Apache Week
   Issue 141, 4th December 1998:  

Copyright 1996-2005
Red Hat, Inc.

In this issue

Apache Status

Apache Site: www.apache.org
Release: 1.3.3 (Released 9th October 1998) (local download sites)
Beta: None

Apache 1.3.3 is the current stable release. Users of Apache 1.2.6 and earlier should look at upgrading to this version. Read Guide to 1.3.3 for information about changes between 1.2 and 1.3.3.

Bugs in 1.3.3

These bugs have been found in 1.3.3 and will be fixed in the next release.

  • If mod_negotiation is negotiating between a set of variants, some of which have a particular attribute (such as an "encoding") of the same type and others of which have no value for that attribute, Apache does not create a proper Vary header in the response. Note that Apache does create a proper Vary header when the variants have different values for the attribute.

Patches for bugs in Apache 1.3.3 will be made available in the apply_to_1.3.3 subdirectory of the patches directory on the Apache site. Some new features and other unofficial patches are available in the 1.3 patches directory. 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.

Selecting installation directories

When the Configure file is used to configure and build Apache, it defaults to using a "traditional" set of directory names, such as conf, bin and so on. However if the newer ./configure script is used, Apache will use a different set of directories such as etc and sbin. This has led to confusion for people upgrading and has made it more difficult to explain things to new users (such as where to find the configuration files).

From the next release, both configuration methods will use the same set of paths, which are the same as the "traditional" Apache directory structure. But to avoid more confusion for people now used to using ./configure with the new directory tree, the layout must be specified when configuring Apache with that script (using src/Configure is unchanged by all this, and still uses the traditional paths as normal). To use ./configure, specify one of these options which replaces the previous --compat flag:

  ./configure --with-layout=Apache


  ./configure --with-layout=GNU

The first configures Apache for the traditional directory layout (consistent with what src/Configure uses), while the second uses a directory layout based on the GNU software directory standards (which is what earlier versions of ./configure used by default). Advanced users (such as those creating Apache packages for installation on specific systems) can create their own directory layout structure for use with ./configure.

Setting the target name

When Apache is installed, the server executable is normally called httpd. Various files associated with Apache also have use name, such as the manual page (httpd.8) and the default configuration file (conf/httpd.conf). From the next release it will be possible to use a different name in these places. This is configured by the --target=name option to ./configure. Using this will also update the default configuration for things like the name of the log files and the PID file.

Setting a default language

A new directive has been added for the next release. This is used to set a default language for documents which do not have a language specified by a file extension. For example, using

  DefaultLanguage en

would set all files without any language extensions to have the language "en" (which is the standard language tag for English). This could be useful for sites which have a lot of content in one language in files which do not have language extensions and want to properly mark the language of these documents. This directive is valid inside .htaccess files and <Directory>, <Location> and <Files> sections. So a typical use might be to mark all *.html documents as being in French, with

  <Files *.html>
  DefaultLanguage fr

The default language, if set, will also be used in content negotiation. So a site with existing documents could add additional documents in specific languages (such a index.html.de and index.html.fr). Browsers can request documents in the correct language, so a request for index would get the most appropriate language available, if content negotiation is turned on in Apache.

Compiler or linker options in apxs

The apxs tool would not allow arbitrary arguments to be passed on to the compiler or linker, but this is required in some situations. New options -Wc and -Wl will be available in the next release to give arguments for the compiler or linker respectively. These options can be repeated.

Creating a GUI for Apache

A number of "graphic user interfaces" (GUIs) are in development for Apache. These can be used instead of editing the configuration files by hand. Since the GUIs are being developed separately from Apache, Apache will retain the ability to be configured via text files, and the GUIs will always be optional. A good GUI could make Apache easier to use by people not as familiar with it, or people who only need to make changes occasionally.

The available GUIs and those under development are listed on the Apache GUI page at gui.apache.org. This page also includes detail of how to join the mailing list where Apache GUIs are discussed. This list is currently discussing how GUI programs can get up-to-date and consistent information about the directives and modules available in the version of Apache they are configuring.

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