Apache news roundup: raining cloud projects

It’s been a surprisingly quiet couple of months at Apache; well, at least in terms of new projects graduating from the Incubator.

  • Welcome to the Apache Libcloud project – “a standard Python library that abstracts away differences among multiple cloud provider APIs.”

The Apache Libcloud graduation does bring up an important point about Apache project governance and the Incubation process. Apache is happy to host any community-driven projects that wish to use the Apache license and follow the basic Apache Way. This includes potentially competing technologies. In fact, the Apache Incubator currently has 4 other podlings currently that all deal with cloud API abstractions in one way or another!

  • Apache Deltacloud – a REST-like interface allowing common operations across multiple cloud providers – is the most obvious technical competitor to Apache Libcloud.
  • Apache Nuvem is a podling attempting to put a higher level of data and operation abstraction atop cloud APIs, for a slightly different programming model.
  • Apache Whirr is aiming to provide a level of service abstraction for multiple cloud providers, perhaps allowing your Apache Cassandra, or Apache Hadoop related projects to easily move about the clouds.
  • Apache Tashi goes further along the services model, focusing on providing Apache Hadoop and big data processing services that can be pushed to the clouds.

Sound crazy to have competing technical projects? Not at all, once you realize that Apache is all about the communities behind our projects. As a public charity, Apache’s purpose is to provide software for the public good. The way we have found most effective to do that is to allow any healthy communities to compete and grow independently, within the general Apache way. We’re happy to have multiple communities working on the same kind of technology, and all the better if they can each succeed at finding their niche, both for the software they provide, as well as for the community they can build.

This also points to the special place that the Apache Incubator has at the ASF. Bertrand has an great post discussing some of the whys and hows of the Incubator, and the process that new communities (and their projects!) go through before becoming a top level project at Apache.

Apache winter news roundup: new and famous projects

It’s continued to be a busy winter at the ASF, with a number of new projects being announced – as well as this year’s ApacheCon!

  • Submit your ideas now for the CFP of ApacheCon NA 2011 – coming to Vancouver this 7-11 November. CFP submissions are open through April.
  • Welcome Apache Extras! Apache Extras is the the place for all your Apache-related software that’s not an Apache project. That means that projects that might not use the Apache license or might not meet the community criteria for formal Apache projects, but are still related to Apache technology. Apache Extras gives you all the infrastructure support of Google Code, and shows your project’s interest in Apache technologies.
  • Welcome to our new Executive Assistant! The ASF has hired an EA to assist with a broad array of administrative tasks, who is already helping out with our conferences and other corporate operations.
  • We’ve got new top level projects! Over the past few months, the Incubator has graduated the following projects:
  • Apache Thrift is a scalable cross-language framework for code generation between a wide variety of popular programming languages.
  • Apache ZooKeeper, an Apache Hadoop spinoff, provides a centralized service for providing distributed synchronization of configuration information and other services.
  • Apache OODT (press release) is middleware for managing data used in critical scientific applications – and features original code and contributors from NASA and the JPL. Yes, real rocket scientists work on OODT!
  • Apache ESME stands for Enterprise Social Messaging Environment, and allos for secure and scalable microsharing and micromessaging applications.
  • Apache Aries implements the EEG’s enterprise OSGi specification for multi-bundle applications.
  • Apache River implements JINI services and allows construction of secure and distributed systems.
  • Apache Chemistry (press release) is an implementation of the OASIS CMIS standard, allowing access to a wide variety of different vendor’s CMIS repositories.
  • We also say goodbye to Apache Excalibur, which has been boxed up and stored in the Apache Attic for posterity – or until someone new comes along to draw the sword back out of the box.
  • There were several other interesting happenings in Apache land recently as well.

    • Apache UIMA and Hadoop technologies helped IBM’s Watson supercomputer defeat humanity in the TV game show Jeopardy! As one of the human contestants wrote: “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.”
    • The Apache Subversion project issued an open letter to a corporation who is an active contributor and user of Subversion. While this is an unfortunate situation of a third party effectively usurping some of the good will generated by the Subversion project itself, the issue is being addressed, and it looks like we’ll have a productive resolution. This underscores the importance of appropriate governance and trademark protection for open source projects.
    • Separately, those interested in using Apache projects may be interested in a number of much more detailed trademark policies that the ASF is working on, in an effort to make it simpler for third parties to associate with our projects, while ensuring that our project communities get full and proper credit for their work.

    Why trademarks are important in open source

    Groklaw recently wrote about the upcoming OpenSUSE project creation, and just now Hudson project volunteers are renaming to be Jenkins. These are both excellent examples of why trademarks are important to a successful open source project, and definitely deserve more attention.

    Trademarks, you say? Isn’t that some complex legal stuff that big companies care about? Well, yes – it’s certainly complex law – but you should care about it too. Think of a trademark as a pointer to your project’s reputation. A trademark is the symbol that represents your project’s reputation, and associates that name with your product in the minds of the consumers. In both cases, the community behind the project is paying attention to branding for the project – and working to ensure that control over the project’s name stays with the community, not a commercial company.

    Trademarks ensure that consumers – in our case, either end users or developers – know where the Foo project comes from, and know to come to the correct Foo project to participate and get the code. You may have the best Foo in the world, but if no-one knows about your Foo (or it’s name), then it’s had to attract much interest.

    This is a key reason for Apache being a non-profit corporation (likewise, a reason for many other truly community-led open source foundations). The Apache Software Foundation controls the trademarks associated with it’s projects, and manages them for our projects. As a vendor-neutral organization, the ASF can ensure that ownership of our trademarks stays with the larger Apache community, and can’t be co-opted by a commercial entity.

    Apache’s trademark policies are posted publicly. We have guidelines for how our PMCs should represent Apache marks on our sites, and are working on important updates to the Apache Event Branding policy.

    Another good resource on trademarks in open source is Passport Without A Visa: Open Source Software Licensing and Trademarks. It’s worth learning enough about trademarks to ensure that you consider it for any new projects you work on. Note, however, that trademark law is complex, and many of the answers to trademark questions are “It depends”. Thus it’s always recommended to consult legal counsel if you have serious questions about trademarks.

    The JCP is dead; long live Java

    The Apache Software Foundation has just announced it’s resignation from the Java SE/EE Executive Committee. After several other recent community departures from the EC, and scathing commentary supplied as comments with the votes from other EC members for the recent Java 7/8, it’s clear that Apache is not alone in it’s dissatisfaction with Oracle’s complete and overt control over what is purportedly a community effort. As another Apache member has said:

    The Executive Committee is clearly not a Committee of Executives, nor is the Java Community Process a Process involving the Java Community.

    I applaud everyone who has done technical work on recent versions of Java, and I’m sure plenty of people will still want to program in Java. That’s great. But please – when you do use Java, please remember that it is *not* built on open standards. It is built on technology (and patents) and licenses that Oracle controls, and is quite happy to exercise it’s control over all things Java.

    If you’re happy paying Oracle more and more licensing fees in the future, more power to you. But if you’re not, then you really need to understand the problem of the TCK Trap.

    Stay tuned for more updates from the ASF’s Foundation blog on what this means for the many many excellent Java based Apache projects. And, follow the #jcpisdead hashtag to understand what impact it may have on your Java future.

    For more reading, follow my set of ‘oraclemess’ Delicious bookmarks.

    Java: no longer free as in speech

    El Reg has breaking news that the JCP vote on the Java 7/8 JSR’s has passed. Apache and Google voted no, and the rest of the players sadly (but perhaps unsurprisingly) voted yes. This effectively changes the game around Java standards stewardship – you might say it turns the JCP into “Just Customers, Please“, removing any real community input that Oracle doesn’t choose to accept.

    There are plenty of past links to learn about what this really means, and I’m sure that Stephen Colebourne will have some insightful commentary once he wakes up and has a cup of jav… er, tea.

    A key indicator of the feeling of the JCP are the signing statements that most of the “Yes” voters supplied: all (except Oracle) agreed with Apache and Google that the FOU restrictions Oracle is mandating are objectionable and inappropriate (not to mention apparently incompatible with the JSPA). If only wishes were horses, and signing statements had real force, then we could all be happy.

    I’m not that surprised that the larger software vendors cast their votes where they think their bottom lines are, and went with a “Yes”, FOU reservations in their signing statements notwithstanding. I am a little surprised that Eclipse and Red Hat caved into Oracle, given that their businesses are also open source, and they’re clearly going to have to pony up to Oracle somehow to get sufficient licenses to continue shipping Java related software.

    Don’t get me wrong: for all the Java developers who don’t care about how their underlying technology is licensed, I’m happy for you! You now have Oracle’s Java roadmap, and presumably Oracle will start delivering some cool Java technology. But please: don’t fool yourself or your friends into believing that the Java standards ecosystem is open, free, or community based in any real way. Oracle owns the court now, and don’t be surprised if it starts charging some people for renting balls along with court time to play.

    It’s a sad day, since I really do like programming in Java. I still will, sometimes; but not as often. And not without realizing that Java is no longer free as in speech. We’ll see how long that Java remains free as in beer, now that Oracle’s realized they run the JCP.

    OpenJDK += Oracle, IBM

    The big news this week is the sudden move by IBM to join with Oracle in collaborating on the OpenJDK. You can read the formal joint press release, or browse some of the first set of thoughtful commentaries here:

    Required reading: everyone should re-read the ASF’s open letter to Sun Microsystems about the JCP. If you don’t remember why that letter is important, then go back through the Graphical Overview of Sun’s JSPA violations. If you like using the word “open” anywhere near the word “Java”, then you need to remember that they don’t really go together these days.

    Apache new(s): officers, projects, commits

    A brief roundup of recent Apache news:

    Please welcome a number of new top level projects that have recently been created:

    • Please welcome the Apache jUDDI project, a Java implementation of the UDDI v3 specification, which graduated in August from the Web Services project to be come a top level project.
    • Welcome also the Apache Pig project, a platform for analyzing large data sets often used with Apache Hadoop – where it recently decided to move from being a subproject to a TLP in it’s own right.
    • Likewise, the Apache Hive project has also split off from Apache Hadoop as well, providing a data warehouse providing a simple query language called Hive QL.
    • The Apache Shiro project recently graduated from incubation to become a TLP, and provides a security framework for authentication, authorization, cryptography, and session management.

    Finally, I’d like to extend the appropriate thanks and appreciation (which are very large!) to our recently outgoing executive officers:

    • Justin Erenkrantz, our outgoing President, who’s literally traveled the world speaking at events and companies on the ASF’s behalf.
    • Sander Striker, our outgoing Executive Vice President, who’s also been a help in outreach and our infrastructure in many areas.

    July Apache news roundup: Greg! Adobe+Day! FOP! FOP?

    A brief listing of some of the news around the ASF this past month.

    Oh, and the ASF elected a new board of directors as well – there are some different (and one new) faces, but overall, we expect steady sailing into better waters.

    Want to get your own news about Apache projects? Read or feed from the announce list, official Foundation and project blogs, or get the Planet Apache community perspective.

    Apache is at at OSCON!

    For those of you lucky enough to be attending OSCON this week in Portland, there will be a number of well-know Apache folk there, as well as some talks about Apache projects. Plus, the ASF has an official exhibitor’s booth, #812 at the expo.

    Sadly, I won’t be attending, but I did pick out a handful of cool Apache-related OSCON sessions you should check out. Be sure to stop by the ASF booth and say hi to Sally, Justin, and all the Apache volunteers who will be there to answer your open source questions, Apache Way style.

    While OSCON is about everything open source, Apache both as a Foundation and a community of projects is about a specific kind of open source. The power of “Community Over Code” which epitomizes much of The Apache Way that Apache projects follow is brought to light by a great blog posting by Noah Slater of his CouchDB Retrospective. Thanks Noah for a great essay on your journey to a true community led project!

    Have fun at OSCON – wish I were there!

    Congratulations to the new Apache Board

    The Apache Software Foundation held it’s Annual Member’s Meeting this week and cast votes to elect a new board of directors as we do each year. We also elected a number of new potential members, who may be receiving their private invitations shortly.

    The new 2010-2011 Board of Directors comprises:

    • Shane Curcuru
    • Doug Cutting
    • Bertrand Delacretaz
    • Roy T. Fielding
    • Jim Jagielski
    • Sam Ruby
    • Noirin Shirley
    • Greg Stein
    • Henri Yandell

    We welcome Noirin Shirley, who will be a new face on the board this year. We also welcome back Henri, Sam, and Bertrand who have served on the board in the past; the remaining directors are incumbents.

    A big round of thanks went out during our meeting (on irc) for all of the non-returning directors Brett, Geir, Brian, and especially for Justin Erenkrantz who has also been serving as the Foundation’s President as well as a director.

    See also the official ASF Foundation blog posting with the announcement.

    A graphical history of the directors of the ASF is also available.