Interestingly, Vision for Apache is defined by Focus Array as a “Closed-Source/Open-Design” project. This means that you don’t get the source, but “everyone” has input to the design of the product. I’m not exactly sure what that means. This is a commercial product, make no bones about it.
It’s free for noncommercial use, but if you use it under commercial activities, Focus expects you to register it for 99 pounds (around US$159). But that also includes 12 months of service, so you can consider it a service fee. Focus is based in Great Britain, which may effect how useful this service is to you. Also, purchasing the license provides you with some updates that non-license holders don’t get, or don’t get as quickly as you do.
I downloaded Vision for Apache right from the Focus Array Web site to give it a good going over. I tested it on a shrink-wrapped version of Red Hat 6.1, which was my prime testbed. I also tried it on a PII-300 running Windows 98, just to see how well it worked there. I ran into no troubles during my limited testing on Windows. I even tried it on an Apple Imac running MacOS 8.6, but with no luck at all. The reason is pretty weird: Vision for Apache uses filenames that have more than the Mac’s 31 character limit.
Why Vision for Apache needs more than 31 characters for a filename is beyond me, but it’s a shame that Mac users are, once again, given such short consideration. I hear that Focus will support the Mac in later versions. Finally, I also used the Java implementation provided on the Vision for Apache Web site, since most people will most probably do that. Vision for Apache requires the JFC/Swing JavaBeans in Java 2.
Downloading and installing Vision for Apache presented no problems whatsoever. Before you can actually run Vision for Apache, you must merge all your Apache configuration files (httpd.conf, srm.conf, and access.conf) to a single httpd.conf file. That’s not necessarily a big deal; most people have done that anyway and the later versions of Apache ship that way as well.
If, however, you prefer keeping the three configuration files, Vision for Apache is not for you as it requires this merging. It also requires that this merged file abide by some commenting rules as well, so even if you have a single httpd.conf file, you will still most likely need to hand-edit your file.
( A short note: if you do need to merge your files, be sure to add:
to your new httpd.conf file. This isn’t mentioned in the Vision for Apache docs, but it’s required to allow Apache to start without the other two files.)