Back in 2000, when the Subversion project was in its nascent stages, we first few committers were all made members of the APR (Apache Portable Runtime) project; Subversion and Apache HTTPD shared this common portability layer. Over the following years, I was pulled ever closer to the workings of the ASF -- attending Apachecon conventions and meeting members from other ASF projects. And because the Subversion project started out with a significant number of developers from the Apache community, its own processes came to mimic the same classic consensus-driven culture that the ASF champions.
Years after that, Google Code’s Project Hosting service was also started by ASF members working at Google. So it’s not surprise that those of us who still work on the product share the ASF’s core philosophy: that open source projects aren’t just buckets of code, but are all about people. A codebase without a living, breathing community is a dead project.
So what can we do, as a company, to support open source communities? Providing hosting infrastructure certainly helps, but we can even go a step further. Successful open source software projects are rarely islands of development; larger projects tend to develop ecosystems of related but “unofficial” projects around them. It’s sometimes hard to identify these sub-communities, and so we can help by bolstering their presence: give them a clearer sense of identity and location by inviting them to live under a common banner.
This is why we’re excited to launch apache-extras.org today. By working under a common logo and domain name, we hope these projects can gain more visibility and grow into their own thriving community.
And to the ASF: a great big “thanks” for doing what you do.
[If you already have a project on Google Code and would like to migrate it to the apache-extras instance, you can fill out this request form.]