Biohazards

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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I wasted a week of my life trying to get tomcat 3.2.x up and going on a solaris machine. The documentation was the worst that I had *ever* run across, with "how-tos" sporadically jumping back and forth between version 3.1 and 3.3, with not one single "clear, concise, consistent" document available for 3.2 (the previously current stable version). Even step involved downloading another package from the jakarta project, trying to figure out *it's* documentation, installing it, testing, and then finally getting back to tomcat just to discover (generally buried in some obscure comment four pages into a mostly-irrelevant faq) that you need to go get something else.

Frankly, it wasn't until I got it going on a debian/x86 machine (apt-get install tomcat) that I was able to trace my way back and install it on solaris. Not that apache itself was much better, trying to get apxs working.

Then, after it was going, I tried to enable .jsp support in all my user's home directories, the same way we do with cgi's (this is intranet, and we have a lot of people running things out of their ~username). Can't be done. Absa-no-freaking way. Either you configure each directory individually, basically "giving" the /public_html/ dir to tomcat and bypassing apache completely, or you make everybody create a new directory and then configure them *individually*. If someone has a work around for this, I would *love* to hear it. Note the main problem is that tomcat doesn't understand the ~ syntax, so the url passed by apache when a .jsp page is requested is "foo.com/~user/baz.jsp", and then tomcat complains that ~user/baz.jsp doesn't exist. This is the #1 reason jsp/servlets aren't used more where I work.

So, I am *eager* to try out this release, and I truly hope that my complaints are now foundless. I would love nothing better than to be proven wrong, that the documentation has been completely overhauled, that it now understands the common ~username, that it works with any jdk besides blackdown's (on linux), and that it basically doesn't suck. But I'm not holding my breath.