Tag Archives: apache

Come see me at ApacheCon NA 2014

In April I will be speaking at ApacheCon North America in Denver, Colorado. I’ve had two talks accepted:

Configurable Configuration is a talk about some of the new shiny configuration syntax available in Apache httpd 2.4 – stuff like the If/ElseIf/Else syntax in configuration files, the new expression evaluation engine, and mod_macro for scriptable configuration blocks, for starters.

Demystifying mod_rewrite will drag you kicking and screaming from being a mod_rewrite newbie to being a mod_rewrite expert. You don’t dare miss it.

We’re also presenting two whole days of Apache http server content – code-named “httpd.conf” – get it?

And there’s ten tracks of amazing content across more than 70 projects from the Apache Software Foundation.

Register at na.apachecon.com by March 14 to get the early rate.

ApacheCon EU

ApacheCon EU starts tomorrow, and, for the first time ever, I won’t be there.

In fact, today is my very last chance to say this – I’ve been to every (official) ApacheCon. In fact, if you don’t count 1998, I’m the only person who has been to every ApacheCon.

In 1998, there was an event called ApacheCon, in San Francisco, hosted by CNet, but that was before the Apache Software Foundation was formed. So I choose not to count that one.

Then, in 2000, I spoke at ApacheCon 2000 in Orlando. Then there was London 2000 with Douglas Adams keynoting. Since then, we’ve been a lot of places, including Santa Clara, San Diego, Las Vegas, Atlanta, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Dublin, Vancouver (Canada) and Stuttgart – not in that order.And Colombo, Sri Lanka, where I met Arthur C. Clarke. In fact, it’s the Sri Lanka one that lets me claim the honor of being the only person to go to every one, because the only ASF members there were me, Ken Coar, and Danese Cooper.

But, tomorrow, ApacheCon EU starts, in Sinsheim Germany, and I won’t be there. Already many of my friends have gathered there, and are having dinner there right now. I wish I could be there with them, and not just because it would keep my record intact. I love ApacheCon. I love giving and attending the talks. I love spending time with old friends and meeting new ones. I love the passion of the community, and learning about the new sub-communities that are joining the larger Apache family.

And I sincerely hope that the is the last one I’ll miss.

Looking forward to ApacheCon North America 2013 in Portland. I plan to be at that one. You should come, too.

SourceForge Allura submitted to the Apache Incubator!

Today we submitted Allura to be considered for the Apache Software Foundation Incubator program.

Allura is the software that powers SourceForge’s developer experience. It offers source code hosting, discussion forums, issue ticket tracking, wiki, mailing lists, and much more. It’s been Open Source from day one under the Apache License, and we’ve decided that we want so much more.

By submitting Allura to the Apache Incubator, we hope to draw an even wider community of developers who can advance the feature set and tailor the framework to their needs. With the flexibility and extensibility Allura allows, developers are free to use any number of the popular source code management tools, including: Git, SVN, or Mercurial. We are indeed willing to turn our own open source platform in a tool that everyone can use and extend, and we believe Apache is the best place to steward the process.

The Apache Software Foundation is a non-profit that provides the legal and technical environment for Open Source projects to flourish. The Incubator is the mechanism for accepting new projects into the foundation. Today we’ve submitted our proposal to the Incubator, and over the coming weeks and months, will continue building a larger community around Allura.

We’re very excited about this step and think that it’s going to be a big turning point in the history of SourceForge. Many of us are thrilled because we have been huge Apache fans for more than a decade, and have been actively working to support the Apache OpenOffice podling. We look forward to collaborating with some of the brightest people in the world, and benefiting the thousands of Open Source projects that are hosted at SourceForge. It’s clearly the best of all possible worlds.

You can read more about Allura features, and you can read more about the Apache Incubator. We hope to be joining a truly stellar group of projects in the Incubator.

If you want to participate in the Allura development, there are many ways for you to get involved. There’s the source code, documentation, UI/UX, and just using it and telling us what you like or don’t like. We’d love to have you as part of the Allura development community.

Be careful what you start

I’ve committed a few patches over the last few weeks from a possible new contributor to the Apache HTTP Server documentation effort. Today I warned him that if he keeps it up, there’s a chance that someone will propose that he be given commit access, and you never know where that can lead.

It reminded me of a day just a short time ago (ok, 12 years … ) when someone committed a few initial patches from me. And look where it took me.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Joshua Slive

In September of 2000, I made my first commit to the Apache HTTP Server documentation. To be exact, it was on September 12th.

On September 8th, four days earlier, Joshua Slive made his first commit, and from that point went on to completely change the way that we did documentation. We had been editing HTML files. He converted everything to XML, and built a transformation process to convert them to XHTML, as well as a variety of other formats. This made the documentation more useful, but also much easier to write. And it made the translation process much easier. (No, it certainly wasn’t only Joshua that did this, but he took the helm at this time and made it happen, with the help of many others.)

Then, when he went to grad school, Joshua stopped being quite so active. His last commit was on March 12, 2008, nearly four years ago.

I mention all of this today because last night, according to Ohloh, four years to the week after Joshua stopped committing, I *finally* passed him, in total commits.


Joshua, thanks for the work that you did. Any time you want to come back and pick up where you left off, we’d be delighted to have you.

Call for translation (Apache HTTP Server)

Participation in open source project is not only open to folks who can program in C. If you can read English, and can write in some other language, your participation is desperately needed.

The complete documentation for the Apache HTTP Server is currently only available in English. Parts of it are available in other languages, with German, French, and Japanese being the most complete. However, some modules are not available in other languages at all, while many are partially translated, and most are not translated at all.

If you are able to translate into any language, please let us know. Join the docs@httpd.apache.org mailing list (send a note to docs-subscribe@httpd.apache.org) and join the conversation there. You don’t need to know how to program in C, and you don’t even need to know how to use svn, or write HTML or XML, although these things are helpful, and if you participate for very long, you’re sure to learn.

Participation in Open Source projects looks great on your resume, and helps make the world a better place, and it can be a lot of fun. Please consider using your language skills to benefit the Apache HTTP Server project.

Apache Web Server training, mod_rewrite training

I’ll be teaching two training classes at the upcoming ApacheCon in Atlanta in November.

On Monday, I’ll be teaching Apache, Nuts to Bolts, with Jim Jagielski, another long-time contributor to the Apache httpd project. This class is a day-long training on everything from obtaining and installing the server to configuration, third-party modules, and security, and everything in between.

On Tuesday, I’ll be teaching a half-day training onmod_rewrite, the most powerful, and probably most confusing module, and the source of the majority of questions on any given Apache support forum.

I’d love to have you in my classes. ApacheCon will be fun, as always, and Atlanta is a great city. We’d love to see you there.

Fun at the ASF

After wading through another 100+ message thread on the Apache Software Foundation members list, I wanted to make several observations.

I’m still having an awful lot of fun working on the Apache HTTP Server project. The ability to contribute to a project that is used by tens of millions of websites is pretty cool, and is my small way of making the world a better place.

There are many valid philosophies of Open Source (or, if you prefer, Free Software) development. The Apache Way isn’t for every project. But it happens to be what makes sense to me. I think it builds strong communities that are based on code and not on ego, and that people come away from them with a well-developed ability to mentor other developers who are just getting started in Open Source, while many models that focus on one individual lead to folks who expect that hand-holding in the next project, too.

Some of the coolest people I know, I met through the ASF. Some of the other coolest people I know I met through PHP and Perl, but the ones that I consider friends are almost all in the ASF. And, in the end, life is more about relationship than changed lines of code.

There are some very cool projects within the ASF that a lot of people just don’t know about that. While my effort to rectify this via FeatherCast has been … ahem … less than successful, I still get to talk to some amazing people. And, yes, I have two interviews that I need to finish editing and push out. Sorry for the slowness. We’re doing some innovative things at Apache, and it continues to be frustrating that all people think about is the web server when they hear Apache.

Apache HTTP Server PDF documentation

Although I’ve known for a while that it was possible to build the HTTP Server docs as PDF, I never really bothered to find out how. Finally this afternoon I was poking around and figured out how. The latest docs are available in PDF format here, and I’ll try to keep them somewhat fresh, if you want to bookmark that.

Apache HTTPd 2.0 docs (pdf – 3Mb)
Apache HTTPd 2.2 docs (pdf – 4Mb)
Apache HTTPd 2.3 (trunk) docs (pdf – 4Mb)

mod_rewrite and ignorance

For the last week or two, I’ve been using Twitterrific. One of its features is that you can watch for all tweets that contain a particular word or phrase. So I’ve been watching ‘mod_rewrite’. The following graph shows the rough distribution of those tweets.

It’s distressing to me, as something of a recognized expert on the subject, to see the vast amount of information online about mod_rewrite which is inaccurate, inefficient, or just plain wrong. But people are clearly hungry for any scrap of mod_rewrite info that they can get, since every time another misinformed tutorial is posted, 30 people retweet it as gospel.

Now, some could claim, very justly, that we brought this on ourselves. The documentation is frightening, and announces in the first paragraph that this is not for mere mortals, and has been largely unchanged for over ten years. We’ve recently done a complete overhaul of the docs, but it might just be too late.

And, of course, another huge force is at work here. Yes, the SEO industry. No, I will not engage you in the debate about whether all so-called “SEO professionals” are snakes and liars. A significant portion of this industry thrives on misinformation and impossible-to-fulfill promises. And many of these folks equate “SEO” and “mod_rewrite”, thus indicating a complete lack of understanding of both.

Between these two forces, there’s a huge thirst for useful mod_rewrite tutorials, both by people with legitimate need for mod_rewrite, and people who have been told, inaccurately, that they need it. And, unfortunately, for years the Apache docs haven’t done that. They haven’t offered the examples that people are actually looking for, and they’ve had that dreadful “ABANDON HOPE” across the front arch.

So, we’re working hard to rectify this with the new docs which will include lots of examples, and hopefully address the questions that you’re actually asking. But, alas, the nonsense tutorials keep springing up, so perhaps we need some active way to address those, tell you why they’re mistaken, and perhaps encourage the authors to correct them in useful ways that will result in the spread of true, accurate, efficient mod_rewrite information, and less of this ridiculous myth that mod_rewrite is a big scary monster.