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From "Ralf S. Engelschall" <>
Subject RfD: new Announcement message
Date Tue, 14 Apr 1998 08:05:06 GMT

Last week Martin and I discussed the fact that our 1.3 beta release cycle is
not very well monitored by our users. At least not by such amount of users we
would like. One indicator for this is that major bugs are found only a long
time after they were introduced. If more people would actively participate in
the 1.3 beta release cycle this should not be the case. Our question was: how
can we change this?  One idea was to enhance our Announcement messages we post
for each release to make sure the users really get awake for Apache 1.3 and
participate even if Apache 1.3 still is declared beta.

So, over the weekend I met two sysadmin-friends which both use Apache 1.2 at
their company and asked them why they still haven't tried Apache 1.3. The
answer was mostly the same Martin and I discovered: They saw the Announcement,
it looked as always in the last years and decided that Windows NT support is
not worth trying a beta-release. ARGL! Exactly what Martin and I thought, too.
We really provide a lot more in Apache 1.3 then Windows NT support. But they
never recognized this when a new release was announced.

So, today I spent a few hours and rewrote the Announcement file according to
some basic marketing requirements:

  - the text has to be as less as possible because the
    user don't want to read a long announcement text. 

  - the URL where to grab information and distributions
    have to be included. Including an URL to the 
    document with the mirror sites for fast access.

  - for the users convenience a compact summary of
    all major changes have to be included with short
    hints where the user can find out more about each change

  - the changes list is a list of changes between 1.2 and 1.3 and
    not only 1.3b5 and 1.3b6 while the latter ones are just
    marked for quick overview.

I now sent this message at least to one of my friends and he
immediately said: "Hey, when is 1.3b6 out? Looks like Apache 1.3
would give me a lot of great enhancements. I've to try it." I
imply that this difference is because now the announcement text
is no more just a prosa text of the type
Instead it at least provides the essentials in sorted order for
quick overview and thus creates a little bit more interest for
the reader.

I really don't know if I'm correct with my opinion, I just try
something out to improve the user-feedback for the 1.3 beta
release cycle. Feel free to proof me wrong or instead help me to
improve the Announcement even more.

I append my version of the Announcement file below.

                                       Ralf S. Engelschall

 Apache 1.3 Beta 6 Released

 The Apache Group is pleased to announce the release of the 1.3b6 version 
 of Apache, the latest beta release of the Apache HTTP server.

 Apache has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April of
 1996. The Web Server Survey by Netcraft (
 found that more web servers were using Apache than any other software. Apache
 and its derivatives are run on over 50% of all web domains on the Internet.
 The Apache project has been organized in an attempt to answer some of the
 concerns regarding active development of a public domain HTTP server for
 Unix. The goal of this project is to provide an open-source, secure,
 efficient and extensible server which provides HTTP services in sync with the
 current HTTP standards. For more information about the Apache project check

 To grab the latest Apache distribution, check out
 and the huge list of available "Internal Mirror Sites" at

 For a detailed list of changes please read the CHANGES file in the
 distribution and the "New Features with Apache 1.3" document at  For your convenience here
 is a short summary of all major changes between Apache 1.2 and 1.3 (changes
 introduced between last 1.3b5 release and current 1.3b6 release are
 additionally marked with a plus sign):

   -  Ported to Windows 95/NT
        (see README.NT and htdocs/manual/windows.html)
   -  Ported to BS2000/OSD, a mainframe OS with EBCDIC charset 
        (see src/README.EBCDIC)
   +  Apache Autoconf-style Interface (APACI) for out-of-the-box installation
        (see README.configure and INSTALL)
   +  Dynamic Shared Object (DSO) support for all major Unix platforms 
        (see src/README.DSO and src/modules/standard/mod_so.c)
   +  APache eXtenSion (APXS) tool for building third-party modules as DSO
        (see src/README.DSO and src/support/apxs.8)
   +  Additional support tools: apachectl, ab (ApacheBench), dbmmanage
        (see src/support/{apachectl,ab,dbmmanage}.1)
   +  Enhanced configuration support: Include and Line-Continuation
        (see htdocs/manual/new_features_1.3.html)
   -  New `Magic' MIME-typing module for content type guessing 
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_mime_magic.html)
   -  Regular Expression support for Alias and Redirect directives
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_alias.html)
   +  Overhauled and enhanced URL Rewriting Engine
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_rewrite.html)
   -  Spell-checking module for on-the-fly URL corrections
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_speling.html)
   -  Additional access control via CIDR and Netmasks
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_access.html)
   -  Improved HTTP/1.1-style Virtual Host support
        (see htdocs/manual/vhost/index.html)
   -  Less Buffering of CGI Script Output (makes nph- obsolete)
        (see htdocs/manual/new_features_1.3.html)
   +  Various Proxy Enhancements (NoProxy, ProxyDomain, ProxyPassReverse)
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_proxy.html)
   -  Various internal performance improvements
        (see htdocs/manual/new_features_1.3.html)
   -  Various fixes to the hostname DNS lookup handling
        (see htdocs/mod/core.html#hostnamelookups)
   -  Various Directory Indexing enhancements
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_autoindex.html)
   -  Various Logging enhancements (Reliable Piped Logs, Named Log Formats)
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/{core,mod_log_custom}.html)
   -  Unique Identifiers
        (see htdocs/manual/mod/mod_unique_id.html)
   -  Source tree reorganization
        (see htdocs/manual/sourcereorg.html)
   +  Big Symbol Renaming to avoid symbol clashes with third-party code
        (see htdocs/manual/sourcereorg.html)
   -  API Additions
        (see htdocs/manual/new_features_1.3.html)

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