heliod – Oracle iPlanet Web Server forked as open source

Prior to the Oracle acquisition, I used to be a fan of Sun Microsystems’ web server product, Sun Java System Web Server. It had serious enterprise lineage, a terrific web admin BUI which beat the pants off Apache, and was free, free, freeeee. Needless to say, that all changed once Oracle bungled onto the scene, along with a whole bunch of other stuff.

A little known fact however is that Sun had open-sourced the core of their web server prior to Oracle taking over, releasing it as the Sun Open Web Server. But other than a few headlines at the time of the announcement (such as here) everything went very quiet shortly after – and no doubt I am sure due to Oracle not wanting to advertise the zero-cost availability of the guts of their “re-branded” megabucks flagship web server, now known as Oracle iPlanet Web Server.

So, imagine my surprise to find that one of the original engineers behind Sun Open Web Server (Jyri Virkki) has forked the code open-sourced those three or so years ago and is now actively developing it. Yes, it lives, and is known as heliod web server:

http://173.255.252.27/jyri/articles/index.php/web-server/

Francois Dion has a great write-up here as well:

http://solarisdesktop.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/netscape-sun-oracle-no-heliod-web-server.html

Attempting to launch heliod on OpenIndiana oi_151a x86, I was met with the following error:

$ ./bin/startserv 
ld.so.1: parsexml: fatal: libicui18n.so.3: open failed: No such file or directory
./bin/startserv: line 63: 12686: Killed
failure: temporary directory  is not writable by user root

This is due to the library/icu package not being present – so install it if it’s missing and it’ll start up fine:

Installing the ICU package on OpenIndiana

$ ./bin/startserv &
[1]	3692
dave@mymachine:/opt/heliod/https-testserver$ heliod Web Server 0.1 B03/08/2011 21:59
info: CORE3016: daemon is running
info: HTTP3072: http-listener-1: http://mymachine:80 ready to accept requests
info: CORE3274: successful server startup
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3 thoughts on “heliod – Oracle iPlanet Web Server forked as open source

  1. Jyri Virkki

    Thanks for the interest… Sadly it is not really being actively developed, as all I did was fork the codebase to preserve it and added a minimal installer to make it a little easier to get started if anyone wants to play with it.

    While I have a few ideas on work I’d like to do, remains to be seen if I have any free time to make it happen. That said if anyone is interested I’d encourage joining the mailing list (on sourceforge). There’s probably only a few people in the world using this server today, so at least it is a way to share experiences.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: heliod web server: fast then, still fast today « Dave Koelmeyer

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