Dr. Dirk Terrell is an astronomer at the University of Florida specializing in interacting binary stars. His hobbies include cave diving, martial arts, painting and writing OS/2 software such as HTML Wizard.
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Apache is the web server of choice in the Unix world. Begun in 1995 by a small team of volunteers, Apache has grown to become the most widely used web server on the Internet, commanding over 50% of the server market in the latest Netcraft survey. Apache is free and that usually makes the pointy-haired types nervous. I was somewhat surprised when IBM announced that it would include Apache in its WebSphere Application Server. But make no mistake about it, Apache is a robust and professionally done piece of software.
Installing Apache involves downloading the latest OS/2 version from the Apache website and unzipping the archive. You also need the latest EMX runtime. If you have special needs, you can compile Apache yourself since the source code is included, but this is not a trivial exercise. Garey Smiley, who has done the OS/2 port of Apache for years has some information on his web page about compiling Apache for OS/2.
Apache In Use
As is usually the case with free software, Apache is replete with features but getting to those features requires a little bit of work. Originally designed for Unix and ported to OS/2 using the EMX environment, Apache is a text mode program that is configured using text files. This isn't a pretty, point and click kind of program. But the documentation that comes with the distribution thoroughly covers all of the configuration parameters, and the sample configuration files require only a few modifications, such as the directory where the HTML documents exist, in order to get up and running. The sample configuration files are also well-commented, so making changes is usually pretty easy.
Apache's performance is quite good under OS/2 even though it spawns multiple servers as separate processes rather than using threads. It has, at times, been used for the OS/2 Supersite which handles about 100,000 requests and a gigabyte of data per day across the whole site on an aging machine with a Cyrix P150+ CPU, 64 megs of RAM, and a SCSI disk system.
Apache provides the expected features of a web server such as CGI and virtual hosts (the ability to host more than one website on a server). The latter is a bit more cumbersome under Warp 3 because of the lack of an alias capability in the TCP/IP software. The alias parameter was added to ifconfig in Warp 4, making it easy to associate more than one IP address with a particular network interface. Apache also has the ability to use non-IP virtual hosting, but this requires that the client browser support the HTTP 1.1 protocol. Most of the new browsers like Navigator/2 do but you are certain to hear complaints from people who use older browsers unless you go through the cartwheels necessary to make non-IP virtual hosting work for them.
Although it doesn't have some of the perks of other commercial web servers like a search engine or web-based configuration capability, Apache is still a good choice for an OS/2-based web server. It is well-designed, robust, and has great performance even on minimal machines. Unlike PC operating systems, web servers are chosen based on based on technical merits like stability and performance. It's no surprise that Apache holds the number one spot in web server popularity.
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