G-WAN Web Server Claims Speed Records, Features
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 19 July 2012 at 01:01 PM EDT. 59 Comments
While it hasn't been talked about much recently, still in existence and seeing new releases is G-WAN, a free but binary-only web server. G-WAN makes claims of being much faster than Apache, IIS, Nginx, and other web-serving alternatives.

G-WAN is only around 150KB in size and claims to transparently parallelize legacy procedural code, requires zero-configuration for parallelism, wait-freee without any locks, and scales with 4~5x less CPU/RAM resources while serving 3~4x more requests than lighttpd and Nginx. Against Microsoft IIS, G-WAN claims to be 2~5x faster. For web developers, G-WAN supports scripts from Java, C, C++, Objective-C, D, Assembly, Google Go, JavaScript, and Lua.

It sounds almost too good to be true, but after being around for a few years, the Swiss-based company is still actively developing G-WAN. There are 32-bit and 64-bit Linux binaries available of G-WAN (no source) for free while the Windows binary has been discontinued. The Linux builds were last updated at the end of April.

As far as why G-WAN isn't open-source, the developers claim:
G-WAN is a freeware. It means that it is free for all (commercial users included). But some virulent (anonymous) users claim that this is not enough. They exige G-WAN's source code, and, "at no cost".

Let's see why would anyone need G-WAN's source code? To do what?

End-users They just need to have the job done - at the best cost (cost-reduction is what makes a faster server appealing in the first place). And since G-WAN can be used gratis, there is no way to reduce costs any further;

Software vendors For them, using others' many years of R&D "at no cost" is appealing: they just 'fork' the code, put their name on it, and sell licenses (or Cloud subscriptions) without ever contributing to the project that fuels their business.

Now each position is clearly defined:

G-WAN is free for all - and users can subscribe to support plans (just like for all those slower open-source servers);

G-WAN offers licensing options to those software vendors who want to benefit from G-WAN's so fruitful years of R&D.

The next time someone feels the need to publicly call G-WAN's (1-page) license "weird" or "insane", look at what they sell and who they get their revenues from. Unlike for G-WAN, what they offer is not free for all.
If anyone has any experience with G-WAN, feel free to share within our forums. If there's sufficient interest, I can also arrange some independent benchmarks of this freeware Linux server software. Those wanting to learn more about G-WAN can visit GWAN.ch.

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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