|Subject:||Apache 0.8.2 note|
|From:||Alexei Kosut (ako...@nueva.pvt.k12.ca.us)|
|Date:||Jul 20, 1995 11:46:32 pm|
Hello. I'm new on this list, having subscribed nine days ago at the instruction of Brian Behlendorf. I hope I'm not out of place mailing to it. If it's not appropriate, please tell me and I'll cease immediately.
I've been running Apache 0.6.5 on two Unix boxes I administer, and I recently downloaded Apache 0.8.2, and attempted to install it one of them, a SPARCstation 2 running SunOS 4.1.1 (www.dal.net, for those interested). It compiled, installed and executed sucessfully, and it appears to work great. Congratulations to all that created it.
That being said, I have two comments about the Apache 0.8.2 distribution (which also mostly apply to 0.6.5 also, actually):
1. The imagemap program, and perhaps even the entire cgi-src and cgi-bin directories, is very old. It contains imagemap 1.2; the version released with NCSA httpd 1.4 is 1.8. Granted, the imap module alleviates the need for this, but it should still be kept updated, IMHO, for plug-in compatibility with NCSA httpd.
2. The -dist configuration files are missing example lines for some Apache features (mostly the new ones in 0.8.x, but some old ones as well): VirtualHost, AddLanguage, XBitHack, imagemaps, asis files, and I think that's it (though I'm most likely wrong). These features should have example lines in the .conf files, even if commented out, to show how they are used. There are also some other things wrong with these files - the 20 Alias limit no longer exists, I beleive, for example, and Rob McCool's email address and the hoohoo.ncsa.uiuc.edu URL don't really belong there, do they?
3. NCSA httpd has a root-level Makefile that compiles the server, the CGI programs, and whatever else is required. Maybe Apache should have one too, or at least some indication of how to compile the server - if I wasn't familiar with Unix source distributions, I might never find the installation instructions in the src directory - the INSTALL file and Configure script could also be moved up there, as could the default location for the httpd binary. (i.e. the src Makefile would compile to ../httpd instead of httpd)
Speaking of the Configure script, mightn't it be a good idea to have it determine what sort of machine and OS you have and configure the Makefile appropriately? Every other config script I've ever seen does this, and it surprised me that Apache's did not. Especially with the Makefile the script outputs, it is very hard to know how to set it up for OSes other than the default SunOS: one has to edit the Configuration file to uncomment the correct AUX_CFLAGS line, and then run Configure.
The INSTALL file touches on what is required, but doesn't go into enough detail. It seems to assume that you have been "previously" installing Apache or NCSA httpd, but if this group every hopes to expand Apache's user base beyond those people currently using Web servers and target those who are just starting to create web pages, the documentation needs to be more clear and easier to understand. I realize that 0.8.2 has not been made available to the general public but I suggest that you keep this in mind for future releases.
One last thing: On my web server, I've modified mod_userdir.c (as the comment says, I am "actually interested in changing this *particular* aspect of server functionality") to work on my site: I've made it so that if the first character of the UserDir directive is a /, it works by appending the userid to the end of the UserDir string - i.e. if I have UserDir /some/path/here (which could be a CGI script, and this is how I use it on my site), then /~foo/bar translates to /some/path/here/foo/bar. If anyone is interested in using this, my modified userdir module is at <http://www.dal.net/mod_userdir.c>. Since it only takes effect if the UserDir line begins with a /, it could be used to replace the mod_userdir.c in the distribution, and would still work fine with all existing sites. Or not.
Thanks for reading this; it turned out to be longer than I had intended, but I think that everything I've said is relatively important. At any rate, I think Apache is a great HTTP server. Keep up the good work!