Apache configuration and some OT

Alexander E. Patrakov semzx at newmail.ru
Wed Jul 23 22:25:52 PDT 2003

On Thursday 24 July 2003 03:13, Dagmar d'Surreal wrote:
> > 4) Some scripts that reference themselves also put links to /~smth
> > instead of the location mentioned in request (mostly solved, we just have
> > to tell people about SCRIPT_URL and SCRIPT_URI).
> Yes, tell them about it.  Tell them _not_ using those variables makes
> their scripts non-portable and will be considered bugs...  Bugs that
> will be remembered the next time an employee evaluation comes around.

They are just physicists, chemists and biologists, not web designers. They are 
good in their fields. They just want additional publications. Knowledge of 
the web technologies will not be required from them at their new work place, 
if any.

> > It has been mentioned that mod_rewrite is the wrong solution here. What's
> > right?
> Changing the way you work.  You have outlined an undoable set of
> conditions.

It's always good to know _for sure_ (see OT below) that something is not 
doable. Now we eliminated the directory listings, but left mod_rewrite in 
place. Mapping the external URLs to internal ones, logical to physical, is 
its job. Even an example of moving the document root is in the apache 

<OT severety="critical" offence="high">
Some time ago we could not make fax reception and dial-in service (RAS) work 
together on the same modem under Windows. It has been said by someone that 
it's impossible with our modem. Now we use mgetty under Linux (it works 
perfectly), but the machine suffers from frequent reboots by less educated 
people who just want to write a CD and make sure it will be readable under 
Windows (cdrtools and k3b are installed under Linux, a paper with 
instructions is on the wall). So it is time for me to rethink that "fax+ras 
impossible" statement. If anyone knows a way to enable both fax service and 
RAS under Windows (maybe with some additional costly software), mail me 
privately, and I will remove Linux from that computer. This will be better 
:-( There are people that cannot be taught :-(

> Unless you're ignoring some of the many places on the web where the
> Apache team say that the webserver should run as it's own userid and
> groupid, no one but the webserver and the system administrator should be
> able to read these scripts directly once they're in the DocumentRoot and
> have their permissions set. 

I see. You mean chown apache:apache bad.cgi && chmod 500 bad.cgi

This will require me to copy stuff to DocumentRoot at least once a day. I am 
too lazy. I would rather allow authors to modify their pages, e.g. to add new 
tasks and new tests for students of the biological department.

Although... I shall talk again with my boss. He says "we will drown if we will 
check and publish each page instead of delegating this task to professors". 
But the quality of the published materials is rather bad (e.g. they copied a 
javascript from third-party site without deleting unneeded parts that load 
banners). Again, we should rethink many decisions...

Alexander E. Patrakov

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