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From Rasmus Lerdorf <>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] Apache 1.3 vs 2.0
Date Tue, 02 Mar 2004 08:02:38 GMT
On Tue, 2 Mar 2004, Nick Kew wrote:
> I have the impression the PHP folks are stuck two or three years in
> the past (and growing).  Now we have it from the top ...

None of this really has anything to do with PHP, but since you seem to
think it does I will answer these.

You can add UNIX to this list of things stuck in the past then.  There are
a lot of commonly used UNIX libraries that are not threadsafe.

> Could this be (subconsciously) an artifact of how PHP grew?  Apache 1.x
> was a simple webserver, with limited extensibility outside the main
> handler, so almost all web applications had to live in the handler (e.g.
> CGI and PHP) or separated out (e.g. Tomcat apps).  With 2.x offering an
> altogether more powerful applications platform, PHP's reason to exist is
> by no means eliminated, but is much reduced.  And its weaknesses become
> more important, both because of threaded MPMs being less forgiving,
> and because the alternatives are more attractive.

I didn't really parse this.  PHP is not limited to a single handler.  You
can hook PHP into any stage of the request handling structure you want.
And yes, PHP works with Apache2 as both a filter and a handler.  And which
weaknesses do you mean?  I guess you are alluding to a lack of thread
safety.  PHP itself is threadsafe, but many common UNIX libraries that
people like to link into PHP are not.  This can be solved by disconnecting
PHP from Apache and using a series of pre-forked PHP request handling
processes in either a FastCGI architecture or even by using thttpd or
Apache1 as the request broker.  But there has to be some damn compelling
reason for adding this extra layer of indirection and I simply don't see
this reason in Apache2 yet.

There is nothing wrong with having a more powerful applications platform,
but the person asking this question asked for a web server, not an
applications platform.  They likely don't care that Apache2 can be made
into a pop3 server or an ftp server.  They probably already have pop and
ftp servers that work ok.

> > Even if you don't need any of the many new features in 2.0, you should be
> > aware that almost all development work goes into that codebase.
> Point of order: shouldn't that be 2.x - since 2.0 is the current stable
> version, with some people describing 2.1 in terms like "pretty stable"?

Ah, so we really should be telling everyone to switch to 2.1 at this
point?  Exactly how many people out there are running that server?  It's
not even on the scope yet.  Let's add a bit of realism here and give
people stuff we know works and leave the beta-testing to people who
specifically indicate they are looking for bleeding-edge software.  The
PHP Apache2 filter module has been around for years now, the handler is a
bit newer, but it has also been around for a while.  We need to see bug
reports on these to indicate that people are actually using them.  Until
we see some traction which would require Apache2 to get well beyond its
current 5% marketshare we are going to concentrate our efforts where the
users are.


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