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Debian GNU/Linux powers eBay's wireless application server

Workspot, Inc. chooses Debian because we feel they and the GNU Project provide a stable, powerful and cost effective web solution....   Oh yeah and it's all Open Source.   Using the Apache web server and the Perl scripting language we built the backend application servers for the official eBay Palm VII application in cooperation with eBay.   See the app in action here.

Software -- Debian, Apache, Perl

How it works

The Palm VII initiates a dialogue (Fig. 1) with a remote web server by first sending an elliptic-curve-encrypted http request to a 3COM Proxy Server over a wireless two-way paging network operated by Bell South. The 3COM proxy server decrypts the http request and makes the http connection. Instead of connecting to the eBay site directly the eBay app connects to a virtual proxy server running Debian GNU/Linux. This server makes http requests of eBay's site, processes the results and returns a trimmed down, leaner HTML version of the eBay site to the Palm VII. Perl was a natural choice where we needed web based communications coupled with fast text processing and regular expressions.

Palm device, to Palm proxy, to Workspot proxy, to eBay, and back
Fig. 1

The virtual proxy server (Fig. 2) consists of 3 Intel Pentium III 500 MHz web servers with 512MB of RAM and 10GB SCSI Ultra2 hard drives and 1 Intel Pentium II 350 MHz firewall/gateway. The three load balanced http proxy servers and one firewall/gateway communicate using switched 100Mbit Ethernet. These servers host both the download of the eBay app and the CGI scripts powering the eBay app. All of them are running Debian GNU/Linux. For more info on load balancing and virtual servers visit the Linux Virtual Server Project and click the "What" link.

3 load balanced web servers
Fig. 2

-- Curt Brune, 1999

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