History of the Apache Way

This is a brief history of some of the key Apache Way documents and presentations. These have been presented by some amazing Apache committers and Members at ApacheCon and a variety of other open source conferences in the past 15 years. This is a curated selection of publicly posted slide decks, as well as pointers to official and unofficial resources.

Note that in the past, these talks were often an overview of history and how the ASF is organized, along with touching on the behavioral and community aspects of the Apache Way. For a time, they were a common main track presentation at the start of ApacheCon.

The Apache Way slot at ApacheCon morphed over time into the “State of the Feather”, which is now given by an officer of the ASF. It is more of a snapshot about the health of the ASF as an organization - not just it’s component projects, but the corporation and operations that keep the servers running and the press releases and tweets and events coming too.

So, too, morphs the Apache Way talk of today, focusing much more on the behaviors and practices that are core to running a successful and diverse community-led project.

For more learning about The Apache Way:

Past Presentations About The Apache Way

Inner Source And The Apache Wy

Jim Jagielski - InnerSource Commons 2017

This is an advanced talk using the aspects of the Apache Way to lead corporate developers and managers how to use InnerSource - taking open source / open development concepts for use inside the firewall and inside corporate development teams.

Top Aspects Covered
  • Meritocracy
  • Peer-based
  • Consensus decision making
  • Collaborative development
  • Responsible oversight
  • Individual participation
Quotable Bits
  • Focus on community
  • Focus on the un-aligned volunteer contributor

  • Since we are all volunteers, people’s time and interests change
  • A healthy community is “warm and inviting” and encourages a continued influx of developers
  • Poisonous people/communities turn people off, and the project will die

  • Open and asynchronous
  • Doesn’t disenfranchise anyone
  • Maintains history and allows ebb/flow of participants

  • Transparency: You can only reuse what you can see

  • Communities can create durable assets, processes and culture

  • Merit: Technical decisions made by technical experts, with earned authority in that community

  • A Community is not the same as a team:
    • Self organizing
    • Self identifying
    • Working in own time frames

The Apache Way - Amalgamation

Daniel Ruggeri - 2015 UMiss

This is a new Apache Member’s amalgamation of many past Apache Way slide decks, covering all the points in a detailed yet condensed way.

Quotable Bits
  • “The board runs the foundation, not the projects”
  • “The code is owned by the foundation” (but: really just licensed)
  • “Community agrees on direction - (but) Individuals then make it happen”
  • “Pragmatic and permissive - Maximum freedom for users”
Final slide

The Apache way is

  • Meritocracy – those who do, decide
  • Participation – by individuals with peer review
  • Oversight – responsible and independent
  • Decisions – made by consensus
  • Collaboration – public and asynchronous

The Apache Way

Nick Burch - ApacheCon North America 2015

This is a modern version of the early classic Apache Way talks, that emphasizes all the past people who helped create the content.

Foundation has some common support (eg infra, press, trademarks), to help projects focus on their code and on their communities
Top Aspects Covered
  • History lesson
  • Apache by the numbers & graphs
  • Structure/governance of the ASF and projects
  • Example: Jakarta & Umbrellas -> flattened, each project reports on community health; can’t measure if not same community
  • Merit and different kinds of contributions
  • Decision making
  • Link to poisonous people video - and how to avoid them
  • Brief list of ways corporations to contribute (different than as individuals)
  • Problem areas at the ASF: Umbrella projects: who is responsible / who can evaluate the work or new contributors?
Merit does not buy you authority (community must still agree)
Merit gets you privileges: commit access, voting on committers

Training Our Team The Apache Way

Alan Gates - ApacheCon Europe Keynote 2016

Short but powerfully presented deck about Hortonworks’ internal employee training on the Apache Way. Internal one-hour training session; started with developers & project management, but rolled out throughout company.

Apache has ways to train new community members and new communities - like the Incubator

Key points: Apache Way; permissive license; why their company chose to work this way; how to be both an employee and a committer on an Apache project; trademarks and proper use. Great distillation of Apache Way messages in the context of a software company’s employees and teams.

The fact that you’re a manager or an architect or a founder at our company doesn’t mean anything inside Apache communities

Writing And Distributing Software The Apache Way

Justin Erenkrantz - OSBC 2010

  • Historical perspective
  • PMCS are each separate merit structures
  • Voting, communication and consensus techniques
  • Defined many ASF terms (it was still the early days of explaining the Apache Way)
  • “No jerks allowed” - a key early message in ASF community history
    • FOSS communities value group contributors, not lone wolves
    • Diverse communities that can attract new contributors over time are important

Shane is founder of Punderthings℠ LLC consultancy, helping organizations find better ways to engage with the critical open source projects that power modern technology and business. He blogs and tweets about open source governance and trademark issues, and has spoken at major technology conferences like ApacheCon, OSCON, All Things Open, Community Leadership Summit, and Ignite.
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