Sunday, February 27, 2005

Happy Birthday Apache

So Roy Fielding posted to the httpd mailing list today to let people know that 10 years ago today the Apache project really got off the ground with the initial creation of its first source repository and user accounts for developers.

I was a little curious what it was like back then, so I've been reading over the list archives (check it out, they really do go all the way back) and man was it a different world...

There was no CVS back then, they were using RCS, with local user accounts and manual merging of patches.

There was a lot of discussion of incompatibilities between various clients, the same as today, but at far lower levels than I'd expected. It's easy to forget that at one point basic things like forms and CGI didn't always work the way you'd expect.

Apache was a purely forking server at that point, and that fact went far enough that the code in the child process didn't even bother to free memory, although you can see the discussions of what would eventually become the memory pools used to day in APR.

There was no autoconf, just manual ifdefs for each platform.

Apache's own web server on hyperreal.org seems to have been down rather often in the early days ;-)

Perhaps most interesting are the people involved, some of whom are still active in the ASF, some of whom are not, but regardless we all owe them a great deal, and it's nice to be reminded of that every now and then.

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