Книга: Fedora™ Unleashed, 2008 edition

Building the Source Yourself

Building the Source Yourself

There are several ways to obtain the source code for Apache. Fedora provides SRPMs containing the source of Apache, which include patches to make it work better with the Fedora distribution. The most up-to-date, stable binary version for Fedora can be installed through Pirut, or by installing a source RPM from Fedora's source repository. When you install one of these SRPMs, a tar archive containing the Apache source is created in /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES/.

After you have the tar file, you must unroll it in a temporary directory, such as /tmp. Unrolling this tar file creates a directory called apache_version_number, where version_number is the version you've downloaded (for example, apache_1.3.21).

You can also download the source directly from http://www.apache.org/. The latest version at the time of this writing, 2.2.6, is a 6MB compressed tape archive, and the latest pre-2.0 version of Apache is 1.3.31. Although many sites continue to use the older version (for script and other compatibility reasons), many new sites are migrating to or starting out with the latest stable version.


As with many software packages distributed in source code form for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems, extracting the source code results in a directory that contains a README and an INSTALL file. Be sure to peruse the INSTALL file before attempting to build and install the software.

Using ./configure to Build Apache

To build Apache the easy way, run the ./configure script in the directory just created. You can provide it with a --prefix argument to install it in a directory other than the default, which is /usr/local/apache/. Use this command:

# ./configure --prefix=/preferred/directory/

This generates the makefile that's used to compile the server code.

Next, type make to compile the server code. After the compilation is complete, type make install as root to install the server. You can now configure the server via the configuration files. See the "Runtime Server Configuration Settings" section, later in this chapter, for more information.


A safer way to install a new version of Apache from source is to use the ln command to create symbolic links of the existing file locations (listed in the "Installing from the RPM" section earlier in this chapter) to the new locations of the files. This method is safer because the default install locations are different from those used when the RPM installs the files. Failure to use this installation method could result in your web server process not being started automatically at system startup.

Another safe way to install a new version of Apache is to first back up any important configuration directories and files (such as /etc/httpd) and then use the rpm command to remove the server. You can then install and test your new version and, if needed, easily restore your original server and settings.

It is strongly recommended that you use Fedora's RPM version of Apache until you really know what happens at system startup. No "uninstall" option is available when installing Apache from source!

Apache File Locations After a Build and Install

Files are placed in various subdirectories of /usr/local/apache (or whatever directory you specified with the --prefix parameter) if you build the server from source.

The following is a list of the directories used by Apache, as well as brief comments on their usage:

/usr/local/apache/conf — This contains several subdirectories and the Apache configuration file, httpd.conf. See the "Editing httpd.conf" section, later in this chapter, to learn more about configuration files.

/usr/local/apache — The cgi-bin, icons, and htdocs subdirectories contain the CGI programs, standard icons, and default HTML documents, respectively.

/usr/local/apache/bin — The executable programs are placed in this directory.

/usr/local/apache/logs — The server log files are placed in this directory. By default, there are two log files — access_log and error_log — but you can define any number of custom logs containing a variety of information (see the "Logging" section later in this chapter). The default location for Apache's logs as installed by Fedora is /var/log/httpd.

A Quick Guide to Getting Started with Apache

Setting up, testing a web page, and starting Apache with Fedora can be accomplished in just a few steps. First, make sure that Apache is installed on your system. Either select it during installation or install the server and related RPM files.

Next, set up a home page for your system by editing (as root) the file named index.html under the /var/http/www/html directory on your system. Make a backup copy of the original page or www directory before you begin so that you can restore your web server to its default state if necessary.

Start Apache (again, as root) by using the service command with the keywords httpd and start, like this:

# service httpd start

You can also use the httpd script under the /etc/rc.d/init.d/ directory, like this:

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd start

You can then check your home page by running a favorite browser and using localhost, your system's hostname, or its Internet Protocol (IP) address in the URL. For example, with the links text browser, use a command line like this:

# links http://localhost/

For security reasons, you shouldn't start and run Apache as root if your host is connected to the Internet or a company intranet. Fortunately, Apache is set to run as the user and group apache no matter how it's started (by the User and Group settings in /etc/httpd/httpd.conf). Despite this safe default, Apache should be started and managed by the user named apache, defined in /etc/passwd as:


After you are satisfied with your website, use the setup (select Services) or ntsysv (select httpd) command to ensure that Apache is started properly.

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