Apache 1.3.23 Hits the Web

The Apache Software Foundation and The Apache Server Project Friday released a new version of the world’s most popular web server software, principally as a bug fix and mod_proxy improvement.

“We consider Apache 1.3.23 to be the best version of Apache available and we strongly recommend that users of older versions, especially of the 1.1.x and 1.2.x family, upgrade as soon as possible,” the two organizations said Friday. “No further releases will be made in the 1.2.x family.”

However, due to the widespread deployment of the 1.3 stream, more point releases of that version isn’t out of the question, one of Apache’s developers told InternetNews. According to Netcraft, half of the top 10 most requested sites over the last 30 days run Apache, version 1.3.x.

The latest Apache HTTP server — Apache 1.3.23
fixes a number of bugs. It fixes the incorrect “Content-Length” header in the 416
response and reverts mod_negotiation’s handling of path_info and query_args to the 1.3.20 behavior. It also prevents an Apache model
from being loaded or added twice due to duplicate LoadModule or AddModule directives.

As for new features, 1.3.23 adds HTTP/1.1 support for mod_proxy and makes a number of other mod_proxy improvements. The new version
also sports the new “FileETag” directive to allow one to build the format of the ETag via runtime directives. It also adds a “filter
callback” function to enable modules to intercept the output byte stream for dynamic page caching.

A far more robust slate of new features is expected when the Apache Software Foundation releases the highly anticipated Apache 2.0, which among other things will
offer Multi-Processing Modules, a new Apache Portable Runtime, a filtering mechanism that allows users to run the output of a Common
Gateway Interface (CGI) script through a series of processing modules, and compatibility Windows NT’s unicode file names.

However, the latest point release of 1.3 isn’t the last before the release of 2.0 or even after, said Ken Coar, Ken Coar, a senior software engineer at IBM and vice president of the Apache Software Foundation.

“I think it’s likely that there’ll be at least one more point release of 1.3, if not more, before 2.0 comes out. And there may be additional point releases of 1.3 even after that due to its widespread deployment,” Coar said in an email exchange.

Still any changes that do come along in the near future won’t be in the form of a major feature rollout.

“1.3 is effectively in ‘feature’ freeze, unless there is overwhelming support for a specific change. HTTP/1.1 proxy support (new in 1.3) was in development since 2000, and had been distributed as an incremental patch for a long while,” said Bill Rowe, senior software engineer at Covalent Technologies Inc.

Coar has previously said Apache 2.0 will likely come in the spring.

— Bob Liu contributed to this article.

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