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From Daniel Lopez <>
Subject Re: Virtual hosts and bind
Date Thu, 29 Nov 2001 02:41:18 GMT

I think he is just confused and or frustrated with the fact that Apache can
be configured in so many ways. This is great for people that are already
familiar with the server and need that extra power/ configuration options.

Many of the users, however just want it "to work". They dont want to read
that you can do something three different ways or about some obscure cases.
They just want a step by step guide on what they need to do.

Just take a look at the logging directives for example:

LogFormat allows you to have a logging format and a nickname or
just take a nickname or just take a logging format.
If you have the logging format and hte nickname, then it does not have any
secondary effects. If you have only the nicknmae or the format then it will
set the format for the next TransferLog directive. TransferLog is just a
special case of CustomLog.
Then in turn CustomLog can accept either a format string or a nickname.

This allows you much more flexibility but it obscures how to just log stuff
to a file, which is what most people want. It will be much more easier if:

LogFormat only takes two arguments, format and nickname
CustomLog only takes a nickname argument, previously defined on a LogFormat
TransferLog is removed, since is a subset of CustomLog.

I have the feeling that what most users will ever need from Apache is 25% of
all the available directives. All the other 75% is nice and it may be
required in some situations, but I doubt many people use it at all.

On Wed, Nov 28, 2001 at 09:23:59PM -0500, Rich Bowen wrote:
> I have been enduring an extended tirade from a disgruntled user
> regarding the vhosts documentation. I suppose I could share most of his
> notes with the mailing list, but I'm not sure how much good this would
> do. His primary points are as follows:
> 1) There's no step-by-step guide for setting up a virtual host. (I don't
> think that I agree with this, but I admit that I have a somewhat
> different perspective, having done this a few times.)
> 2) The documentation does not tell you what you need to do with DNS in
> order to get virtual hosts working. (I would argue here that we not only
> should not be documenting other products, like bind, but we simply
> can't. It's not possible to provide howtos for all of the possible DNS
> servers that they might be running, even if we wanted to.)
> 3) (This one is a little strange, and I'm not sure I completely
> understand what he's saying) The documentation is too much focused on
> what is possible (ie, as in all the possible configuration directives
> for a given module, for example) and not enough on what real server
> admins are likely to want to do in an average day. He seems to think
> that the per-module documentation, and the lists of directives, are not
> useful. (Assuming I'm understanding the point that he is making, I
> disagree very heartily, remembering the days when I was new to Apache,
> and trying to get it to do things.)
> So, while I completely disagree with the points that he is making, I
> wonder how many other folks feel this way. Are people really having this
> much trouble finding the information that they want in the docs? He
> talked at length about the way that the open source world, and in
> particular linux (with which he drew some sort of analogy to Apache)
> seem to think that users derive "a sort of sexual pleasure from solving
> riddles", meaning, I took it, that the documentation leaves you to
> figure out most things on your own. He also, as far as I can tell, was
> of the opinion that ApacheToday, ApacheWeek, and a variety of different
> books, in particular Apache: The Definitive Guide, comprised part of the
> documentation, and he somehow expected me to be able to do something
> about them. And he made repeated comments about how when he first tried
> to set up Apache, in 1997, the documentation was no help to him at all.
> Anyways, I thought that I would share these thoughts. I'm not entirely
> sure why, since I think that he's way off-base, and, personally, I think
> that the documentation has made significant improvements over the last
> year or two. But, as Bill mentioned earlier, if people have the
> perception that something is wrong, then something probably needs to get
> addressed. I'm just not sure what that is. Thoughts, anyone?
> -- 
> Rich Bowen -
> ReefKnot -
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