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From "Steinar H. Gunderson" <>
Subject Re: Inclusion of mpm-itk into HEAD
Date Mon, 25 Jun 2007 09:53:31 GMT
On Mon, Jun 25, 2007 at 02:36:41PM +1000, Graham Dumpleton wrote:
> What specific applications are you running that require things to be
> run as a distinct user? Are these applications implemented directly in
> C as custom Apache modules, or are you writing stuff in other
> languages, ie., such as PHP, Perl, running under mod_php or mod_perl?
> What are the perceived reasons that solutions such as mod_fastcgi,
> mod_scgi or the various mod_proxy type solutions wouldn't be a viable
> alternative for hosting your application?

The main point is separating the vhosts better from each other. Think of your
typical PHP application, doing something along the lines of

  $conn = pg_connect("blablabla", "username", "mysupersecretpassword");

Now, since database.php must be readable by www-data, a different user on the
same server could write something along the lines of:

  passthru("cat /srv/vhost1/database.php");

and get the password.

There are various ways of trying to taper over this in the programming
language (such as PHP), but they all have their disadvantages, and they don't
apply to other languages, .htaccess/.htpasswd files, static files, etc.. This
is the specific scenario that mpm-itk is designed to resolve, and it seems to
be a very real problem in a rather large number of real installations.

> Known not to work with current versions of mod_python. This is because
> mod_python uses process mutexes for session locking between processes
> and the changing uid of the processes causes problems with this.
> Possible solutions have been discussed in:

Yes, sorry, I forgot that part. For the record, it also has issues with

> For mod_python based Python applications such as Django and
> TurboGears, which have a memory footprint starting at about 7MB and
> 15MB respectively, any performance loss would not 'just disappear in
> the equation" as the load time for each request would be significant
> given that process would be thrown away after each request and
> everything would need to be reloaded.

Doesn't mod_python load these up-front, so they'd be available before the

/* Steinar */

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