The Apache Software Foundation has arguably been the leading force for open-source software (OSS) over the last 10 years and promises to continue being a force in the new decade.
The Apache Software Foundation
arguably been the leading force for open-source software over the last 10 years
and promises to continue being a force in the new decade.
During a visit to the organization's corporate headquarters in Forest
Hill, Md., Jim Jagielski,
chairman of the ASF board of directors, told
eWEEK that ASF has indeed had a "huge
impact" on the industry.
Over the last decade, Apache has been "more pervasive in Web
infrastructure and open-source software infrastructure than any other
organization out there," Jagielski said. "If you are using Java,
you're doing Log4J or Tomcat. We've made inroads for other organizations and
for open-source software to gain entry in the enterprise. Enterprise
organizations will try the [Apache] Web server first, and they tend to get a
different view of open-source software. And that encourages them to look at
other open-source software projects out there. The Apache Software Foundation
is pretty much their first test of open-source software, and that's a pretty
Moreover, the Apache license tends to be more business-friendly than some
other OSS licenses, which has
helped Apache software gain further adoption.
"You can take the code with the Apache license and bring it in and use
it to build on top of, and the license is free enough for you to do a
business," Jagielski said. "But it's not necessarily
The ASF celebrated its 10th anniversary
with a big celebration at the ApacheCon
conference in Oakland, Calif.,
in November. Oakland was selected
as the venue partly because, despite the ASF
being incorporated in Maryland,
"the West Coast is really the spiritual home of the ASF,"
Jagielski said. He said many early contributors as well as new adopters were on
hand at ApacheCon to discuss the various Apache projects, such as the Hadoop
framework for data-intensive
"Hadoop has created a life of its own," Jagielski said. "In
10 short years we're seeing this incredible growth, and I think about where the
next possible 10 years of innovation will take us."
One thing that has already begun is instead of only having one big
conference in ApacheCon, going forward ASF
will provide more informal events like bar camps, user group meetings and
hackathons to support the community.
Support from Microsoft and Google
In addition, the ASF has branched out and
responded positively to aggressive courtship from unlikely sources, such as
committed to contribute $100,000 to the ASF
as a platinum sponsor of the
organization in a move brokered largely by Sam Ramji, former director of
platform strategy at Microsoft and current president of the CodePlex Foundation
president of strategy at Sonoa.
"I was sad to see Sam Ramji leave Microsoft because in Sam Microsoft had
somebody who understood open-source software instead of someone drinking the
Kool-Aid," Jagielski said. "Microsoft is starting to get to the point
where they are like IBM and Sun were five to
eight years ago. Microsoft realizes they can sell more Windows licenses if they
use open-source software because a lot of open-source software runs on
Jagielski touted Microsoft's
adding, "I'm a very pragmatic person. There
are a lot of people out there who see anything Microsoft does as nefarious. I'm
more pragmatic. Sure, I'd like to see Microsoft get further along, but I could
say the same thing for Sun, Oracle and IBM."
However, Jagielski gave a thumbs-up to Microsoft's efforts in spinning
out the CodePlex Foundation
as a community effort for developers to build
open-source software for Microsoft platforms.
"My understanding is it's more of a clearinghouse for Microsoft
employees," Jagielski said. "They created this independent
organization that has this license that Microsoft employees [and others] can
donate to. It helps smooth that path of code transfer out there. I like what
Microsoft is doing to get developers to have code they can add to so engineers
don't have to re-create the wheel."
To spread the ASF love around a little,
Jagielski also praised another industry powerhouse, Google, for its
contributions to the ASF and to the open-source
community at large.
Google has been "incredibly open" and "they've donated a lot
of code to ASF and to the open-source
community," Jagielski said. "They've been a charter member and a
continuing sponsor of the ASF. Certainly, it
would be easy to say it would be nice to have some of that secret sauce they
have, but the fact they've donated so much speaks for itself. Google has proven
you can create a large, complex infrastructure with barebones Linux servers and