Jim Jagielski, Apache Software Foundation Co-Founder, On Apache's Timeline

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 06, 2009

As we reported recently, the ApacheCon 2009 conference is rapidly approaching, to be held November 2nd through 6th in Oakland, California.  The conference will feature sessions and speakers talking not only about web server- and services-related topics, but about the Hadoop software framework for data-intensive queries,  and the many sub-projects that the Apache Software Foundation oversees. The event is partly intended to mark the 10th anniversary of the Apache Software Foundation, and we asked Jim Jagielski, co-founder and chairman of the foundation, to give us a guest post on Apache's past and future. Here it is.

The Next Faces of Apache

By Jim Jagielski, Co-Founder, Chairman, Apache Software Foundation

Ten years is a long time to undergo change. As we approach the Apache Software Foundation’s 10-year milestone, I’ve begun to think about the changes that have happened in and around this group, and how it’s been a decade of not only change, but also superior innovation.

With technologies shifting as fast as they have, something that is 10 years old could qualify as ancient by today’s standards, but the work achieved on projects like Apache HTTPD, Apache ActiveMQ and ApacheDS (among several others) has kept the Apache Software Foundation an exception.

2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). But the history of Apache goes back beyond that. The ASF grew out of the informal collection of developers called The Apache Group. Started in 1995, by an initial group of 8 people, The Apache Group initially focused on developing the Apache Web Server, which itself was based on the old NCSA web server, for which development died when its developers left to start and join Netscape. That Apache effort was so successful that less than a year after the project was started, it became the most widely used web server on the Internet, and it has remained so to this day.

But as the project grew, and the number of people within the group increased, we knew that we required something a little more formal with some legal standing. After all, we licensed out the Apache Web Server under, naturally enough, the Apache License. But who, legally, were “we?"

In June of 1999, we created the Apache Software Foundation as a non-profit corporation to provide the framework and legal entity that allows the various ASF projects, members and committers to grow and thrive. The success of the ASF over those 10 years has been staggering. We have grown from an initial set of two projects to over 70. Our membership grew from around 20 people to over 260, and the number of committers exploded to over 2,000.

In the early days, almost all infrastructure services were donated. Today, we host and manage our own infrastructure, greatly supported by the financial donations of our sponsors, but even so, we remain a 100 percent volunteer-based organization, still true to our goals and ideals.

It would be almost impossible to find any web or network-based infrastructure devoid of any ASF software. ASF code runs a wide-range of technologies, from cell phones to enterprise web sites. Apache’s name has been known and respected by users, developers and analysts alike and has been, in many cases, several organizations' first peek into open source, providing the inroads for other open source projects.

The next decade of change for Apache is upon us, and it’s only natural to wonder what seedlings of innovation are among Apache’s next generation of leaders. Currently, there are several projects in Apache’s Incubator Program, and the anticipation of wondering who’s harboring the next Apache Harmony, which is the JVM behind the Google Android Phone, or Apache Struts, which is the original MVC framework for Java, is stronger than ever. Each year, the “next” faces of Apache begin to reveal themselves during the meetings of minds that always happen at our conferences, which is why we’re particularly eager about this milestone show in November.

In celebration of our decade of leadership, this year’s ApacheCon Conference promises to break new ground for us. It’s being held in Oakland, CA from November 2nd through the 6th, and in addition to discovering the new Apache, there will be an abundance of opportunities to meet and learn from today’s Apache experts from a wide range of ASF projects -- everything from the web server project, to Apache Hadoop, to Apache Tomcat to Apache OFBiz and all things in between. Mingling in the conference halls won’t just be Apache experts, but actual Apache developers -- the people who wrote the code – to whom the tech and software industry owe homage.

So, join us in Oakland for ApacheCon. I can promise you won’t be disappointed.

Jim is co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation, and serves as Director and Chairman for the foundation. He has been, and remains, as active developer in several ASF project since 1995. He currently works in the SpringSource Division of VMware as Chief Architect and Senior Staff Engineer. Jim’s sessions at ApacheCon will include the State Of The Feather Address, Apache Nuts To Bolts, and Writing Apache httpd Modules.