Ken Coar

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Ken Coar
Ken Coar at Red Hat in 2012.jpg
BornKen Coar
ResidenceRaleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
OccupationPrincipal Application Software Engineer at Red Hat
Years active2011–present
Board member ofApache Software Foundation Director, 1998-2007
Open Source Initiative Director, 2004-2010

Born in 1960, Ken Coar is a software developer and open development evangelist, recognised primarily for his participation in the creation of The Apache Software Foundation, and the inception of the initial ApacheCon user conferences.

He currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Coar attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, majoring in computer topics, but left before completing a degree. He worked for the University for several years, and has since been employed by General Dynamics, Digital Equipment Corporation, Process Software Corporation, and IBM. In April 2011 he joined Red Hat as a Principal Application Software Engineer.

Open Source[edit]

Coar has been active in open software projects, and lectures internationally about open development methodologies and distributed collaboration. He has addressed local groups, regional conferences, and government organisations. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

He is co-author with David R. Robinson of RFC 3875, the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) specification.

Apache Project[edit]

Ken Coar is a member of The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and was a Director on its board from its incorporation in 1999 through June 2007. His involvement with the organisation dates back to late 1996, and his major code contributions have been to the Apache HTTP server project. He is also the primary contributor to the Apache Pulse project, which provides daily analyses of all of the Apache mailing lists.

Coar was Vice President and chair of the Apache Conferences project from 1998 to 2007 [1], and was responsible for the ApacheCon shows which have been held in North America and Europe since 2000. He was the initial chair of the Apache Commons project, which eventually shut down [2] without actually having accomplished much; it was later successfully restarted [3] and is currently a viable project. He helped in the creation of the Apache Incubator project [4].

He encouraged the creation of the docs subproject [5] of the Apache Web Server project, thereby drawing attention to documentation as a critical part of the project which should be granted the same degree of respect as writing code.

In October 2005 the ASF board appointed Ken to be the Vice President and chair of the Apache Geronimo Application Server project [6] in an attempt to repair the community dynamics. He voluntarily resigned one year later [7], returning the now-healthy project to self-governance.

A complete and current listing of Apache projects in which he is involved is available here: Committers.

Open Source Initiative[edit]

In 2004 Coar was invited to join the board of the Open Source Initiative, and served as a director until 1 April 2010, when he resigned. He was instrumental in improving internal organisation, expanding the board's composition internationally, and extending the OSI bylaws [8] to allow for the creation of new initiatives. He was involved in expanding OSI's activities beyond software licence certification, and in turning the organisation into a grass roots membership structure [9],[10].

Other Open Software Projects[edit]

Coar has made minor contributions to other projects, such as the PHP scripting language, the Habari blogging package, and a couple of Ruby gems. In the late 1990s he was involved in IBM's efforts to get involved with the Apache HTTP Server project, and was instrumental in the development of a working relationship between the two. Coar is also casually involved with a few projects at SourceForge.


Coar is the author of 'Apache Server for Dummies,' co-author of RFC 3875, 'Apache Server Unleashed,' and 'Apache Cookbook,' and has written articles for a number of publications including Linux Magazine, ACM Queue, Linux Today, PHPBuilder, EnterpriseIT Planet, and Apache Today.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  • Apache Server for Dummies (1999) ISBN 0-7645-0291-3
  • Apache Server Unleashed (2000) ISBN 0-672-31808-3
  • Apache Cookbook 1st edition (2003) ISBN 0-596-00191-6, 2nd edition (2008) ISBN 0-596-52994-5
  • The Sun Never Sets on Distributed Development ACM Queue, Volume 1, No. 9
  • Secure Apache: Out, Damned Bot! (2008) Enterprise IT Planet
  • Apache Software Foundation Member Ken Coar Interview (1999) [Linux Today]
  • Coar on Apache Site Defacement (2000) [Wired News]
  • Apache Module Development in C (not published) ISBN 978-020172162-1