The Apache Software Foundation needs more than code

Virginia Backaitis
4 min readJul 26, 2019

There was a common and recurring chorus in the keynote speeches of tech CEO’s during the first half of this decade, “Mobile, social, big data and cloud”. Whether it was EMC’s Joe Tucci, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, HP’s Meg Whitman, Salesforce’s Mark Benioff or SAP’s Bill McDermott speaking, they were emphatic that these four forces that would fuel and shape the digital era.

They were right, but they missed something. Open Source, and, more specifically, the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects which provide some of the most innovative software on the planet, free of charge.

It’s hard to know whether big data would have taken off as quickly as it did without Apache Hadoop and all of the Apache projects around it: Apache Pig, Apache Hive, Apache HBase, Apache Phoenix, Apache Spark, Apache ZooKeeper, Cloudera Impala, Apache Flume, Apache Sqoop, Apache Oozie, and Apache Storm as well as the project’s passionate individual contributors and code committers who got, and get, their paychecks from companies like Cloudera, Facebook, Google, Huawei, IBM, InMobi, INRIA, Intel, LinkedIn, MapR, Microsoft, NTT, Pivotal , Uber, Vipshop and Yahoo.

It is incumbent for IT managers and passionate corporate developers to ask where we’d be today without the personal time sacrificed by the code committers and individual contributors. They have left their fingerprints on computing’s history. Mission-critical applications in financial services, aerospace, publishing, cloud computing, mobile, government, healthcare, research, infrastructure, development frameworks, foundational libraries, and many other categories, depend on Apache software.

After all, there are more than 350 open source initiatives housed at the ASF, the oldest is the Apache HTTP Serverproject, the most popular web server on the planet.

The most active big data project is Apache Spark. Other projects, like Apache Kafka, are inspiring thought leaders to think about the processing challenges and new opportunities that massive flows of data, interaction, and streaming apps bring to the world.