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From Alexei Kosut <>
Subject Re: Apache 1.1b4... where is it?
Date Sun, 16 Jun 1996 20:51:45 GMT
On Sun, 16 Jun 1996, Ben Laurie wrote:

> > 2) Autoconfiscation
> I'm still not in favour of this. As I've said before, it is nice for those
> platforms on which it is tested, but awful when it hits one on which it has not
> been tested and turns out not to work. In other words, it hinders portability.
> I'd rather go for autodetection of the platform combined with something similar
> to Configure (only better, for instance, I'd like to see module-dependant
> libraries handled nicely).

I disagree. Entirely. 100%. Absolutely. Without question. I don't see
how you can say that autoconf is worse than the current approach for
untested systems. Okay, let's compare. We'll take two Unix OSes none
of us have ever heard of, because I made them up. FIX and
Woodch-UX. We'll also take a look at a common OS, let's say Solaris
2.5. Now, let's compare scenarios. First, with Configure, or any
other platform-dependent approach:

Solaris: 1. Looks at Configuration.
         2. Finds the Solaris lines, uncomments them.
         3. Runs Configure

FIX: 1. Looks at Configuration.
     2. Doesn't find FIX lines.
     3. Is screwed, unless he knows to modify conf.h and knows what
        his system supports.
Woodch-UX: 1. Looks at Configuration
           2. Doesn't find Woodch-UX lines.
           3. Is scrwed, unless he knows to modify conf.h and knows
              what his system supports.

So, under your approach, assuming a non-Unix expert (and with 30,000
users of our server, that's a good bet for most of them), only one of
our three platforms works.

Now let's try autoconf:

Solaris: 1. types 'configure'. It correctly identifes his system's
         2. 'make' and it's done.

FIX: 1. types 'configure'. It correctly identifies his system's features.
     2. 'make' and it's done.

Woodch-UX: 1. types 'configure'. It tries to identify his system's
              features and fails.
           2. User is screwed unless he knows to modify config.h and
              what his system supports.

Now, with autoconf, 2/3 of the systems works, even though no one's
ever hears of the FIX operating system. Not only that, for the systems
that do work (which are probably 95% of them), it's a lot simpler for
the user. They don't even need to know the name of their system, or

I simply don't see how autoconf can make things worse. Only
better. RST's Apache-XX package as it stands now is absolutely a mess,
configuration wise. You need to edit three Makefiles, plus several
configuration files. And right now, it only knows six OSes for
defaults. Do we really want to track down every OS under the sun and
write defaults for it? Wouldn't it be easier to let autoconf do it for


> We need an HTTP/1.1 to comply with!

Trust me, by the time we're ready to release 1.2/2.0/whatever,
HTTP/1.1 will be  ready. It's been sent to the IESG to be approved, so
hopefully, soon. Maybe even within a month or so.


> > However, no doubt the threading package will induce major portability
> > problems.
> Actually, I think not. Either one of the two "nice" strategies works, or
> someone has to figure out what is in a jmp_buf and manually code it. If
> autoconf can do this I'll be very surprised.

Well, okay... if it doesn't induce major portabiliy problems, I'll be


> > Well, my brain feels like its turning into clam chowder, which is
> > either due to 1) I'm tired, or 2) I've got Weird Al on my CD player,
> > and he's turned up way too loud. Probably a combination of the two.
> > 
> > Thoughts?
> Who is Weird Al?

"Weird Al" Yankovic is a singer. He does parodies of popular (and
unpopular) rock songs and other fun, humorous, stuff.

Alexei Kosut <>      The Apache HTTP Server

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