Congratulations Apache Chukwa – the 140th Apache TLP!

Last month, the Apache Chukwa podling passed the Incubator’s graduation vote. At the October Apache board meeting, the directors voted unanimously to create the Apache Chukwa top level project, with responsibility for creating an open source data collection system for monitoring large distributed systems.

While this may seem to be yet another project in the fast-growing constellation of Apache Hadoop-related technologies hosted at the ASF, the important milestone is that this is now the 140th active project at Apache! That is, there are currently one hundred and forty independent project communities, all producing software for the public good, all currently hosted at the ASF. That includes everything from the ubiquitous HTTP Server project, through the widely used Lucene search engine, to the aptly named Rave project, and the admittedly niche-functionality MINA project.

Note that this does not count the 36 separate podlings that are currently in the Apache Incubator – each one is an independent community hoping to grow it’s community (and make some software releases) so that they too can graduate to become an official Apache project.

More importantly, this is not the 140th project that’s ever been at Apache. At Apache, we believe in Community over Code; in that having an active and collaborative community is the most important factor in Apache project governance. However we recognize the immense public good that Apache projects do by providing software, especially source code, under our permissive license.

So what to do when we have an older project that may have lost it’s active community? Well, we put it in the Apache Attic, of course! There are currently 14 projects in the Apache Attic, along with a number of subprojects and other bits of software that are still hopefully useful, but that do not currently have an active community at Apache maintaining them. In that way, we provide the code for anyone who needs it, but warn users not to expect the normal support and releases of a full-fledged Apache project.

Putting that all together, we have a full 190 project communities that have chosen the Apache Software Foundation as their home over the past 14 years. A pretty good footprint for an all-volunteer run organization that started with a handful of geeks emailing code patches around to each other!

There are many places to choose to host your project today. Some people prefer other organizations for their project’s hosting – or simply forgo hosting a “project” and merely look for a place to dump their code. That’s fine, and we respect everyone else’s choices. Some people even go so far as to say that Apache doesn’t get it, or isn’t cool, or other uncomplimentary things. That’s fine too: we can agree to disagree.

If you really don’t see the value in being an Apache project – I mean, not just see the value for yourself (which is completely fine, I don’t care); but if you truly can’t see the value that someone might find in wanting to be an Apache project, then… well, sorry, then I can’t help you at all. You can stop reading now.

Even if you don’t see the value for your project right now in coming to the ASF, I hope that you can see the larger values: longevity, brand protection, stability, strong communities, and collaboration amongst many different groups within our communities. While some of these values may not be exciting for the rockstars out there, they certainly are exciting for the millions of software users out there – both small scale and corporate scale users appreciate using software that seems to have a better chance to be around, and be supported for the longer haul.

And even if you don’t see the value here at Apache, that’s OK. We’ve had 190 other communities of people who do see the value over the past 14 years, and our aim is to be here for another 50+ years to come. We’re happy with what we’re doing – and with the immense public good our many, many freely usable software products we’ve provided to the world.

What do you think?