Optimizing a web server

Promises of better Apache performance have me lusting after lingerd, a very obscure utility that increases performance for dynamic content. It’s been used on a handful of little sites you might have heard of: Slashdot, Newsforge, and LiveJournal.
Unfortunately there’s no Debian package, which means compiling it myself, which means compiling Apache myself, which also means compiling PHP and MySQL, which means a big ol’ pain, but potentially better performance since I could go crazy on the GCC optimization flags. Hello, -O3 -march=i686!

And if I’m going to compile all that myself, I figure I might as well compile it all myself and get the high performance across the board and get GCC 3.2x into the picture for even better performance. The easy way to do that is with lfs-install, which builds a system based on Linux From Scratch. For workstations I’d rather use something along the lines of Gentoo, but for servers, LFS is small, mature, and reasonably conservative.

Supposedly metalog offers improved performance over the more traditional syslogd or sysklogd. The good news is that those who are more sane than me and sticking with Debian for everything can take advantage of a Debian package (at least in unstable), and just apt-get away.

If I have any sanity left, I’ll think about minit to replace SystemVInit and save me about 400K of memory in a process that’s always running, and fgetty to save me a little more. I’ve tried fgetty in the past without success; it turns out fgetty requires DJB’s checkpassword in order to work.

Keep in mind I haven’t tried any of this yet. But the plan sounds so good in my current sleep-deprived state I couldn’t help but share it.

8 thoughts on “Optimizing a web server

  • March 5, 2003 at 4:22 pm
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    Both links are missing a closing “/”

    Try: http://www.fefe.de/minit/
    htt://www/fefe.de/fgetty/

    I needed a brief change of pace (:-)

    Dave, Hope the cold’s getting better.

    Dave Spooner

  • March 5, 2003 at 5:32 pm
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    I wrote an entire tutorial for IBM developerWorks on enhancing Apache’s performance. Go on over to http://www.ibm.com/developerWorks and look for it there. (It was published in July of last year, I believe.)

  • March 11, 2003 at 3:51 pm
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    as a newbie,i was leaning toward getting Xandros Desktop,which came from corel linux,becasue it has codeweaver,you can access MS apps within Xandros Desktop.Cpmments?

    i remember 5 years ago,i was in Canada,and the deposed CEO of corel,was threating to destroy MSHaft!

    now he & corel are toast

    “I think Microsoft’s goal when they made the investment was primarily to take away the possibility Corel could fall into some other hands and could become a serious business threat,” he said. “They don’t have to worry anymore, because Corel has pretty well failed at everything they’ve done. They’re clearly not a player of the office suite market anymore, and the graphics business is in a tailspin.”
    ……………..

    Microsoft to sell stake in Corel
    Microsoft is preparing to sell its stake in struggling Canadian software maker Corel at a loss of more than $100 million. Vector Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, announced this week that its Vector CC Holdings arm has signed an agreement with Microsoft to buy the company’s 22.89 million preferred shares in Corel. The deal will be completed by March 24.

    Vector will pay about 56 cents a share, according to the announcement, bringing the total value of the deal to $12.88 million. Microsoft paid $135 million in October 2000 to acquire a 24.6 percent share of Corel, best known for its WordPerfect office applications and graphics software.

    The deal was seen as a life preserver for Corel, then struggling with the fallout from a failed merger with software maker Inprise, recent executive departures and layoffs.

    Microsoft at the time characterized the deal as a strategic relationship to promote its Microsoft.Net initiative to deliver software as Web-based services.

    Since then, however, Corel has yet to play a significant role in Microsoft’s .Net efforts and instead has rolled out several initiatives that take aim at Microsoft’s dominance of the office applications market.

    Paul DeGroot, an analyst with research firm Directions on Microsoft, said that as Microsoft.Net has evolved over the past few years, support in desktop applications–a major goal in the Corel investment–has become less important to Microsoft. And Corel’s recent WordPerfect moves haven’t built any love between the companies.

    “Things have changed a lot since Microsoft made that investment,” he said. “Corel has become more of a competitor; they’ve become more explicit in taking on Microsoft Office.”

    And with the antitrust case against Microsoft settled, DeGroot added, “There’s less of a need for Microsoft to show interest in keeping independent software vendors going.”

    Jeffrey Tarter, editor of software industry newsletter SoftLetter, said Corel’s market share has slipped so much that Microsoft no longer has a reason to be interested in the company. “I think Microsoft’s goal when they made the investment was primarily to take away the possibility Corel could fall into some other hands and could become a serious business threat,” he said. “They don’t have to worry anymore, because Corel has pretty well failed at everything they’ve done. They’re clearly not a player of the office suite market anymore, and the graphics business is in a tailspin.”

    Corel has posted significant losses in the past few years and has gone through several rounds of layoffs.

    While the software maker made a number of high-profile customer wins for WordPerfect last year, the company is pinning much of its comeback hopes on tools that add XML (Extensible Markup Language) functions to common types of documents.

    Vector said in a statement that it plans to help build Corel’s business. “While we realize that Corel has faced many challenges in recent years, at its core is a solid foundation of advanced products, dedicated and talented employees and loyal customers,” Alex Slusky, managing partner for Vector, said in the statement. “We look forward to working with the Corel team to leverage these strengths.”

    A Corel representative confirmed the pending sale and referred to a statement by Corel CEO Derek Burney. “By becoming the company’s largest shareholder, Vector is demonstrating its confidence in Corel’s strong business fundamentals and potential for growth,” Burney said. “Corel remains focused on achieving profitability in 2003, and we believe that having Vector as a major shareholder will add positive value to our organization.”
    http://news.com.com/2100-1012-992014.html?tag=fd_top

  • March 11, 2003 at 6:38 pm
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    No server stuff, but a Good Enough Linux for desktop use. Worth the money.

  • March 15, 2003 at 2:44 pm
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    Dave (or anyone else),
    Not sure if you tried to run lfs-install but I am having a very hard time figuring out how. I untarred the lfs-packages and the lfs-install but I can’t find any instructions that might show me how to run the install. I ran ‘./ lfs-install.sh’ but I am not sure what that is doing. There is no HOW-TO anywhere. Any help is appreciated.
    .
    mb

  • March 16, 2003 at 6:00 pm
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    AH, I think you run ./install-lfs.sh.
    .
    mb

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