The Apache Software Foundation

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The Apache Software Foundation
FoundedMarch 25, 1999; 24 years ago (1999-03-25)
Type501(c)(3) organization
FocusOpen-source software
MethodApache License
Revenue (2020)
Decrease $2.10 million[1]

The Apache Software Foundation (/əˈpæi/ ə-PATCH-ee; ASF) is an American nonprofit corporation (classified as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States) to support a number of open-source software projects. The ASF was formed from a group of developers of the Apache HTTP Server, and incorporated on March 25, 1999.[2][3] As of 2021, it includes approximately 1000 members.[4]

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, a permissive open-source license for 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, which is to say that it allows developers, who receive the software freely, to redistribute it under non-free terms.[5] 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,[citation needed] 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, and to prevent the "Apache" brand name from being used by other organizations without permission.[6]

The ASF also holds several ApacheCon conferences each year, highlighting Apache projects and related technology.[7]


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.[2] The first official meeting of the Apache Software Foundation was held on April 13, 1999.[8] The initial members of the Apache Software Foundation consisted of the Apache Group: 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.[8] 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.[3]

Co-founder Brian Behlendorf states how the name 'Apache' was chosen: "I suggested the name Apache partly because the web technologies at the time that were launching were being called cyber this or spider that or something on those themes and I was like we need something a little more interesting, a little more romantic, not to be a cultural appropriator or anything like that, I had just seen a documentary about Geronimo and the last days of a Native American tribe called the Apaches, right, who succumbed to the invasion from the West, from the United States, and they were the last tribe to give up their territory and for me that almost romantically represented what I felt we were doing with this web-server project..."[9]


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[10]), 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.[11] In this way, the ASF gains the necessary intellectual property rights for the development and distribution of all its projects.[12]

Board of directors[edit]

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. 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.[13]

Since March 17, 2021, the board of directors has been:[14][15][16][17]

  • Bertrand Delacretaz
  • Roy T. Fielding
  • Sharan Foga
  • Justin Mclean
  • Sam Ruby
  • Craig L. Russell
  • Roman Shaposhnik
  • Sander Striker
  • Sheng Wu

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Apache Software Foundation, Full Filing – Nonprofit Explorer". Nonprofit Explorer. ProPublica. March 11, 2022. Retrieved September 19, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Fielding, Roy T. "Certificate of Incorporation of the Apache Software Foundation". Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Jagielski, Jim. "The Apache Software Foundation Board of Directors Meeting Minutes 01 June 1999". Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  4. ^ "ASF Committers by auth group". July 2, 2021.
  5. ^ Smith, Brett (June 10, 2011). "Statement on's move to Apache". Free Software Foundation.
  6. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "The Apache Software Foundation: Board of Directors Meeting Minutes". April 13, 1999. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  9. ^ "Trillions and Trillions Served". YouTube. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  10. ^ "Bylaws of The Apache Software Foundation". Apache Software Foundation. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  11. ^ "Licenses". Apache Software Foundation. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  12. ^ St. Amant, Kirk; Brian Still (2007). Handbook of research on open source software: technological, economic, and social perspectives. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 217–219. ISBN 978-1-59140-999-1.
  13. ^ "Apache Corporate Governance". Apache Software Foundation. 2021. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  14. ^ Weber, Steve (2004). The success of open source. Harvard University Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-674-01292-9. apache software foundation board of directors.
  15. ^ "Board of Directors". Apache Software Foundation. 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  16. ^ "How the ASF works". Apache Software Foundation. 2010. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  17. ^ "ASF History Project - Directors Timeline". Retrieved May 10, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]