The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is a non-profit corporation (classified as 501(c)(3) in the United States) to support Apache software projects, including the Apache HTTP Server. The ASF was formed from the Apache Group and incorporated in Delaware, USA, in June 1999, .
The Apache Software Foundation is a decentralized community of developers. The software they produce is distributed under the terms of the Apache License and is therefore Free and open source software (FOSS). The Apache projects are characterized by a collaborative, consensus-based development process and an open and pragmatic software license. Each project is managed by a self-selected team of technical experts who are active contributors to the project. The ASF is a Meritocracy, implying that membership to the foundation is granted only to volunteers who have actively contributed to Apache projects. The ASF is considered a second generation open-source organization.
Among the ASF's objectives are to provide legal protection to volunteers working on Apache projects, and to prevent the Apache brand name from being used by other organizations without permission.
The ASF also holds several ApacheCon conferences each year, highlighting Apache projects, related technology, and encouraging Apache developers to gather together.
The history of the Apache Software Foundation is linked to the Apache HTTP Server, the work on which started in 1994. A group of eight developers started working on enhancing the NCSA HTTPd daemon. They came to be known as the Apache Group. On March 25, 1999, the Apache Software Foundation was formed. The first official meeting of the Apache Software Foundation was held on April 13, 1999 and by general consent that the initial membership list of the Apache Software Foundation, would be: Brian Behlendorf, Ken Coar, Mark Cox, Lars Eilebrecht, Ralf S. Engelschall, Roy T. Fielding, Dean Gaudet, Ben Hyde, Jim Jagielski, Alexei Kosut, Martin Kraemer, Ben Laurie, Doug MacEachern, Aram Mirzadeh, Sameer Parekh, Cliff Skolnick, Marc Slemko, William (Bill) Stoddard, Paul Sutton, Randy Terbush and Dirk-Willem van Gulik. After a series of additional meetings to elect board members and resolve other legal matters regarding incorporation, the effective incorporation date of the Apache Software Foundation was set to June 1, 1999.
Apache divides its Software development activities into separate semi-autonomous areas called projects, some of which have a number of sub-projects. Unlike other organizations that host FOSS projects, before a project is hosted at Apache it has to be given to the ASF. In this way the ASF controls the intellectual property of all its projects.
Board of directors
The ASF board of directors has responsibility for overseeing the ASF's activities and acting as a central point of contact and communication for its projects. The board assigns corporate issues, assigning resources to projects, and manages corporate services, including funds and legal issues. It does not make technical decisions about individual projects; these are made by the individual Project Management Committees. The board is elected annually by members of the foundation and, as of 2009, the board of directors consist of:
- Shane Curcuru
- Doug Cutting
- Bertrand Delacretaz
- Roy T. Fielding
- Jim Jagielski (chairman)
- Sam Ruby
- Noirin Shirley
- Greg Stein
- Henri Yandell
- Free Software Foundation
- Open Software Foundation