There seems to be some confusion about the .htaccess file, especially in this article:

http://www.javascriptkit.com/howto/htaccess.shtml

.htaccess is not the extension, file extensions are figments of the Microsoft mindset, and are meaningless to a cross-platform application like Apache.

htaccess is the file name, the whole file name, and nothing but the file name. The . at the beginning makes it a hidden file on an *nix server, such that it does not appear in a normal directory listing. This is an important distinction for people who must work on web servers using both Microsoft and *nix technologies, or edit on Windows machines for uploading to *nix servers, because of the "file extension" artifice on Microsoft systems. Many boneheaded mistakes have occurred because someone did not understand the difference between a file extension and a dot-file such as .htaccess or .bash_profile, which are as different as apples and orangutans.

Once again, it is NOT a file extension, it is the file name.