the djb way



The publicfile package provides a pair of servers for publishing information on a network. The httpd server publishes web pages for browsers, while the ftpd server makes files of any type available for download by ftp. They may be used individually or together.

The publicfile servers have all the usual hallmarks of Bernstein's software: secure, efficient, reliable. They are also very easy to set up. If you have ever gotten balled up in Apache's configuration files, you will be in for a pleasant surprise. publicfile's servers don't even use a configuration file! Just the usual daemontools/ucspi-tcp run scripts, and you're good to go.

Yet for all their simplicity, the publicfile servers are quite capable and flexible. For example, setting up a web server with any number of named virtual hosts is as easy as mkdir(1).

One thing you do need to know up front, though: the publicfile servers are designed strictly for serving. That is, their feature sets are purposefully limited to the requirements of dishing out information on request, rather than receiving it. They do nothing to permit file creation/modification, or running executables on the server.

This means that if you need things like server side scripting, form processing, and/or upload capabilities, publicfile just won't cut it as a replacement for the brand "A" we all know and love so well. (If you need these features, you may want to look at mathopd.)

But if you just need to supply content in a hurry, providing access to a document archive with a publish-only security model, and if you can live with the efficiency and small-footprint, you may find a lot to like in publicfile, and discover many useful applications for it on your own servers.

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, Wayne Marshall.
All rights reserved.

Last edit 2004.02.12, wcm.