Apache: The “gold standard” for open-source … and pretty as a picture to boot

[Ed: I’m posting this late at night, in the hopes not many folks will read it, because if they do so then they won’t have much reason to come back and read the twitty drivel I will continue to post to those who do come back.]

I’m going to let you into a little secret. Indeed, if you truly believe the wisdom I am about to impart, you can take this blog off your “must read” list and move to a happier and more fulfilling life.

Back in August ’98 as I was looking into taking Jikes open-source, I asked for advice on how many people it would take to run the Jikes project. Someone from BEA said I should talk to a “Brian Behlendorf.” I didn’t know what a Behlendorf was, but I called him, and he said, “Don’t worry. We have a small team and can run our project; you shouldn’t have any problems. Also, take a look at our web site.”

From that day until this moment, and I expect into the forseeable future, I think it safe to say:

If you have any question about how to run an open-source project; how to organize a project web page; how to name the mail lists; how to “incubate” new efforts; or anything else you can think of; then, as quick as you can, just open up a browser window, type apache.org, hit return and learn from the masters.

If you follow the lessons you can learn there you won’t go wrong, and if you decide to deviate from the path outlined there, then you will know you have only done so because you have thought it through, realized your situation was different, and that you made the appropriate changes.

These folks have been doing it right for over a decade, and they continue to innovate.

For example, I recently read Glynn Moody’s piece “Do Hackers Blog?” in which he noted that few do. This will be the subject of an upcoming post. Ken Coar directed me to PlanetApache.

I did visit that “planet” (which as I learned is the name for an aggregated set of blog posts). What was most interesting is that I saw many of the post were accompanied by pictures. No, not just pictures, but photographs in the full artistic sense. Each showed original lighting and there was clear evidence of someone who knew how to compose a picture.

So I said to myself, “That’s neat. Some ASF member has a friend who is a photographer. Nice indeed to include the pictures.”

And then I realized these pictures were taken by an ASF member, James Duncan Davidson, who is both the author of ANT and a professional photographer. I found them extraordinary, especially in that they somehow capture a visual aspect of programming I haven’t seen before.

So do go visit the ASF folks. They’re friendly; they won’t bite. And even if you don’t pay attention to what they can teach you, at least you’ll have a fun time enjoying the sights during your visit.


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