The Apache Software Foundation, which was founded in 1999, hardly gets any press compared to the Linux Foundation, when it comes to open source groups doing telecommunications and data center software.
The all-volunteer board of directors of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) oversees more than 180 diverse open source projects, including Apache HTTP Server — the world’s most popular Web server software since. The foundation also hosts other significant open source projects, including the Hadoop distributed storage platform and the Cassandra database management system. ASF is a non-profit organization comprising over 680 individual members and over 5,800 committers across six continents.
But apparently, at its ASF conference in Miami this week, ASF President Sam Ruby was bemoaning the fact that ASF is losing money fast.
According to an article in The New Stack, ASF’s most recent IRS Form 990 reports a deficit of around $130,000 on revenues of about $1.2 million. Ruby told the audience at the conference that the organization has about one year in reserves.
SDxCentral had already reached out to ASF a few weeks ago to understand how it’s doing in comparison to the Linux Foundation.
ASF connected us to Wido den Hollander, VP of the CloudStack project within ASF. CloudStack software is used to deploy and manage large networks of virtual machines (VMs) as a highly-scalable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform. CloudStack is used by a number of service providers to offer public cloud services, and by many companies to provide an on-premises cloud offering, or as part of a hybrid cloud. For example, den Hollander said Japan’s NTT “has a massive CloudStack deployment.”
Asked if he thought the Linux Foundation was becoming overly influential in cloud and software-defined networking (SDN), den Hollander said, “I’m not an official spokesperson for Apache. That’s one of the good things about Apache. It’s a community-driven structure.”
But at the ASF conference, Ruby said the organization’s structure, which is based on committees, makes it difficult to make decisions, according to The New Stack article. And ASF needs to make some hard decisions to solve its money problems.
Meanwhile, the Linux Foundation has been on a roll, adding new open source projects, which bring in more membership revenues.
SDxCentral also checked in with Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, to get his take on the major open source foundations.
“The thing that ultimately matters in open source is the community that’s building the technology, less so than a particular organizational home,” said Bryce. “As long as it’s under a true open source license and has a good community, the rest of it will be determined by users in the market. Trying to look down the road, I think we will see some consolidation.”