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From Sally Khudairi ...@apache.org>
Subject Success at Apache: Scratch Your Own Itch.
Date Wed, 25 Oct 2017 22:06:32 GMT
[this article is available online at https://s.apache.org/7Amk and
featured in JAX Magazine special issue on Open Source
https://jaxenter.com/jax-magazine/issues/open-source-jax-mag-oct-2017 ]

By Ignasi Barrera

Recently I was at an industry conference and was happy to see many
people stopping by the Apache booth. I was pleased that they were
familiar with the Apache brand, yet puzzled to learn that so many were
unfamiliar with The Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

It's important to recognize not just Apache's diverse projects and
communities, but also the entity behind their success.

Gone are the days when software, and technology in general, was
developed privately for the benefit of the few. As technology evolves,
the challenges we face become more complex, and the only way to
effectively move forward to create the technology of the future is to
collaborate and work together. Open Source is a perfect framework for
that, and organizations like the ASF carry out a decisive role in
protecting its spirit and principles.

The ASF's mission is to provide software for the public good. We take it
one step further, by giving all our Open Source software away for free.
According to this mission, the foundation was established back in 1999
as a US 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, and constitutes an
independent legal entity to which companies and individuals can donate
resources and be assured that those resources will be used for the
public benefit. Its all-volunteer nature, along with the meritocracy
model followed by its communities, are the pillars of the neutral,
trusted space where Apache software is developed.

We strongly believe that good software is built by strong communities.
Successful Open Source projects are the result of the work and
collaboration in their communities and the people behind them. It is all
about the people. Experience has shown us that helping people work
together as peers is key in producing software in a sustainable way, and
we have collected the lessons learned all these years in what we call
"The Apache Way".

This Apache Way is a set of core behaviors all Apache projects follow
that are designed to ensure projects are independent and diverse, and
that anyone can participate no matter what gender, culture, time zone,
employer, or even expertise they have. One can start collaborating with
a project by contributing patches or implementing new features, but
merit is not only measured by code contributions. Helping users,
improving documentation, promoting the project, and other non-coding
activities are very valuable and recognized as such, and the recognition
of this merit and implication is expressed by granting more privileges
in the project: from commit access, to invitations to join the Project
Management Committee, to invitations to join the ASF Membership. One of
the great differentiators between the ASF and other open source
foundations is that the ASF does not dictate the technical direction of
its projects: each Apache project is overseen by a self-selected team of
active contributors to the project. A Project Management Committee (PMC)
guides their respective project's day-to-day operations, including
community development and product releases. Meritocracy drives the
growth of the communities, and ensures anyone can contribute to projects
that are ruled by the people who is involved and really cares about

Learning to work this way is not always easy, though. Projects come to
the Foundation from very different backgrounds and whilst some of them
already have communities that are used to collaborate in open ways,
others find it challenging to embrace these core behaviors. The Apache
Incubator is the main entry point for codebases and their communities
wishing to officially become part of the Foundation, and is where they
learn how to put all these principles in practice. Some will find this
way of working a good way to rule a project and will graduate as an
Apache top-level project, some may find that the Foundation is not the
best option for them and choose to leave. Both options are good
outcomes, as projects will have invested time in thinking about their
community model and how they want governance to be, and this always
benefits the Open Source world.

This Open Source model not only exists to create sustainable Open Source
projects, but also to meet the expectations of the rest of the world.
Software developed at Apache comes with a set of guarantees granted by
the popular and business-friendly Apache License, but also with others
that are the product of this open governance model, such as project
independence or a well-defined project lifecycle. The ASF not only
defines how projects operate while active, but also what happens when a
project reaches its end-of-life, which is also important for adoption
but often not considered by Open Source projects.

These guarantees, along with the reputation earned by many years of
producing high-quality open source software, make the +300 freely
available Apache projects, from Abdera to HTTP Server to Hadoop to
Zookeeper, a trusted choice for individuals and companies looking for
Open Source solutions.

The saying "Scratch Your Own Itch" is popular in the tech space, and is
an integral principle at the ASF. Apache Committers have a
responsibility to the community to help create a product that will
outlive the interest of any particular volunteer, as well as for helping
to grow and maintain the health of the Apache community.

As an ASF Member, I'm helping with project outreach and mentoring new
individuals that make up the greater Apache community.

The Apache Software Foundation provides a safe place for Open Source
development, and will keep evolving as technology evolves, welcoming all
kinds of projects and communities, and helping people embrace Open
Source. Let's see what the future holds for the Open Source world and
how we can contribute to making it a better place. Scratch your own

Ignasi Barrera is a long-term Open Source contributor and became
involved with the ASF in 2013, when jclouds was first submitted to the
Apache Incubator. He is a member of the Apache jclouds Project
Management Committee and still actively contributes to the project.
Ignasi became an ASF Member in 2015, and helps with community
development activities and the promotion of Open Source. 

= = =

"Success at Apache" is a monthly blog series that focuses on the
processes behind why the ASF "just works". 1) Project Independence
https://s.apache.org/CE0V 2) All Carrot and No Stick
https://s.apache.org/ykoG 3) Asynchronous Decision Making
https://s.apache.org/PMvk 4) Rule of the Makers
https://s.apache.org/yFgQ 5) JFDI --the unconditional love of
contributors https://s.apache.org/4pjM 6) Meritocracy and Me
https://s.apache.org/tQQh 7) Learning to Build a Stronger Community
https://s.apache.org/x9Be 8) Meritocracy. https://s.apache.org/DiEo 9)
Lowering Barriers to Open Innovation https://s.apache.org/dAlg 10)
Scratch your own itch. https://s.apache.org/Apah

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