Apache Week
   Issue 106, 13th March 1998:  

Copyright 1996-2005
Red Hat, Inc.

In this issue

Award-Winning Apache

Apache has won the Web server software category in the "CNet Awards for Internet Excellence". The annoucement says "the Apache Project has built a stable, speedy Web server that runs on almost all flavors of Unix, OS/2, and even Windows.".

Apache Status

Apache Site: www.apache.org
Release: 1.2.5 (Released 5th January 1998) (local download sites)
Beta: 1.3b5 (Released 19th February 1998) (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. A new version, 1.2.6, is expected soon.

The bugs listed below now include a link to the entry in the Apache bug database where the problem is being tracked. These entries are called "PR"s (Problem Reports). Some bugs do not correspond to problem reports if they are found by developers.

Bugs found in 1.3b5

These bugs have been found in 1.3 and will be fixed in the next beta (1.3b6)

Other Bugs

  • With mod_mime_magic some files, such as those of zero length, could cause Apache to fail to return any response
  • A single slash in the argument of a <LocationMatch> directive would match multiple slashes in the URL. This will be fixed so that a slash in the <LocationMatch> matches only a single slash in the URL. Note that a slash in <Location> still matches multiple slashes in the URL.
  • The CGI variable REMOTE_HOST contains the hostname of the client, or is unset if no hostname is available. Apache was incorrectly setting it to the client IP if it could not resolve the hostname.
  • SetEnv TZ did not work, since Apache would always set the TZ environment variable to the value it had when Apache was started. This made it difficult to localise the timezone for particular virtual hosts.

Patches for bugs in Apache 1.2.5 may be made available in the apply_to_1.2.5 directory on the Apache site (this directory may not exist if no patches are available). 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.

Additional Support for Dynamic Modules

Support for dynamic modules on Unix has been added for Solaris 2.5.1 and 2.6, IRIX and FreeBSD, in addition to Linux and Windows. Dynamic modules let you load and unload modules from the running Apache server without recompiling or stopping the server. The proxy module can also be compiled into a shared module, and loaded when Apache is started.

High Performance Sample Configuration

The next beta release will contain a sample httpd.conf for high-performance testing in conf/highperformance.conf-dist. This shows one way to configure Apache for better performance, primarily intended for performance testing. It is also a much shorter configuration file than conf/httpd.conf-dist since it does not contain extensive comments or list every possible directive.

Apache in the News

Computer Currents reports on the arrival of Apache on NT in its Intranet Explorer: Free Service column. This positive review considers Apache on its merits, where the fact that it is free is just another benefit but not necessarily the most important factor. Unlike some other reviews, the author has taken time to actually use Apache rather than accept the views of other server manufacturers that free products offer poor support or features compared to the commercial servers. In fact, the article states "Apache isn't backed by a huge company, but the Usenet newsgroups (comp.infosystems.www.servers.unix) devoted to Apache provide better support than many large companies...", and "I was impressed by Apache's features (including its interoperability with NT and Unix), ease of setup, level of support you can get from the Apache community, and number of third-party add-ons.".

Internet World looks at two potential open development models for Netscape's browser, in Blueprints For Mozilla?. There are short articles on the development of Apache and Linux. Unfortunately both these articles concentrate on the downside of collaborative voluntary development, rather than the benefits and results.

Also in Internet World the article 3 Types of Sites, and The Servers That Suit Them compares four servers in three sample scenarios: a small site, a commerce-based site and a complex integrated site. While Apache for NT is considered briefly it is clear that the scenarios are designed to eliminate it from consideration fairly easily, in favour of O'Reilly WebSite Pro, Netscape Enterprise and Microsoft Site Server. They compare servers running on NT only, while Unix may be a better choice in some circumstances (which they acknowledge, but then proceed to consider NT servers only). For the complex site, they limit comparison to only products sold as a "single package". Even for the simple site they state that adding ad-banner rotation "posed a challenge that Apache would be hard pressed to meet", despite the fact that Apache is used on some high volume ad rotating sites because it offers superior performance. In the end this review only considers things which are easy to do and work out of the box, without considering the real-world requirements of web sites.

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