[mod_python] focus on shared hosting?

Jim Gallacher jpg at jgassociates.ca
Fri Dec 22 00:15:51 EST 2006

Anthony wrote:
>> Are there really security or resource utilization issues that can't be 
>> over come?
> Yes. Many shared hosting admins contend that they can't isolate
> virtual hosts for one reason or another. Considering that their target
> market for shared hosting is made up of more bloggers and
> blogger/hobbyist programmers than seasoned developers who will be
> extra careful with their processes, I suppose it's reasonable for an
> admin to be afraid.

I'm not sure mod_python is any worse as far as resource utilization is 
concerned. Mod_python 3.0 had the reputation of leaking memory, but 3.2 
fixed alot of the leaks and 3.3 will fix a couple more and in fact is 
looking pretty good on that front. On the other hand isolating virtual 
hosts is going to be difficult because of limitations imposed by the 
interpreter, and I don't see any easy fix. The ultimate answer is 
something like the (now dead) perchild-mpm, but there doesn't seem to be 
much movement in that direction in httpd-land.

> A nifty screencast would be great though, if only to inspire. A demo
> site running small mod_python apps would be great too. I just wrote a
> small CGI app that let's me load up random Garfield comic strips, but
> a cool Ajaxy Flickr/eBay/Amazon search tool would be impressive.
> Admins and hobbyists who want to experiment need to be enticed by
> these presentations... showmanship.

Not just showmanship. I think the screencast idea is pretty good and 
I've certainly seen some that were quite educational. It seems to me 
they work best when you have some sort of GUI to explain though. As good 
as screencasts may be, is there anything worse than watching someone 
type code into an editor?

> I believe if we want to see mod_python widespread on shared hosts, we
> should promote mod_python 2.7 on Apache 1.3. *ducks* 

And so you should. Mod_python 2 is dead. It's not resting. It's not 
pining for the fiords, it's not stunned. It's dead. It's pushin' up the 
daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 
'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the 
curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!

It is, in a word, an Ex-module.

(Gee, I wonder if it was a mistake to check my email after a couple of 
pints down at the local?)

> I use mod_python
> 3 on Apache 2 on my test system, but out there in shared hosting land,
> Apache 1.3 support is a generally a must. I admit I don't know much
> about the differences between MP2 and MP3, but what if MP2 were
> designed specifically to meet the needs of shared hosting admins? A
> kind of mod_python lite if you will.

I've come to accept that the sweet spot for mod_python is somewhat 
higher up the food chain from cheap shared hosting. Mod_python will come 
into it's own as server virtualization becomes the rule for website hosting.

The code for mod_python 2 hasn't really been touched since 2002, and 
Apache 1.3 is considered legacy code as well. Many of the things that I 
find interesting and exciting about mod_python depend on Apache 2 
features. I think it would be hard to find people willing to spend time 
making mod_python 2.x work properly when you consider that it's 
ultimately a dead end. I'd much rather see our resources spent on 
improving the documentation (a widely acknowledged weakness), exploiting 
Apache 2.2 features and general performance improvements.


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