What's the Story Behind Apache?

Most people in the free software world know two things about Apache. The first is that its name derives from the fact that it was “a patchy server



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Microsoft IIS will lead...

Gabriel's picture

The only reason that Microsoft is not leading right now is because the old die hard refuse to switch to Microsoft. I have a 60 year old Apache admin at my company that would rather die than use Microsoft.


toto's picture

you clearly do not have a clear understanding of the server side of technology,
people dont use apache because it's free or because they xxx company or yyy company.
LEARN that well, N00b

Making it Chaper it Now, Until the Competition is No More

Roy Schestowitz's picture


Over the years I have heard from people, including Web hosts, that were offered 'freebies' to choose Microsoft. Even HPC is includedm here. A Microsoft momentum is affecting morale and perception (never mind "Get the Facts"), so it's important. Have a look at this new interview.

Cringely the Unemployable on the fallacy of Web 2.0, Microsoft ruthlessness, and the CB radio of our decade

,----[ Quote ]
| Davidson: Which software company would you hate to compete against? What
| makes you single them out?
| Cringely: Microsoft of course. They have the deepest of pockets, unlimited
| ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make
| sure that you don't make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.
| Davidson: Why do you think Microsoft is mean? Are you implying some kind of
| malicious intent rather than just ruthlessness?
| Cringely: Maybe "mean" is the wrong word to use for Microsoft. "Ruthless" is
| good. The company is built in the image of Bill Gates and Bill is a guy who
| gets caught-up in the game of business and doesn't typically see its personal
| cost. To use what might seem to be an obscure example, just look at all the
| various partnerships and industry consortia that Microsoft has announced
| through the years that never produced a product or even a usable
| specification. There have been literally dozens of these operations that are
| intended solely to freeze the competition until Microsoft can figure what the
| heck it actually wants to do. To Microsoft its a PR exercise that helps them
| compete but to customers it is just a damned lie. That's ruthless. There are
| plenty of other examples I can give but you get the point. I represent the
| concerns of users, not vendors, and Microsoft doesn't really care about
| users.


See the part about tolerating losses just in order to monopolise and then elevate prices? Intel and Microsoft were accused of doing the same thing to sabotage the not-for-profit OLPC project. Classmate was offered for a loss and $3 Windows/Office got introduced. I have a lot of proof (articles) to show this.

If this is another example of the technical case of "dumping", this might actually be illegal.


Glyn Moody's picture

I'd not seen that interview, but it certainly fits in with what seems to be happening in the Web sphere. Unfortunately the legal system has not (so far) shown itself very good at dealing with Microsoft. The US anti-trust action was rendered toothless, and I don't hold out much hope for the current EU attempts either.

I think free software is on its own here, that's why I was trying to suggest that people should start standing up for Apache, pushing it harder in the way they have for Firefox and even - why not? - trying to accelerate the introduction of new features into Apache to make it more attractive.

Ultimately the best way to beat Microsoft is to offer a better product.

I agree completely with what

Anonymous's picture

I agree completely with what you have said.

Apache *should* just like Firefox more actively "push" itself.

Another very good thing would be to move to a licensing scheme
which disallows parasites such as MicroSnort to leech off of
"Open Source" projects; let´s use the GPLv3!


Lest we forget: the Others...

bear454's picture

Although still a small percentage, lighttpd usage should be included, as it is an open-source web server.

Also, as a logical abstract, it's quite difficult (most would say impossible) to masquerade an IIS server as something else. You'd need something flexible (say "open-source") to do that - so you might as well include the "Other" category as well, as this will be, naturally, non-IIS.

incentive for apache to pick up their pants

Anonymous's picture

this is the perfect motive for revolution in the FOSS server sector, since features M$ offer are actually gaining ground for ease of use and countless features people find interesting, yet slow page rendering to a crawl even with multi-megabit internet connection. COME ON APACHE, now is the perfect reason to pull your stable and fast web server into the 20XX years with features and little sly tweaks that can of course beat M$ at its game. It isn't like it's impossible, apache is still whooping IIS BUT as more *average* individuals just find it cool to start up a server, the sad fact is the desktop share is in the M$ field of play, so as more in that group run servers blindly, of course its share shall rise.
I'm only hoping apache can go ahead and build a completely new base from code they already have that's made them so good and in 1st place for a while, but just add current/modern technologies, philosophy, and mindset to their product to create what users WANT to run over their native OS's server platform.



Eddy Nigg's picture

I guess there need to be more Gooyees support specially for the Winblows platform. I don't know if there any exists and how good they are, perhaps a web based one would cut too...

iis & apache

apacheiis's picture

in no time the ground can be made up.
i am no apache fan but look out iis.
our sites do much better IIS team has made the Go Live release of URL Rewrite Module for IIS 24/7 .0 available for download. This release contains significant functionality and performance improvements

thanks for posting.

google's server

Edmundo Carmona's picture

Keep in mind also that Google's servers were set apart from apache's (very convenient for Microsoft, wouldn't you agree?). That would help explain the big slip a little bit. I wonder if netcraft would do the same for other major hosters that use IIS... I bet they wouldn't.. that wouldn't be nice to Microsoft.


Glyn Moody's picture

See my comment on this, below.

I couldn't agree more...

liquidat's picture

I watched the Netcraft surveys over the last couple of months. And even if I take away the GoDaddy move or the Google server statistics effect the result is still shocking.

I wonder if the Apache folks do anything against it. It could definitely help to focus the marketing and also listen to the users a bit more. I once asked my readers what the reasons are for this development and surprisingly many readers mentioned that IIS in these days has simply more to offer.

I'd like to close with a very insightful quote I got:
"The IIS of old, isn’t the same IIS of new

Apache vs IIS

john mcginnis's picture


Lets be careful here. Going back to the Netcraft survey take a look at the approximate dates of when the Microsoft rise increased -- around July 2006. So what happened that is related to that rise? How about the introduction of Sharepoint and Microsoft's intro into live business services, both of which depend on IIS as a core component of the offerings. And especially for the live offering is it appropriate for Netcraft to be counting the IIS numbers from the very service provider that wrote the code? Developers chose Apache for a reason. A MS support person has no choice but to load IIS on a MS box. Not quite the same don't you agree?

So how does that relate to the Netcraft survey? Well for one IIS is not so much winning as is the Sharepoint CMS. The IIS count is along for the ride. It probably also points out that MS must be cutting deals to forego CAL licensing. Anybody using Sharepoint for a net presence might be in for a very rude price shock as far as the CALs go unless they have a get out of jail free card from MS.

Which brings me to my final observation. Times have changed, it is no longer just a world of static pages and a web server that matters now. It's some form of Zope/Sharepoint/PlOne/Django engine that is the driving commodity now. And some of those I just listed do not even use a web server but provide their own internally. So maybe Netcraft needs to do the same thing for web server for CMS families.

How to count

Glyn Moody's picture

I agree the picture is more complex than the Netcraft graph shows. As you say, the servers that Microsoft itself uses shouldn't really be counted as generic IIS - maybe they should be separated, as Google's have been, into a new class. And I'm sure that you're right about Sharepoint, but the thing is, it's still taking IIS with it, which has knock-on consequences for the Web ecosystem.

My general point is that perhaps more should be done to support Apache - and maybe open source CMS that use it - rather than just sit back and watch the graphs go the wrong way, even if some of that is down to different factors.

Perhaps what's really needed

Scot's picture

Perhaps what's really needed is an open source equivalent of SharePoint. From what I can tell, it should be possible to combine several open source Java technologies into a SharePoint alike, but I'm not aware of any project to do so. If "OpenShare" was available, maybe some people would choose that over SharePoint.

Alfresco could well be that,

Anonymous's picture

Alfresco could well be that, if enough people get behind it...

Open source Sharepoint

Joakim's picture

What about o3spaces ?

They say they will open source their product this year and it is really good, integrating with both OpenOffice and MS Office.


Glyn Moody's picture

Perhaps we should see Apache's continuing decline in market share as a signal that something new needs to be done in terms of the software that's on offer in this sector. It can't be beyond the collective intelligence of the free software world (a) to work out what to do and (b) to do it.

Apache's Slipping Market Share

John Moore's picture

One of the tenets of Open Source software is that the code is peer reviewed and that its quality is equal to or better than Closed Source software due to the "many eyeballs effect". Whether it's the Linux kernel or Apache web server is almost irrelevant, it's the quality of the product and the coding that goes into it that counts. If Microsoft makes a better product then the results will speak for themselves. However, the peer review process generally makes superior products due to incremental improvements and enhancements over time. It has allowed the Sciences to flourish and grow to an extent that basic and applied human knowledge has grown practically exponentially over the last century. If Microsoft wins through trickery or the public decides to go with a "good enough" product in spite of a superior product, well, it wouldn't be the first time a population of people have chosen poorly as a whole. Either way, all the Apache Foundation can do is do their best and let fate take its course. All things change. The only certainty in life is change and a little competition is good for Apache as much as it is for Microsoft. From a security perspective, having an Apache monoculture would be quite bad, but I believe that the more important factor here is the competition.

Marketing counts

Glyn Moody's picture

That's why I mention Spread Firefox: this showed that a little bit of *honest* marketing can help to get your point about quality across to a wider audience. Might it not be worth it in the case of Apache, too?


Sanders's picture

As long as Apache doesn't come with a decent GUI (even cursed based) there is little to do on the marketing front, have you ever tried to advertise anything showing screenshots of a MS-DOS screen?

Yes, most people think that a black and grey text interface is nothing more but MS-DOS like, ugly old and difficult to understand.

Face it Apache is not as easy to set-up as IIS for a non experienced person. To run Apache properly you need a Linux box, and MS shops are not going to install a Linux box to run a webserver when they have Win2k3 boxes around.

Going GUI

Glyn Moody's picture

Well, if there isn't a good GUI for Apache (is there?), that suggests a cool project for someone to initiate, complete and earn fame, and maybe fortune, since there's probably a good support business there too.

iTools is an Apache GUI!

Anita's picture

We have been shipping an Apache configuration and management tool since 2000 on Mac OS X (and for some years earlier on Mac OS). The product, iTools, is very portable could be moved to Linux and Windows. Check out http://www.tenon.com/products/itools.

Don't forget - Apache runs

Tee's picture

Don't forget - Apache runs equally well on Windows & OS X as it does on Windows. People seem to be asserting that Apache = Linux.

Back in my Windows days I always chose Apache over IIS for various reasons. The Windows version has a usable GUI which, although it doesn't offer much in the way of configuration (virtual domains, security options etc) makes it easy to install and startup a usable HTTP server.

I agree - if someone could produce a workable GUI for Apache I think that could only be beneficial.


Anonymous's picture

I don't get it.
Why is a graphical interface so damnd important when almost all, "if not all" Linux distributions come with Apache ready to go.
All you have to do is copy your web files to the Apache home directory and start httpd.
Bingo you have a web page up and running.
As it comes, "out of the box" it is pretty darn good.
If you need to make any changes it is not that hard.
If your looking for a good stable enterprise version look for CentOS.
I use CentOS as my desktop and I won't tell you what I use as a firewall for my ISP.
I'll tell you it has multiple Ethernet cards with IP-tables rules for each of the cards. Different services on each card.
Each card plugs into a, "yup another firewall" that is routed to another port via NAT and IP-Tables which is connected to a switch for the servers on this ip range.
My IDS reports about 3000 hits per Internet IP for port scans and huge amounts of various hits looking for MicroSnot flaws.
Ain't no stinking MicroSnot here! Have fun!


This is EXACTLY why people use IIS

Bill Cook's picture

People read/hear comments like this and choose IIS. When someone tells you he needs a tool to use your product, and you tell him to p*ss off, he's going to go somewhere else.

When you describe a process as "not that hard", you aren't exactly making a ringing endorsement of your product.


Ron L's picture

I know what you mean. I really love MySQL. When I began learning Linux/Apache/MySQL I worked very hard to learn the syntax. Unfortunately, the MySQL forum had a bunch of prima donnas who would rather scathe someone than help them. I have sinced moved to IIS.