Happy Tenth Apache Software FoundationWithout the web, there would be no web content management systems. Some might say that without the Apache web server, the web as it is today either might not exist, or may have taken a very different direction.

A shining example of the innovation and value provided by open source projects, ten years ago the Apache Software Foundation was formed by the same people that brought us the Apache web server.

On March 25, 1999, Roy Fielding signed the Apache Software Foundation's incorporation papers. The foundation's purpose? To provide "organizational, legal, and financial support for a broad range of open source software projects."

A Little History

The first Apache project was, of course, the Apache HTTP Server Project. Dozens of other open source projects have found support and a rich environment for growth under their umbrella.

For example, the original version of the SpamAssassin project chose to move into the Foundation's sphere. Joining the Foundation does not involve surrendering ownership of your code, though you do have to change to the Apache License.

The importance of this license can't be overstated. The Apache License was the first credible business-friendly open source alternative to the GPL. Having so much software out in the Apache License makes it easier for developers to share code, without making people feel pressure to go with the more strict GPL for similar reasons.

Another significant contribution to the open source development community is the Apache Individual Contributor License, which among other things, provides Apache projects with legal protection in case they are given problematic patches or other code -- a crucial piece of helping protect open source projects from destruction by lawsuit.

With ApacheCon and other Apache events as well, a broader development community formed with similar values and goals.

For more on ten years of the Apache Software Foundation, see an extensive interview with Roy Fielding and Bertrand Delacretaz of the ASF.