a patchy web server

I had always been under the impression that Apache (the web server) got its name because they patched the NCSA web server and affectionately called it “A PAtCHy” server. I recently told some friends about the etymology and they didn’t believe me, so I went to the FAQ to show them and was surprised to find that the FAQ denied what I had heard. The FAQ said it was named in honor of the American Indian tribe and that the story I had heard was incorrect. This confused me because I thought I had read the other explanation on the very same FAQ.

I went back in time with the wayback machine and sure enough, the August 31, 2002 version of the FAQ told the version I knew, but somewhere between then and January 24, 2003 it was changed.

It seems like they’re now denying what they once claimed as fact. Did they come across some evidence to disprove the former claim or do they just not like the original story?

I looked it up in a few other sources, including WikiPedia, Brain encyclopedia, free dictionary, and the fact index and all of them cite the original story of the patchy server.

I wonder if Apache is up to something.


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  1. Dude, it’s like 1984. The “man” is going back and changing history and the meaning of words. Personally, I think it’s double-plus good.

    Comment by jason on July 29, 2004 @ 8:15 am
  2. I ♥ the Wayback Machine. I refer to it all the time. Glad to see it served you well!

    As for the etymology…bwahaha! I never knew why it was called Apache, I figured it was just a name drawn out of a hat. Thanks for the story.

    Comment by Meredith on July 29, 2004 @ 9:24 am
  3. The relevant E2 node confirms “A patchy” by the way.

    Comment by Meredith on July 29, 2004 @ 9:26 am
  4. Nice use of the ♥ Meredith. I don’t use the Wayback Machine that much, but this was a perfect use for it.

    Comment by dan on July 29, 2004 @ 9:41 am
  5. Dan
    you are an indifatigable, persevering researcher !

    Comment by sv on July 29, 2004 @ 1:19 pm
  6. Interesting.

    Though the name always seemed odd to me (for a server), I neved bothered to look it up.

    Nice to know the version that Apache has officially “forgotten”.

    Comment by Konstantinos on July 29, 2004 @ 5:47 pm
  7. Thats what i call Political correctness.
    By the way: Your log is really great!

    Comment by Thomas on July 30, 2004 @ 7:05 am
  8. … “a few other sources, including” Wikipedia and some of it’s mirrors ;-)

    Brain encyclopedia: “The Wikipedia content included on this page…”

    free dictionary: “This article was derived fully or in part from an article on Wikipedia.org, …”

    fact index: “This article is from Wikipedia.”

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Mirrors_and_forks

    Comment by Arne on July 30, 2004 @ 8:34 am
  9. Oh. I feel a little silly now. (Not that it changes anything as far as Apache changing their story)

    Comment by dan on July 30, 2004 @ 8:51 am
  10. Now I am curious if there is a cute secret story behind some of Apache’s other product names like “Xerxes”, “Tomcat”, “Cactus”, “Clazz”, “Jetty”, “Batik”, and “Taglibs”.

    Comment by Steve on July 30, 2004 @ 9:07 am
  11. Those darned revisionist historians. I had actually read the same thing recently (a patchy) as an explanation so I found this interesting. They’re probably worried about lawsuits from genuine Apaches.

    Comment by danithew on July 30, 2004 @ 11:55 am
  12. From Wikipedia:


    Check out Apache.

    Comment by fanteja2000 on August 5, 2004 @ 2:54 pm
  13. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pun

    Comment by bobthing on January 24, 2011 @ 2:48 am

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