The Apache Software Foundation (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 The Apache HTTP Server ( ) is a free and open-source cross-platform web server software, released under the terms of Apache License 2.0. Apache is developed and maintained by an open community of developers under the auspices of the Apache Soft ...
, and incorporated on March 25, 1999. As of 2021, it includes approximately 1000 members. 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 a non- copyleft form of
free and open-source software Free and open-source software (FOSS) is a term used to refer to groups of software consisting of both free software and open-source software where anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source ...
(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 re-distribute it under nonfree terms. Each project is managed by a self-selected team of technical experts who are active contributors to the project. The ASF is a
meritocracy Meritocracy (''merit'', from Latin , and ''-cracy'', from Ancient Greek 'strength, power') is the notion of a political system in which economic goods and/or political power are vested in individual people based on talent, effort, and achi ...
, 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 ASF also holds several ApacheCon conferences each year, highlighting Apache projects and related technology.


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 NCSA HTTPd is an early, now discontinued, web server originally developed at the NCSA at the University of Illinois at Urbanaā€“Champaign by Robert McCool and others. First released in 1993, it was among the earliest web servers developed, fol ...
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. The initial members of the Apache Software Foundation consisted of the Apache Group: Brian Behlendorf, Ken Coar, Miguel Gonzales, Mark Cox,
Lars Eilebrecht Lars Eilebrecht (born March 1972) is a German software engineer, solutions architect, IT security expert, and Open Source evangelist. He is one of the original developers of the Apache HTTP Server, and co-founder and former Vice President of the A ...
, Ralf S. Engelschall, Roy T. Fielding, Dean Gaudet, Ben Hyde, Jim Jagielski, Alexei Kosut, Martin Kraemer,
Ben Laurie Ben Laurie is an English software engineer. He is currently the Director of Security at The Bunker Secure Hosting. Laurie wrote Apache-SSL, the basis of most SSL-enabled versions of the Apache HTTP Server. He developed the MUD ''Gods'', which was ...
, 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. 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..."


Apache divides its
software development Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components. Software development invo ...
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.

Board of directors

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. Since March 17, 2021, the board of directors has been: * Bertrand Delacretaz * Roy T. Fielding * Sharan Foga * Justin Mclean * Sam Ruby * Craig L. Russell * Roman Shaposhnik * Sander Striker * Sheng Wu

See also

List of Apache Software Foundation projects This list of Apache Software Foundation projects contains the software development projects of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). Besides the projects, there are a few other distinct areas of Apache: * Incubator: for aspiring ASF projects *Atti ...
Apache Attic Apache Attic is a project of Apache Software Foundation to provide processes to make it clear when an Apache project has reached its end-of-life. The Attic project was created in November 2008. Also the retired projects can be retained. Projects m ...
* Apache Incubator *
Log4Shell Log4Shell (CVE-2021-44228) was a zero-day vulnerability in Log4j, a popular Java logging framework, involving arbitrary code execution. The vulnerability had existed unnoticed since 2013 and was privately disclosed to the Apache Software Fo ...
* CNCF * Linux Foundation


Further reading

* '' Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything'' (2006); Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams.

External links

ApacheCon website

Trillions and Trillions Served
€¯ Feature documentary by the Apache Software Foundation detailing its history and impact on the open-source software community (2020) {{DEFAULTSORT:Apache Software Foundation 1999 establishments in Maryland 501(c)(3) organizations Free and open-source software organizations Non-profit organizations based in Maryland Software companies established in 1999