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From Alexei Kosut <>
Subject Re: Questions from a venture group
Date Tue, 24 Jun 1997 06:28:40 GMT
On Mon, 23 Jun 1997, Rodent of Unusual Size wrote:

>     I received the attached (slightly reformatted) set of questions.
>     Anyone else who wants to respond, let me know privately and I'll
>     send you his address.

I don't know about responding, but they're an interesting set of
questions, some of which I'll just sort of respond to below.


> 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?

It's free :) Actually, I haven't a clue to the answer to this
one. MIIS is also free if you own NT. Netscape will give their server
away to the same people who can legally use Navigator
freely. Netscape's browser has attained considerable success. Their
server has not. I don't know why.

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

We seem to be doing fine... though I was reading (and this was in the
mainstream press, so I don't know how accurate it is) that, to help
deal with the year 2000 problem, that Oregon has passed a law allowing
people to come out of retirement and go to work to help fix year
2000-related problems without losing their pensions. Get all those old
COBOL programmers to fix their own mess... Maybe in thirty years we
can hire retired Unix programmers to update Apache. Though it already
will work (date-wise) through at least the year 2400.

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

Yes. Bill Gates declared us IIS' greatest threat nearly a year ago,
and we're still here... (knock on wood)

> 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 latter.

> 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?

Probably not. See question 1. On the other hand, Apache has always
been tied in with profit, unlike many other freeware software
projects. There are a number of companies that sell Apache-related
products, and then contribute to the Apache Group's free server in
return. As long as this continues to be the case, Apache will receive
the benefit of payed-for programmers without actually making any
profit itself. (I didn't phrase that well, but I think it's

Ken, if you want to pass that on to the person who asked, that's fine,
but I don't particularly care.

Alexei Kosut <>      The Apache HTTP Server

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