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From Chuck Murcko <>
Subject FWW '96 report
Date Sat, 24 Aug 1996 14:45:45 GMT
Well, it's been a couple of weeks since the FWW (Federal Webmaster's Work-
shop), and the dust is settling at my desk, so I guess it's time to report
a bit of what happened:

1) John Wells of NSF and I surveyed about 900 federal .gov sites before the
   workshop, and found the following distribution of servers (with
   comparison to the Netcraft numbers for all .gov sites):

Table 1 Federal and .gov sites
July, 1996
           Murcko & Wells Survey   Netcraft Survey
                Number   Percent  Number   Percent

Free Servers
NCSA               502      55.5    1084      50.9
Apache              72       8.0     182       8.5
NCSA Based         574      63.5    1266      59.4
CERN                72       8.0     201       9.4

Total Free         646      71.5    1467      68.8

Commercial Servers *
Netscape            86       9.5      195      9.3
WebSite             30       3.3       85      4.0 
WebSTAR             27       3.0       80      3.8
Purveyor            20       2.2       33      1.6
Microsoft           13       1.4       61      2.9

OSU                 11       1.2       21      1.0
Oracle               2       0.2       2        .2
IBM                  3       0.3       2        .3

All Other           62       6.9     149       7.0
* Commercial include software currently offered for free.

Total Number of sites Surveyed
  Netcraft  Survey of .gov sites:             2131
  Murcko/Wells survey of federal sites only:   904

   The full survey page is at

   An interesting side note is that DOJ was and is still running NCSA 1.5.1,
   so I suspect some other problem with the recent crack.

2) John and I made significant progress at setting up an interoperability
   vendor consortium, getting commitments from NSF/NCSA, Apache (me, as
   contact point), IBM, Microsoft, Netscape, Oracle, Verity, and basically
   the rest of the vendors at the workshop. We hosted a demo site at, but we have a domain name for the 'real' site
   and will be building that up in the coming weeks. The demo site and
   session illustrated the Apache process of dealing with the Netscape
   keepalive behavior to illustrate why such a site (where problems between
   WWW components can be dealt with, with contact points for participating
   vendors, a user reporting mechanism, and problem tracking and solution/
   workaround archives) is needed. We'll be setting up another site as a
   primary, with the demo site as an eventual mirror.

3) Beth Franks announced during the server sessions that Mosaic 3.0 and httpd
   1.6 would be the last supported releases from NCSA. She is recommending
   that NCSA users plan to switch to Apache in future. Plans for an public
   announcement of this are not yet firm, and Beth agreed with me that
   if/when this happens, we should coordinate for an Apache press release.

   NCSA will be returning to concentration on WWW R & D, like the Hacksaw
   httpd (Java-based), etc.

4) We had some good sessions on server performance and questions from
   webmasters, as well. Simon Spero, Jack McCann (who did the performance
   enhancements on the DEC Unix TCP stack for AltaVista), and Michelle
   Butler/Beth Franks helped out. Interestingly, the first question asked
   at the server performance session concerned the Netscape keepalive
   problem. People do seem to be concerned about this.

Just thought you'd like to know...

Chuck Murcko	N2K Inc.	Wayne PA
And now, on a lighter note:
Math is like love -- a simple idea but it can get complicated.
		-- R. Drabek

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