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Delayed Apache software nears release

A major revision to the popular open-source Apache server software has entered beta testing--much later than its developers had hoped.

A major revision to the popular open-source Apache server software has entered beta testing--much later than its developers had hoped.

Apache is used to serve up Web pages. According to a study by research firm Netcraft, Apache is the most popular software package for that task: It's used about three times more often than Microsoft's Internet Information Server, though Microsoft's software is more popular for secure transactions.

Apache 2.0 is a major rewrite expected to make the software faster and better suited to operating systems outside its Unix and Linux stronghold, including Windows. In an interview last August, senior developers said they hoped version 2.0 would be final by the end of 2000.

Instead, the group only posted the first beta version Wednesday, the first day of the ApacheCon meeting in Santa Clara, Calif.

While delays are common in the software business, they still cause problems--even in the open-source world, intertwined with the more traditional computer industry. Apache is used in IBM and HP software products, not to mention on countless corporate Web sites, and is used in software products from Linux specialist Red Hat as well as the less well-known Covalent Technologies.

Covalent, a San Francisco-based company that sells extensions to Apache as well as support for the software, announced that it has made two high-end products available for Windows that previously had been available only for Unix and Linux operating systems.

The first product, Covalent SSL, enables the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption, a key feature for companies that want to shield transactions such as credit card sales from prying eyes.

The other product, Covalent Fast Start Server, is a graphical tool that makes it easier to install a variety of Apache extensions. Both products are available for Windows 2000 and Windows NT, Covalent said.