Money can’t buy everything, especially when it comes to freely available open source
software from the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).
It’s a shiny new decade for the organization behind the popular open source Web server. In 10 years the non-profit foundation has grown from its initial project, HTTP Web Server, to more than 60 projects.
The ASF is now celebrating its 10th anniversary as a
non-profit foundation that has grown from its initial project, the Apache HTTP Web
Server, to more than 60 projects today.
The Apache HTTP Web Server remains the most widely deployed Web server today, with
more than 42 million active sites, according to the latest
data from research firm Netcraft.
At the ApacheCon conference today, pioneers of the ASF talked about their experiences
at the trail-blazing open source foundation. They also outlined why the ASF remains
relevant today, and why money doesn’t buy many favors.
“Sometimes Apache has had a reputation of being hard to work with or slow to make
decisions, and it’s because we value independence and neutrality so strongly,” said Brian
Behlendorf, an ASF founding member. “When somebody sees that any given company can be a
sponsor, they know that we can’t be pwned at all.”
As proof positive of that sentiment, one-time Apache rival Microsoft last year became
sponsor of the ASF, contributing $100,000 to the foundation annually.
However, being a sponsor and contributing financially to the ASF doesn’t necessary buy
a corporation a seat at the development table. Developers, regardless of their
affiliation, are measured on the merits of their individual contributions.
“The only way to get a seat is through the meritocracy, through actually building
something at Apache that the rest of the members thought was worthy enough that you as an
individual would get some kind of recognition,” noted open source advocate Danese Cooper said. “I really think that
design is totally key to how meritocracy in action and community before code has worked
Cooper noted that the merit system elevates the value of individuals, rather than the
companies they work for.
Cooper’s sentiment was echoed by ASF member Ted Leung, who commented that after having
been employed by IBM working on an XML project, he quit after the code was donated to the
ASF. Leung said that even though he was no longer working for IBM, he was still able to
work on the code, and work as a go-between for IBM and Sun, the two big corporations
involved in the Apache XML effort.
“One of the reasons why we’ve been so successful is we’ve been able to have a place
where people with different sets of interests can come together and work,” Leung said.
“For the most part, people believe it’s a neutral playing field, though every year there
is a different company that owns Apache, from IBM to Sun to Google, but that’s mostly a
Leung added that people come to Apache because they believe they will be treated
equally and fairly based on the merits of their ideas.
“That’s one reason why we have 70 projects of all types,” Leung said. “People wouldn’t
come to us if it wasn’t true or if people felt that corporations were buying seats at the
Article courtesy of InternetNews.com