(Photo from Flickr user jaaronfarr)
This week the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is holding its annual US conference in Northern California for all things Apache. As part of the get together conference attendees, as well as those elsewhere this week, are invited to join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Apache Software Foundation.
Ah, I hear confusion in your voice, didn't Apache celebrate its 10th anniversary a couple of years ago?
Indeed the Apache Web Server has already celebrated its tenth birthday, but just as the Apache Web Server evolved from an ad hoc collection of software patches for the NCSA's web server HTTPd, the Apache Software Foundation is a registered non-for-profit organization that evolved from the loose affiliation of web developers and administrators who first submitted and organized those patches in the first place.
Big deal? Well, yes - it is a bit deal. See the Apache Software Foundation is a decentralized community of developers that oversee the development of Apache HTTP Server along with some 65 additional leading Open Source projects.
In essence the ASF provides the necessary framework for those projects to exists, from the guidelines on how to organize project resources and contributions to a maturation process for new projects, know as the Apache Incubator which includes providing legal protection to volunteers, defending against misuse of the Apache brand name and adoption of the Apache License.
In other words, the ASF is about learning from and building on the success of the world's most popular web server. Projects such as Tomcat, Lucene, SpamAssassin and CouchDB all owe a bit of their success to the ASF's dedication to providing transparent team-focused development projects the necessary computing and project resources needed for successful collaboration.
Along with sharing the same open source license and resources, the projects managed by the ASF - and to a larger extent the collection of project volunteers - is the ideals that project participation helps define, not just the roles of individual contributors, but their responsibilities as well. Roles are assigned based upon demonstrated talent and ability, a Meritocracy. And while anyone can help contribute to a project outright, membership to the foundation as a whole is granted only to nominated and elected individuals who have actively contributed to ASF and its projects.
Oh, and the ASF also organizes several ApacheCon conferences each year, including annual conferences in the United States and Europe.
And that is why the ASF's 10th anniversary is important. That is why you should take sometime this week to celebrate.
(Ed. note: this author also reflects on his first time with Apache on his personal blog.)