New version of Apache released--again

The backers of the open-source software project have released version 2.0 for real-world use. This latest version has been a long time coming.

The backers of Apache, one of the more important open-source software projects, have released version 2.0 for real-world use.

Apache, which, along with Linux, is one of the highest-profile open-source software projects, is Web server software that sends Web pages to Internet browsers. Version 2.0 has been in the works for years, with lead programmers initially expecting the version to arrive by the end of 2000.

On Friday, the Apache Software Foundation endorsed version 2.0 for real-world "production" use, not just for test machines. Apache Software Foundation Director Greg Stein designated version 2.0.35 as the first general availability--or final--version, and now recommends it over the earlier 1.3 versions.

The announcement came nearly five months after Covalent Technologies, a venture-backed company that sells Apache along with support and enhancements, decided in November that 2.0 was ready for production use. Covalent employs several of the central Apache programmers.

The new version runs faster; works better on Windows machines--and not just Unix and Linux systems; has integrated support for secure, encrypted communications; and supports more sophisticated publishing systems that create Web pages easily.

Apache competes with Internet Information Server from Microsoft as well as Sun Microsystems' iPlanet Web server. Red Hat, the top seller of Linux, includes an Apache-based Web server package called Stronghold in its products.

According to an ongoing survey from research firm Netcraft, Apache is the most popular Web server software on Internet connected computers, used on 65 percent of the world's Web server systems.

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