Honestly I never thought of lighthttpd as a BSD thing, in fact I had been trying to settle on Open BSD’s httpd, which is much more BSD-ish but found while I liked OpenBSD’s httpd it really wasn’t packaged outside of the BSD ecosystem and wasn’t well supported by a whole bunch of projects.
I can’t speak to Nginx, but lighttpd appealed to me because it was far less resource intensive and easier (for me) to configure than “bigger” httpd daemons I was familiar with. Was well supported across both BSDs and Linux distros; and it’s generally well supported by most applications id like to serve with it.
It being extensible with lua also means there might be synergy for me should I ever pick up lua / and gives it possible future synergy with prosody.
Nginx and Lighttpd are both under the BSD locense, no?
Why just two? Genuinely curious?
I kinda see the field of free software as a kinda dynamic evolving set of software ecologies. Where you may well find lots of similar software filling similar roles but for slightly different ecological and use case niches. Apache and Nginx are definitely the alpha predators, but it doesn’t mean their well suited for every context/environemtn/use case either.
In general ive been trying to optimize my software stacks in the past couple of years along a few lines:
- Minimize effort in maintainability & upgrades. All things being equal use simpler, lower complexity, easier to learn and manage software.
- Where possible prefer OS packaged web apps or ones you can easily update with version control alone.
- Non web apps should be OS packaged.
- Run the minimum number of services you need.
- Wherever possible use software which would work and is often packaged across all *nix systems; you don’t know which *nix you will be on 10 years from now, but if you do this well your stack wont have to change much.
- Use software with long proven track records that don’t look to be vanishing anytime soon.
- Where possible all other things being equal, leverage things which have synergies with other software you are using.
- Net services I run are likely going to stay at a small user/hit count for the forseable future. My father used to build roads. He often explained to me while we waited in traffic, you don’t build the number of lanes in a road for the peak few time case, but for their average expected load.
What Im also trying to get at here is, is that I landed on lighttpd largely because of my own ecological/use case niches. Lighttpd seemed for me like the most well adapted piece of software for those the realm of concerns that made up my environment. YMMV.