Last week, I was in London for ApacheCon 2000. In a break from my usual subjects, this will be a brief overview of the conference, touching on the highlights and some of the things that were talked about there.
Combining a technical conference and a family vacation can be a dangerous thing to do, since both of them require your full attention. So we went to London a week earlier, so that we would have some time to see the sights before the conference started. London is a pretty cool place, in both senses of the term, and we had a good time looking around, but often wished that we had dressed a little warmer. (Editor's note: I was lucky enough to have dinner with Rich, his family, and Ken Coar at ApacheCon. His daughter is cuter than a button.)
OK, enough about our vacation. ApacheCon started Monday morning, bright and early, with a welcome by Ken Coar, the vice president of the Apache Software Foundation, and another writer for ApacheToday.com. It was still rather early, so we were still trying to get moving. There were already some technical problems, with the network not quite functional yet, and so Ken had to work around this and various other problems.
Lucent had signed on to provide wireless networking, but did not actually end up doing so, so several folks brought their own personal wireless networking equiment and set up a wireless network which worked pretty well most of the time.
After Ken's welcome, I attended the Apache Projects Overview, led by Daniel Lopez Ridruejo, the author of Comanche, and a Covalent Technologies employee. Daniel talked about the various projects under the ASF umbrella, how they are organized, and, in particular, how the Apache Server is organized, how it works, and how the development process operates.
In the next hour, as much as I wanted to attend Ryan Bloom's talk about Apache 2.0, I had to attend the talk about Apache on Windows, because I was the speaker. I talked about Apache 1.3 running on Windows, and tricks and tips of setting it up and keeping it running.
Because there were so many sessions, and so little time to cram them all in, lunch ran concurrently with some sessions, so one had to either go without, or choose to skip some to go eat. This is a problem with any conference, and the planning committee actually did a fantastic job scheduling sessions so that you could, for the most part, attend things that were along a certain area of interest.
After lunch, I went to Ryan's talk about modules on Apache 2.0. 2.0 gives modules much more control over the order in which they are called, and how they interoperate with other modules. Filters are a new way for content to be modified while it is on the way out to the client. Some very cool things are going into 2.0. In answer to the question that was asked every 5 minutes ("When is 2.0 coming out?"), Ryan said that we could expect a beta release soon. For some definition of soon. As with any Open Source project, things are ready when they are ready, which is when people have time and motivation to work on it. If you need something sooner, download the code and start working.
At 3 p.m., I gave a introductory talk about the Apache Server, aimed at beginners that were at the conference to figure out what this Apache thing is all about. It was very well attended, and generated some really good questions that I'll need to roll back into the presentation for the next time, and some which might turn into good articles! :-)