Windows compatibility on OSX just got better


Parallels Desktop, the app that lets you run a virtual copy of Windows or Linux on your Mac, has just gotten better with the announcement of the forthcoming version 3 which adds two really snazzy features:

  • You can now set software on one of the OSes (Windows on the virtual machine, or the host OSX) to run software on the other side when it is launched, e.g. if you're running Outlook on the virtual Windows you can launch attachments in OSX apps without any stupid fiddling. Awe-Shum!
  • 3D support for games and other uses; how well this works is left to be seen, but it will hopefully mean being able to run Diablo 1 at the very least :)

Free backup app - Genie Games Backup


Despite its name, Genie Games Backup is a general purpose backup utility for Windows that lets you make backups of any files you want, and run the backup either manually or on an automatic schedule. While their fully-fledged commercial products work wonders, I'm personally amazed they're giving away something so fully fledged for free. Well worth trying out if you don't already have a backup utility.

Migrate SSL certs from IIS to Apache


Migrating away from IIS feels like taking a breath of air on a cool, crisp morning - it is thoroughly invigorating and refreshes your entire body^H^H^H^Hserver. Aside from the basic site configuration, the only tricky part is getting the SSL certificates out of IIS and into Apache. As it turns out there are only a few short steps - export the certificate out of IIS, run three commands in DOS and then hook 'em up in your httpd.conf! Pretty easy, as Pete Freitag explains the steps. After doing this for five domains today, I can tell you that it works and is really pretty painless, much less painless than renewing certificates in IIS.

Reasons to use Apache instead of IIS


I've been a web server administrator for many years, typically as a secondary task along side web development, and I'm reminded time after time how much I dislike using IIS, Microsofts web server. As a gift to the universe, here are my reasons for disliking IIS and preferring Apache:

  • SSL management is a pain. When renewing certificates in IIS you have to create a dummy web site and do several side-steps and tangos. With Apache you simply renew the certificate at the certificate authority and replace the file on your server (or paste it into the control panel, if you have one).
  • Clean URLs. Apache comes bundled with a plugin for turning ugly URLs like "" into "". IIS doesn't have one built-in and the addons I've tried have been a bit odd.
  • Configuration files vs registry. Apache uses plain text files for all of the configuration and can load files from any directory you might have on the server, so that...
    • you can keep your site's configuration nestled within your site's codebase (outside of the publicly accessible directory structure, of course) for revision management;
    • it makes it easy to write scripts to create new sites as they're all very much the same;
    • you can more easily find the setting you want to change.

    With IIS 6 (and older) you use a GUI tool that updates registry settings - not very script or revision management friendly and at times difficult to get around.

It is worth noting at this point that the upcoming IIS 7, bundled as part of Windows Server 2007 aka "Longhorn", will use text files for configuration, I guess they finally saw the benefit of doing it this way.

The way I see it there's one reason to use IIS over Apache:

  • You need to use ASP or .NET.

otherwise you should use Apache.

Apache log rotation on Windows (update)


Way back when I wrote how to do log rotation for Apache on Windows. Well, as it turns out there's a better way that is available with the recent discover of - there's a module/plugin for Apache that can do log rotation automagically called mod_log_rotate that'll be easier to use and won't leave tonnes of zombie tasks running if you restart Apache. Much nicer.


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