Open Source Parking Lot

The monthly Netcraft Web server survey numbers have been in dispute for years. Critics argue that because the survey measures IP addresses not actual servers, it is an inflated reflection of hosting providers choices.

Has paradise been paved for a parking lot? Go Daddy's switch from Linux to Windows has some Apache fans up in arms.

The April survey brought this issue front and center once again.

Responses may have come in from 80,655,992 sites, an increase of 3.1 million hostnames from March and a new peak in the total number of sites measured, but for Apache it wasn't such a hot month.

April saw the single largest shift in a server's market share in the history of the survey, with Microsoft gaining 4.7 percent and Apache losing 5.9 percent.

The culprit? The domain registrar Go Daddy, which migrated more than 3.5 million hostnames from Linux to Windows. Go Daddy had formerly been the world's largest Linux host; it is now the world's largest Windows Server 2003 host, as measured by hostnames. According to Netcraft, the company plans to shift a total of 4.4 million hostnames to Windows Server 2003 before it's through.

Netcraft said Go Daddy's reason for the switch was that, "It was clear from all of the testing we've conducted that Microsoft provides an efficient and scalable operating platform, while also providing the performance needed to handle our extraordinary growth."

Open source guru Bruce Perens is up in arms over this conspiracy and is taking action.

Calling it "domain parking abuse," Perens accused Microsoft of paying Go Daddy to shift the parked domains to Window-based servers, and launched OpenSourceParking.com, where domain registrars and owners can park their own unused domains on shiny Linux-powered Apache boxes, and thus do their part to counter the evil threat posed on the Web surveys of the world.

Apache, it should be noted, maintains a healthy lead in the survey, capturing 62.72 percent of the market to Microsoft's 25.22 percent.

This article was originally published on Apr 22, 2006
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