The Apache Software Foundation
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is an American nonprofit corporation (classified as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States) to support Apache software projects, including the Apache HTTP Server. The ASF was formed from the Apache Group and incorporated on March 25, 1999.
The Apache Software Foundation is a decentralized open source community of developers. The software they produce is distributed under the terms of the Apache License and is 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 of the foundation is granted only to volunteers who have actively contributed to Apache projects. The ASF is considered a second generation open-source organization, in that commercial support is provided without the risk of platform lock-in.
Among the ASF's objectives are: to provide legal protection to volunteers working on Apache projects; to prevent the Apache brand name from being used by other organizations without permission.
The history of the Apache Software Foundation is linked to the Apache HTTP Server, development beginning in February 1993. 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, Miguel Gonzales, 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.
The foundation states that the name 'Apache' was chosen "from respect for the Native American Apache Nation, well known for their superior skills in warfare strategy and their inexhaustible endurance".
The Apache Software Foundation released a feature documentary, “,” on June 11, 2020, detailing its history and far-reaching impact on the open-source software community.
Apache divides its software development activities into separate semi-autonomous areas called "top-level projects" (formally known as a "Project Management Committee" in the bylaws), some of which have a number of sub-projects. Unlike some other organizations that host FOSS projects, before a project is hosted at Apache it has to be licensed to the ASF with a grant or contributor agreement. In this way, the ASF gains the necessary intellectual property rights for the development and distribution of all its projects.
The Board of Directors of The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is responsible for management and oversight of the business and affairs of the corporation in accordance with the Bylaws. This includes management of the corporate assets (funds, intellectual property, trademarks, and support equipment), appointment of a President and corporate officers managing the core operations of the ASF, and allocation of corporate resources for the benefit of Apache projects. Importantly, Technical decision-making authority for every Apache project is assigned to their independent project management committee; the participants in each project provide direction, not the board. The board is elected annually by the ASF membership.
Board meetings and minutes are published on the board calendar. Many other public records of our corporation are published publicly. Information about Apache corporate governance and organization and how board meetings work are also available.