Apache stresses 'old fashioned' community at the heart of growth

ApacheCon Europe highlights continued growth and extremely engaged open source community

“The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has been growing like crazy [over the last year],” says Jim Jagielski, one of the founder members during this afternoon’s keynote at ApacheCon Europe in Seville.

“This is partially because open source is growing like crazy,” he says, but he also believes it comes down to The Apache Way. During the event there are several sessions dedicated to explaining The Apache Way. It is hard to summarise quickly, but it inspires a lot of passion, and is described as “sort of like zen” by Shane’s site, a blog entirely devoted to the subject.

Apache, of course, has a long pedigree. It created the HTTP Server project, back in 1995, which has formed much of the foundation of the internet as we know it. While Hadoop, which launched in 2011, has been right of the front of the march towards big data. As a ‘very traditional’ open source movement it attracts an extremely loyal community of professionals who convene regularly to learn more about the nitty gritty of the technology and how they can get the most out of it.

ApacheCon Europe, which is preceded by Apache Big Data Europe, runs a vast range of collaborative and in-depth sessions on everything from building a container solution to the technical viscidities of machine learning.

This year has seen 175 committees managing 294 projects, explains Jagielski, during the keynote. These span a number of languages – 59.4% are Java “but this is the nature of the beast,” he says. “Don’t think we’re just a Java shop.”

“It’s not a topic monoculture either,” he continues, expressing surprise that “only 8.6%” are big data projects.

Jagielski believes ASF continues to grow because it is a true open source community. He is keen to highlight that unlike most other open source communities Apache is classified [in the US] as 501(c)(3), a public charity, rather than 501(c)(6), a business league.

“We are not defined by a temporary alliance to business interests,” he says. “Business interests change. We are defined by the people who do the work – not the people who pay their salary.”


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