The Apache Software Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary last week at the ApacheCon US in Oakland, California. The event, which lasted from November 2nd to 6th, consisted of many different types of events, ranging from full-day trainings to lightning talks, from a hackathon to technical and marketing sessions. On friday, the event featured a full-day track about OSGi, where all OSGi related Apache projects like Felix, ACE, Sling and Tuscany where present. The big announcement of the conference was the fact that Subversion wanted to join Apache. In fact, during the event, just like with any other project, there was a vote to accept Subversion into the incubator. As with many projects, this triggered some discussion, debating the merits of doing a release during incubation, even though this is a project with many seasoned Apache committers on board.
A conference like no other
Apache probably is the strongest brand in the open source space, but the conference itself focusses strongly on content. Here you will see no sponsored talks by commercial vendors, no sales people trying to sell you anything, it’s all about the code, the community and collaborating with each other. In that sense it’s quite different from most other conferences and if you like meeting and discussing fellow developers, this is a great place to visit. Many events facilitate discussion, and power and internet connectivity are available everywhere.
What open source is all about
Brian Behlendorf summarized the three main cultural elements of Apache quite well:
- write good code and debate it to the bone
- be humble
In essence, Apache is a meritocracy, of which only individuals can become a member. It’s sometimes also described as a do-ocracy as projects are driven by contributions: if you want something done, just do it. Another important aspect is that everything that is done on the Apache projects is discussed and archived on the mailing list. All discussions, code diffs and decisions must be recorded there.
Presenting Apache ACE
Tuesday evenings “birds of a feather” session featured a discussion about Apache ACE, where questions mostly centered around the use cases for ACE and possible integrations with other OSGi components. One of the conclusions is that there are probably three different phases of deployment:
- Using Apache Felix File Installer, which allows you to drop components in a local folder to have them installed.
- Using Apache Felix Karaf’s provisioning components, which allow you to define features which basically group components and allow you to define dependencies on other features.
- Using Apache ACE, which allows you to group components and automatically deploy them to many remote systems.
Friday’s OSGi track started with an introduction to OSGi and moved into more advanced topics during the day. The Apache ACE talk was received well, with several people expressing an interest in wanting to use it and contribute to it.
Summarizing the week, Floris and I had a great time talking to many interesting people and learning about various projects. ApacheCon is a great conference, and I’m already looking forward to the next one.