typo + reasons to be cheerful
Well, I suppose he might be an "advent critic" if he is currently building up to an epiphanal expose of the Evil Empire (? Microsoft = Rome, Bill Gates = Herod, Linus = Jesus etc. analogy?), but if not, I guess the typo is more likely "ardent" than "avid".
Anyway, with regard to the original subject, I think that Apache/Linux fans shouldn't sleep too badly because MS is after their market. I am sure Conrad is right about Microsoft's plans and tactics. I just don't think they will find it easy to succeed.
What exactly will bundling a lightweight web server with Win2000 achieve? Why would you want a web server on a desktop? I have Personal Web Server running on my Windows machines, but only for the ftp functionality. The only use I can see is for the limited and temporary market which has been mentioned of the cable/DSL users who want to run pirate porn/MP3 servers. Let Microsoft have that market if they want it, but I don't think they will - it won't do them any good.
And if you are talking about the Win2000 server versions, MS have been trying that for a while with IIS, and are actually _losing_ ground to Apache. On a server, the choice isn't so much between IIS and Apache but between NT and *nix. *nix tends to win this battle for web servers (and other internet use) because it is more stable, doesn't carry so much baggage, is more configurable, more scalable, and (with the free *nix flavours) much cheaper. I don't see this changing any time soon.
Nevertheless, this is no reason to be complacent, and we should adopt Conrad's recommendations as quickly as possible. Just because this is a battle which will be harder for Microsoft to win is no reason not to mend any chinks in Linux/Apache's armour.
As discussed on the mod_perl mailing list, we need (a) threading support in Apache and (b) a lightweight Apache/ heavyweight squid or thttpd to handle serving of non-dynamic content and proxying of dynamic content as quickly as possible.