Apache Week
   Issue 162, 21st May 1999:  

Copyright 1996-2005
Red Hat, Inc.

In this issue

Apache Status

Apache Site: www.apache.org
Release: 1.3.6 (Released 25th March 1999) (local download sites)
Beta: None

Apache 1.3.6 is the current stable release. Users of Apache 1.3.4 and earlier on Unix systems should upgrade to this version. Read the Guide to 1.3.6 for information about changes between 1.3.4 and 1.3.6 and between 1.2 and 1.3.6.

These bugs have been found in 1.3.6 and will be fixed in the next release.

  • The date string in the log file logs localised month names, which could confuse log analysis programs. In future, the %t log token will log English month names. For localised names, use the %{format}t token. PR#679, PR#4366.

Under Development

Patches for bugs in Apache 1.3.6 will be made available in the apply_to_1.3.6 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.

Testing for Request Protocol

The SetEnvIf directive has been updated to allow setting of environment variables based on the protocol of the request. This can be done by using Request_Protocol as the value of the attribute field on the SetEnvIf line. This is also available for use in SetEnvIfNoCase.

Microsoft Fudges Benchmarks Issue

Microsoft have published their reponse to the debate over the recent biased performance figures from Mindcraft. They do not address the basic problem with the benchmarks as performed - namely, that a highly tuned NT system was tested against a limited Linux setup - but instead make claims designed to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) amongst readers.

They state that the only real issue is performance under benchmark conditions: "It's time for the Linux folks to step up to the challenge and prove that Linux is capable of achieving better results than Windows NT Server. After all, this is the real issue.". But benchmarks do not give the true picture, since they provide an environment unlike the real use of the software. Also some software (typically commercial software) is often tuned to perform well in benchmarks, so a good performance simply indicates that the software works well for that benchmark, not that it has good real-world performance.

Since it is reasonable to expect that NT will perform well under the benchmark test, they have mis-represented the complaints about the test as being unfair into a complaint that Linux should perform better than NT: "...there is no performance data using industry benchmarks to support the Linux community's claim that Linux performs better than Windows NT Server on server hardware." Now if NT does perform better than Linux on any re-test, they can use this mis-statement of the issues to invalidate valid critisms of the tests and other critisms of NT against Linux.

Of course performance, whether in a benchmark or in the real-world, is not the only factor affecting the effectiveness of software. To address this, the document provides a list of things at which NT is apparently better. This is a very selective list. For example, Linux is critised for requiring a kernel rebuild to add certain OS features. They do not mention that NT, for example, requries a reboot after installation of application level software. They also take the opportunity to drop in some unsubstantiated and dubious figures, such as stating that NT is 37% less expensive to setup and operate than UNIX. Interestingly the document is all about Linux, but where figures are involved they explicitly state "UNIX" rather than Linux.

Next Issue

Due to staff holidays, the next issue of Apache Week will be on 11th June 1999.

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