US Report: IBM backs freeware Apache in new app server

As expected, IBM will today roll out its WebSphere application server technology and detail plans for two follow-on versions due later this year.

Central to WebSphere will be the incorporation of Apache, a freeware HTTP server, for which IBM will also provide service and support. Also included in the first lower end WebSphere server will be authoring and scripting tools from NetObjects as well as Java Server Page technology for building scriptable object-based Java applications.

This Autumn, IBM will follow up with the release of an Enterprise JavaBean version of WebSphere as well as a version based on the high-availability technology IBM created for its Nagano Winter Olympics Web site.

The move to support Apache is significant in that IBM is the first major computer company to announce full service and support for the freeware Web server. To date, support has been offered only via Apache newsgroups. At the same time, Apache for more than a year has held the lead spot in Web server market-share studies at times racking up twice as many users as Netscape or Microsoft servers.

IBM demonstrated its WebSphere Performance Pack management software earlier this week at PC Expo in New York.