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The Apache Software Foundation Celebrates 20 Years of Community-Led Development “The Apache Way”

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World’s Largest Open Source Foundation Provides $20B+ Worth of Software for the Public Good at 100% No Cost; Apache Software Used in Every Internet-Connected Country on the Planet.

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced its 20th Anniversary, celebrating “The Apache Way” of community-driven development as the key to its success.

The world’s largest Open Source foundation is home to dozens of freely-available (no cost), enterprise-grade Apache projects that serve as the backbone for some of the most visible and widely used applications. The ubiquity of Apache software is undeniable, with Apache projects managing exabytes of data, executing teraflops of operations, and storing billions of objects in virtually every industry. Apache software is an integral part of nearly every end user computing device, from laptops to tablets to phones.

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“What started before the term ‘Open Source’ was coined has now grown to support hundreds of projects, thousands of contributors and millions of users,” said Phil Steitz, Chairman of The Apache Software Foundation. “The Apache Way has shown itself to be incredibly resilient in the wake of the many changes in software and technology over the last twenty years. As the business and technology ecosystems around our projects have grown, our community-based open development model has evolved but remained true to the core principles established in the early days of the Foundation. We remain committed to the simple idea that open, community-led development produces great software and when you make that software freely available with no restrictions on how it can be used or integrated, the communities that develop it get stronger. The resulting virtuous cycle has been profoundly impactful on the software industry as a whole and on those of us who have had the good fortune of volunteering here. When we celebrate fifty years, I am sure that we will say the same thing.”

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Software for the Public Good

In 1999, 21 founders, including original members of the Apache Group (creators of the Apache HTTP Server; the World’s most popular Web server since 1996) formed The Apache Software Foundation to provide software for the public good. The ASF’s flagship project, the Apache HTTP Server, continues development under the auspices of the ASF, and has grown to serve more than 80 million Websites worldwide.

“The most successful revolutions are those birthed by Passion and Necessity. What keeps them going are Communities,” said ASF co-founder Jim Jagielski. “Congratulations to the ASF and to everyone who has had a hand, large and small, in making it into who and what we are today.”

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The Apache Way

The open, community-driven process behind the development of the Apache HTTP Server formed the model adopted by future Apache projects as well as emulated by other Open Source foundations. Dubbed “The Apache Way”, the principles underlying the ASF embrace:

  • Earned Authority: all individuals are given the opportunity to participate, and their influence is based on pu ASF20th Anniversary-PrimaryLogo blicly-earned merit – what they contribute to the community. Merit lies with the individual, does not expire, is not influenced by employment status or employer, and is non-transferable.
  • Community of Peers: participation at the ASF is done through individuals, not organizations. Its flat structure dictates that the Apache community is respectful of each other, roles are equal, votes hold equal weight, and contributors are doing so on a volunteer basis (even if paid to work on Apache code).
  • Open Communications: as a virtual organization, the ASF requires all communications be made online, via email. Most Apache lists are archived and publicly accessible to ensure asynchronous collaboration, as required by a globally-distributed community
  • Consensus Decision Making: Apache Projects are auto-governing with a heavy slant towards driving consensus to maintain momentum and productivity. Whilst total consensus is not possible to establish at all times, holding a vote or other coordination may be required to help remove any blocks with binding decisions.
  • Responsible Oversight: the ASF governance model is based on trust and delegated oversight, with self-governing projects providing reports directly to the Board. Apache Committers help each other by making peer-reviewed commits, employing mandatory security measures, ensuring license compliance, and protecting the Apache brand and community at-large from abuse.

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