Apache terminates 'outdated' web server
We, and the world, move on
An increasingly creaky version of the web's most popular web server has finally been retired after twelve years serving billions of pages.
The Apache Software Foundation has released HTTP Sever 1.3.42, saying this is the final release of the 1.3 branch, and there will be no more updates except for critical security fixes.
Development will also end for version 2.0 later this year, with the release of version 2.4. Apache has strongly recommended users upgrade to 2.2.14.
Apache's server is responsible for serving more than half - 53 per cent - of the web's pages, according to Netcraft. Apache has been the net's number-one web server consistently, despite a steady challenge from Microsoft's IIS. Microsoft is a distant second with 24 per cent of pages served.
ASF is moving on for two main reasons. In an email to The Reg, HTTP Server Team member Noirin Shirley told The Reg sais that for one, huge changes in technology and the internet during the 12 years since 1.3 debuted have meant that it's no longer a "best of breed" web server.
Version 1.3 was released in June 1998. To give you some context of how things have changed since then, this was just weeks before the long deceased Windows 98 from Microsoft. Since then, Microsoft's updated its client operating system five times. It was also two years before the first gigahertz CPUs for x86 systems shipped commercially.
Project management committee chairman William Rowe, meanwhile, said it was also impractical for volunteer organizations like ASF - just like commercial entities - to maintain a large number of parallel releases. "Users needs to track the versions that attract the attention of active development (and active developers)," Rowe told us.
Version 2 of Apache's server was a significant" re-write of 1.3. The API was rewritten to prevent many of the problems with module ordering and priority. Improved support for non-Unix platforms was added along with smart filtering, support for IPv6 and multiple protocols.
Version 2.2 specifically added the ability to serve files larger than 2GB while the core modules for authentication and authorization along with subsystems for actions such as caching and proxying have been "greatly improved".
Features in development for 2.3.5, currently in alpha, include updates to the authentication modules and what Rowe called "state of the art" cache and proxy modules. ®
it's still running?
1.3 branch was still in development? damn it will be missed.... not much 2.2 has been around a few weeks now.
I raise a glass to Apache 1.3 for giving us a reason not to use microsoft 'secure' web server
I thought that was a tad unfair. 1.3 has 'served' us well, and I raise a glass to it.
After all, wasn't the name "Apache" from 'A patchy' web server?
C'm on, Gavin. Credit where credit's due.
Actually, software does rot.
While the code running an old application may not change, its environment does. New types of security threats emerge from sources and vectors unknown at the time the code was created, for example.
Your organic metaphor is quite apt, in fact. The ecosystem of the Internet is of greater complexity than any one person or group can predict; that is precisely why the Internet is such a fascinating thing to study... and so is biology, and the Universe itself.
When systems reach a certain level of complexity, subtle interactions between members of the set begin to make significant effects. For example, in a vat of chemicals with an energy source, a small proportion of species will interact in a catalytic fashion, creating new species. Some of these will react in a new way with other species; and in this way complexity grows exponentially. Ultimately you have seemingly transcendental phenomena like life appearing; but it's not magic, it's chaos with power input.
Software systems behave analogously to chemicals in the soup. The code is genetic material; the power input is our intellectual work in crafting software and systems; mutations are code bugs; and catalytic reactions are un-designed behaviour in software resulting from unforeseen conditions and a changing environment and infrastructure.
Software that is used in a changing environment without developer input is moribund. This is analogous to a species in an evolutionary dead-end. A changing environment will increase predation, while it is unable to change to compete. Decline and extinction, or, as you put it, "rot", are inevitable.