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[ox-en] Why is Apache so successful?

Hi list!

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Roy T. Fielding by
Kai Tödter. Roy - among other interesting things - is one of the
founders of the Apache Software Foundation and had a crucial role in
developing `Apache HTTPD`_. The Apache HTTPD is the Web server
software from Apache which were their original product and on its
homepage proudly says:

  Apache has been the most popular web server on the Internet since
  April 1996.

The interview was published in JavaSpektrum_ 06/07. I translated two
answers which are of particular interest here.

  Kai: Why is the Apache HTTP server so successful?

  Roy: This has many reasons. We started with a great group of people
  where one half was from commercial organizations and the other were
  PhD students or "fresh" PhDs. Our development team was very diverse.
  A feature needed to be used (and tested) by at least one core
  developer in a live site before it was included in the server.
  Robert Thau developed an excellent modular architecture which was
  designed especially for the Web and which made extensions from third
  parties possible while at the same time kept the robust behavior of
  the server. We had no marketing division which burdened us with
  irrelevant features just because an analyst, a reporter or a manager
  thought it would be important. All our features have been tested on
  real productive sites before they went into the server base. But
  only after they have been checked and acknowledged by three
  independent developers.

  Of course in addition the code is free and Open Source which has
  advantages in itself besides the quality of the resulting
  implementation. In the end this [the HTTPD web server -- SMn] is the
  printing press of the modern age. It would have been a tragedy to
  allow this to be controlled by a "for profit" company. In the end
  for a good part the long time success is a result of that we
  insisted on a cooperative development led by the group with a formal
  voting mechanism to settle disputes instead of a single benevolent
  dictator who decides everything. The project had over 50 core
  developers and more than six technical leaders at different points
  during its history. And it still runs with the same basic principles
  we defined in 1995.

  Kai: Do you think that Open Source changes the (software) world?

  Roy: It already has and many times. The Web is Open Source. The
  whole Internet infrastructure is Open Source. Most of the Closed
  Source software contains at least a little Open Source especially in
  the Java world. Day Software [the company where Roy works as chief
  scientist -- SMn] has several closed source products but nearly all
  our infrastructure software in these products is based on Open
  Source projects which we take part in and which in some cases even
  take a good share of the development effort. We used our Open Source
  engagement to attract some of the world best software developers to
  work for Day Software. In addition we get more advanced and
  intelligent feedback about our core software infrastructure. From
  Open Source users we get important feedback with a far higher chance
  than from commercial customers. Often the Open Source users come
  with detailed research and fixes.

.. _Apache HTTPD:

.. _JavaSpektrum:



Contact: projekt

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