking into account derived and disguised versions, Apache's share is up from 50.17% to 50.37%.

A second survey has also been announced. Unlike the Netcraft survey, which attempts to survey every internet accessible site, the SiteMetrics survey limits itself to larger US corporations. It also analysises the data based on the corporation's turnover and market sector.

This survey also shows Apache to be the most widely used server, running on 36% of the sites surveyed. Whilst this is lower than the Netcraft figure, the results appear to be consistent because Apache is better represented on servers run by companies with lower turnover. Since this server only covered larger companies, it will not have surveyed the large number of smaller companies which are most likely to be running Apache as a server.

The results are also broken down into 14 market sectors. Here Apache is the most widely used server in all but two sectors: Computing, where Microsoft's servers dominate, and Education, where Apache ties with Netscape's servers.

The figures for Apache relate only to servers which still identify themselves as Apache. As the Netcraft survey has found, derived products and customised versions often change their server identity. Stronghold is listed separately in these figures, but is an Apache derivative and its figures could be added to Apache's, as could some of the servers currently accumulated under "Other". So Apache's real market position is even better than these figures indicate on the surface.

Figures conflict with Zona Research's results

Once again these surveys would seem to indicate that the results seen by Zona Research are not respresentative of the real world. For instance, they recently claimed that "Looking inside the business market, Apache is in third place, a distant third" (as reported in Apache: Peaceful Web Warrior last week). This article also used Zona's information to claim that NT is "the leading platform for Internet servers" (Zona's figures claim that 52% of Internet servers are running on NT, 33% on Unix), and that Apache's "niche will remain educators, noncommercial sites, small ISPs and technology junkies". While Apache does have strong following in these areas, this new survey shows that if anything Apache is less widely used in computing and education sectors, whilst leading in all others.

Apache in the News

C|Net has a special feature on free software: Source Code for the Masses (1 Feb 1998). This looks at some of the major free software currently available (such as Linux, Perl and Apache), and compares the "GPL" licence with the less-restrictive licences as used in Perl and Apache.

This issue marks the second anniversary of Apache Week. Issue one was published on 9th February 1996, although it was only available on the Web until we started an email subscription option with issue 6.

When issue one was published, Apache version 1.0.0 had been out for just over a month. The current stable version was 1.0.2. The first Netcraft Server Survey we reported on, in issue 5 (8th March 1996) showed that Apache was almost the most popular server: it had 27% compared to NCSA's httpd with 28%. Apache became the most widely used server in the April 1996 survey, reported in issue 9 (4th April 1996). By happy coincidence, this issue also celebrated the first anniversary of the creation of Apache.

With the increasing popularity of Apache Week we redesigned the site and each issue on issue 23 (5th July 1996). The previous issue was delivered to over 1000 addresses. Issue 23 itself reported the release of Apache 1.1.

By January 1997 we we delivering Apache Week to over 3000 address, plus visitors to the Apache Week web site. We covered the long Apache 1.2 beta cycle, which had started on 1st December 1996 with 1.2b1 and continued until Apache 1.2 was released in June 1997 (issue 68). The 1.3 beta cycle started in October 1997 (issue 87) and is still in progress.

Today Apache is in use on over 45% of the world's Internet sites, and there are a number of derived and customised versions of Apache available. In total, over 50% of sites use the Apache code as their server. Apache Week is now delivered to over 6300 addresses, and the www.apacheweek.com site gets over 30,000 non-image hits per week.

Looking into the future, we expect to see Apache's use on NT growing once 1.3 is released and more work takes place to stabilise Apache on NT. The Apache 2.0 will be a very significant upgrade, including multithreading support on Unix for better performance and more stable API to allow for more third party modules to be developed. Apache Week will continue to bring you the latest news about Apache and its development, as it happens. We will also monitor how Apache is being reported in the news and by other server vendors, and where appropriate respond with corrections or clarifications.

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