The Apache Project is a collaborative software development effort aimed at creating a robust, commercial-grade, featureful, and freely available source code implementation of an HTTP (Web) server.
The project is jointly managed by a group of volunteers located around the world, using the Internet and the Web to communicate, plan, and develop the server and its related documentation. These volunteers are known as the Apache Group. In addition, hundreds of users have contributed ideas, code, and documentation to the project. This file is intended to briefly describe the history of the Apache Group and recognize the many contributors.
History of Apache
In February of 1995, the most popular server software on the Web was the public domain HTTP daemon developed by Rob McCool at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. However, development of that httpd had stalled after Rob left NCSA in mid-1994, and many webmasters had developed their own extensions and bug fixes that were in need of a common distribution. A small group of these webmasters, contacted via private e-mail, gathered together for the purpose of coordinating their changes (in the form of "patches"). Brian Behlendorf and Cliff Skolnick put together a mailing list, shared information space, and logins for the core developers on a machine in the California Bay Area, with bandwidth donated by HotWired. By the end of February, eight core contributors formed the foundation of the original Apache Group:
Brian Behlendorf Roy T. Fielding Rob Hartill
David Robinson Cliff Skolnick Randy Terbush
Robert S. Thau Andrew Wilson
with additional contributions from
Eric Hagberg Frank Peters Nicolas Pioch
Using NCSA httpd 1.3 as a base, all of the published bug fixes and worthwhile enhancements that could be found are added, tested the result on our own servers, and made the first official public release (0.6.2) of the Apache server in April 1995. By coincidence, NCSA restarted their own development during the same period, and Brandon Long and Beth Frank of the NCSA Server Development Team joined the list in March as honorary members so that the two projects could share ideas and fixes.
The early Apache server was a big hit, but the group knew that the codebase needed a general overhaul and redesign. During May-June 1995, while Rob Hartill and the rest of the group focused on implementing new features for 0.7.x (like pre-forked child processes) and supporting the rapidly growing Apache user community, Robert Thau designed a new server architecture (code-named Shambhala) which included a modular structure and API for better extensibility, pool-based memory allocation, and an adaptive pre-forking process model. The group switched to this new server base in July and added the features from 0.7.x, resulting in Apache 0.8.8 (and its brethren) in August.
After extensive beta testing, many ports to obscure platforms, a new set of documentation (by David Robinson), and the addition of many features in the form of the group’s standard modules, Apache 1.0 was released on December 1, 1995.
Less than a year after the group was formed, the Apache server passed NCSA's httpd as the #1 server on the Internet. According to the survey by Netcraft, it retains that position today.
In 1999, members of the Apache Group formed the Apache Software Foundation to provide organizational, legal, and financial support for the Apache HTTP Server. The foundation has placed the software on a solid footing for future development.
Why Apache is Free?
Apache exists to provide a robust and commercial-grade reference implementation of the HTTP protocol. It must remain a platform upon which individuals and institutions can build reliable systems, both for experimental purposes and for mission-critical purposes. The group believes the tools of online publishing should be in the hands of everyone, and software companies should make their money providing value-added services such as specialized modules and support, amongst other things. The group realizes that it is often seen as an economic advantage for one company to "own" a market - in the software industry that means to control tightly a particular conduit such that all others must pay. This is typically done by "owning" the protocols through which companies conduct business, at the expense of all those other companies. To the extent that the protocols of the World Wide Web remain "unowned" by a single company, the Web will remain a level playing field for companies large and small. Thus, "ownership" of the protocol must be prevented, and the existence of a robust reference implementation of the protocol, available absolutely for free to all companies, is a tremendously good thing.
Furthermore, Apache is an organic entity; those who benefit from it by using it often contribute back to it by providing feature enhancements, bug fixes, and support for others in public newsgroups. The amount of effort expended by any particular individual is usually fairly light, but the resulting product is made very strong. This kind of community can only happen with freeware -- when someone pays for software, they usually aren't willing to fix its bugs. One can argue, then, that Apache's strength comes from the fact that it's free, and if it were made "not free" it would suffer tremendously, even if that money were spent on a real development team.
The Group wants to see Apache used very widely -- by large companies, small companies, research institutions, schools, individuals, in the intranet environment, everywhere -- even though this may mean that companies who could afford commercial software, and would pay for it without blinking, might get a "free ride" by using Apache. The group would glad if some commercial software companies completely dropped their own HTTP server development plans and used Apache as a base, with the proper attributions as described in the LICENSE file.
(Source-- http://httpd.apache.org )
Go to http://httpd.apache.org and download the Apache installer
2. Installing Apache