The Apache Software Foundation Continues to Grow Open-Source Software

eWEEK DATA POINTS: The Apache Software Foundation, celebrating its 20th anniversary, continues to help develop and promote open-source software that underpins much of the internet.

Apache at 20

Open source in 2019 is commonplace and serves as the foundation for much of modern IT infrastructure, including the cloud—but it wasn't entirely that way in 1999.

Twenty years ago, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) got its start as a group to help organize and support open-source project efforts. According to the ASF, it now provides more than $20 billion worth of software at no cost under an open-source model. The ASF in 2019 helps to manage and incubate over 350 open-source projects and initiatives as it continues to deliver on its founding vision. 

"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, wrote in a media advisory. "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."

In this eWEEK Data Points article, we look at some of the key projects and efforts that help to define the Apache Software Foundation and its impact on the technology market as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Data Point No. 1: Apache HTTP Server still leads

The Apache HTTP web server (commonly still referred to as just "Apache") in 1999 was perhaps the defining project for the Apache Software Foundation, and it remains a cornerstone of the ASF in 2019.

Apache's claim to fame has long been that it is the top HTTP web server on the internet, a claim that has come under increasing challenge from Nginx in recent years. According to the Netcraft March 2019 web server survey, Apache is still the most dominant web server on the internet, powering 31 percent of active sites on the internet today.

Data Point No. 2: Apache is home to Hadoop big data

There have been many technology shifts over the past 20 years that the ASF has played a key role in enabling. The entire big data revolution was initially ignited by one open-source effort more than any other—the Apache Hadoop project.

Hadoop is a collection of multiple inter-related projects now that help to enable large data computation and analysis. 

Data Point No. 3: Ingesting data streams with Apache Kafka

One of the key challenges of the modern thirst for data is having a real-time data streaming capability. That's a challenge that the widely deployed Apache Kafka project has helped to solve, providing a distributed streaming platform that was originally developed by LinkedIn and is now benefiting from the ASF's multi-stakeholder model of development and contribution.

According to the ASF, Kafka is used by businesses small and large, including Airbnb, LinkedIn, MailChimp, Netflix, The New York Times, Oracle, PayPal, Pinterest, Spotify, Twitter and Uber.

Data Point No. 4: Searching with Lucene and Solr

While Google is the world's largest publicly available search engine, when it comes to enterprise data and application, the Apache Lucene and Solr projects have become the de facto standard.

Apache Lucene provides indexing and library capabilities, while the associate Solr project provides scalable searching features that are used by large vendors including Best Buy, eBay, Ticketmaster, Disney and Travelocity, to name a few.

Data Point No. 5: The Apache License

The ASF is home to hundreds of open-source projects that benefit from its structure and model for collaborative development, but there are thousands more projects that are not associated with the ASF that make use of the Apache License.

The Apache License is a permissive open-source license that provides an open code base and encourages contribution. A key benefit of the Apache license is that while it is open, it still enables commercial vendors to build on top of the code to develop and sell enterprise solutions.

Data Point No. 6: The Apache Way

Looking beyond all the projects that the ASF leads and even the core license that has helped to enable the broader open-source market, it is the Apache Way that is the organization's defining characteristic.

The Apache Way is an approach to open-source code development that is about consensus building for code development. It's also about encouraging earned authority based on contributions and merit. Among the most primary components of the Apache Way is that all communications are done in the open.

"If it didn't happen on the mailing list, it didn't happen" is a key motto that defines the Apache Way.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.