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From Howard Fear <>
Subject Re: Questions from a venture group
Date Thu, 26 Jun 1997 03:50:08 GMT

A view from the side...

Rodent of Unusual Size writes:
> 1.  In spite of the press hailing the commercial success of Netscape and
> Microsoft server prodcuts, Apache still holds an impressive share of the
> market.  Although Apache offers a more powerful and customizable
> approach for serious webmasters, is there another customer dynamic that
> the for-profit firms are missing that has allowed Apache to enjoy such
> dominance?

The source code.  You can make Apache do what you need.  And, our
users do.  And they share with each other.  And, those things that are
useful, get incorporated.  Instead of market research by mouth, we
end up with market research by something more valuable - what features
people are willing to spend their limited time writing.

> 2.  Is the pool of sophisticated Unix programmers growing sufficiently to
> support the long term acceptance of Apache?

Running a serious web site takes serious technical skill.  Period.
Regardless of the marketing.  You might as well ask whether there's a
large enough pool of technical skill to support the expansion of the

> 2.  Can Apache maintain its technology amid deep-pocketed rivals with
> plans to dethrone it?

In the immediate future, yes, Apache development doesn't waste time on
glitzy stuff nobody really wants.  Sooner or later, the web will become
passe.  The technology will mature and people who write code will go off
to more interesting things.  Apache will stabalize, as will all the
other servers.  Some people will still run it, but others will go for
name brands.  Of course, system vendors won't be able to make money from
it then.  It becomes just another system component.

> 3.  Is the plan to port Apache to Windows NT, to add Java API support,
> and to provide a graphical interface a direct response to this
> competitive threat and/or is it being requested by a majority of the
> dispersed user group?

The plan is, because people have worked on it and have volunteered
to work on it.  Nothing more, nothing less.

> 4.  If this move succeeds in maintaining, or even increasing the
> installed user base, there will be increased press coverage and
> competitive threats from the likes of Microsoft.  Is it possible that
> Apache ever adopts a for-profit revenue model to maintain its dominant
> web-server presence?

As a fully commercial entity, it would die.  Apache is a great example
of the power of 'free' knowledge and code.
Howard Fear      I'm just a country perl hacker Jim.

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