Welcome to ApacheCon NA 2010!

ApacheCon started off with the annual State of the Feather plenary, from the President of the ASF, Jim Jagielski. Along with a brief overview of the health of the Foundation as a whole, we had some great news: IBM has come on board as a Gold Sponsor of the ASF!

Then the ZDNet journalist Dana Blankenhorn opened with a keynote about The Year Of Apache, talking about both how corporations play well (or not) with open source, and Apache’s place in the software and business world. It was funny hearing someone else talking about the value of having a globally unique name.

To see everything happening at ApacheCon this week, please read the Program Guide (PDF) online.

Tell your Atlanta area friends: our evening Meetups starting at 8pm tonight and Thursday night are free to all, and we’re looking forward to plenty of locals joining us. Learn about and talk with committers and users of:

  • Wednesday 8pm: Cassandra, QPid, Maven, Social Widgets and Portals
  • Thursday 8pm: Subversion, Tomcats, HTTP Server, DeltaCloud, and Felix & OSGi

Even though I didn’t get a cool black cap (I was too late coming over to the infra table to claim one), I’m still having a blast. Along with the people, one of the things I love about the community at ApacheCon is that it brings people from very different backgrounds together. There are plenty of competitors in the real world who collaborate on shared projects here at the ASF, and it’s great to be able to have good and friendly conversations here, where we might be competing against each other next week when we go home back to our $dayjobs.

Donate to the ASF, get a free feather button!

ASF Contributor ButtonYou may have seen the round “Contributor” buttons with the ASF feather at ApacheCon this year. To get one, all you need to do is make an individual donation (cash/check/Paypal) to the ASF, and let me know about it, and I’ll give you a button for free.

While we hope that we’ve recognized everyone’s contributions in code, community, and other content, it’s important to remember that the ASF has actual costs in terms of bandwidth, hardware, infrastructure and the like. Separately, our Foundation non-profit status requires us to show broad public support in our donations. That makes it doubly important that there are enough individual, personal, donors to the Foundation – any any level from a dollar or a euro and up.

None of this is meant to pass over the tremendous contributions that our committers and all of our community has given to the ASF over the years. It’s just a realization of the larger picture, and a reminder that there are more ways to contribute than just patches and helpful emails.

Note: If your organization or employer is interested in sponsoring the ASF at a larger level, with the attendant recognition, we’re happy to see that too. Jim has a great overview about Sponsoring the ASF at the Corporate and Individual Level that’s worth a look even if you’re not considering a contribution.

Join the Apache History project!

OK, OK, so we don’t need a new PMC, but we do need some better history of the early years of the Foundation. To contribute your bit, we currently have a wiki page to try to capture key milestones, especially early on.

http://wiki.apache.org/general/History

So this is a great start, but given that we’re geeks, I figure there has got to be a better way to generate and store data about our history. I’d love to someday see a dataset that people can use to create mashups including our history with the global timeline. Anyone up for the challenge of:

  • Writing a board report parser to produce structured, dated data of board resolutions (isn’t there a lab for this)
  • Graphing the growth of committers, members, and PMCs over time (I can figure out members from meeting attendance data, and PMCs from the above board reports – but easiest way to graph committer growth?)
  • Showing lines of code over time, both within all code projects, as well as within infra/site/other repos
  • Graphing changes in the board over time, both of individuals and company affiliations (the last merely for curiosity’s sake)

Stay tuned for my own ApacheCon timeline, which I’ll post as soon as I have time to hack.

Why you should sponsor the ASF

I forgot how good Jim’s slides are as a high level overview of the ASF Sponsorship Program. (You can also read the 2008 version.) I think that often those of us who’ve been around for a while forget how important is for us – the ASF and all it’s communities – to be able to express to the outside world what we’re about, and how you might want to help. I’m really glad to see this lunchtime presentation – also being streamed live – so well attended!

While the subjects of sponsorships are doubly important given the economy these days, I think the metaphor of the ASF’s growing impact on the world of software is the more important message. As an all-volunteer and heavily developer organization, it’s sometimes hard to remember how important the other connections with the world: even if we’re sometimes uncomfortable as developers talking about funding and revenue, they are important things both to how our operations work, as well as how the world perceives us. As Jim so aptly points out, as a group of geeks, we often shy away from talking about the bigger picture, and just focus on our technology or our immediate community.

In other news, a big shout out to Jim Jag for mentioning the other ways you can show support for the ASF, including ASF Swag and other ASF licensed vendors, and the surprisingly successful car donation program. One of the ways to help out is to wear your Apache or ApacheCon tshirts and buttons at other events – and a portion of all profits from these vendors is sent as a donation to the ASF itself.

Are you blogging about ApacheCon yet?

If you’re not here, let us know how the live video streams were (the Linux Pro Magazine people definitely want feedback). And if you are here, blog about it! Yes, you!

Seriously: has anyone noticed a slowdown in blogging about ApacheCon? I remember a couple of years ago when Planet Apache would be covered with dozens of posts each day, both people’s overview of “what I did today” as well as specific posts about keynotes, interesting sessions, etc. But we seem to have slowed down a bit in the past year or two. What’s up with that? Are people just tweeting about it now, is it not as exciting as it used to be, or is it something else?

Also – if you attended one of the MeetUps or BarCampApache, please blog it up! Not only is it traditional to blog about your experiences at events like BarCamps, but I’d love to see more feedback about how the events went. We’d like to see a mix of both old hats (you know who you are) and new faces at these events – so we need to know how the events went, and what you thought of them.

In particular, I’d love to see specific thoughts about how we – Concom and Planners – can do a better job of supporting smaller, more focused events, either in conjunction with, or separately from ApacheCon as a whole. But the first step is getting better, more specific feedback. The next step after that of course is also finding more volunteers to help do the organizing… (Thanks Arje!)

Go to Bertrand’s Sling talk; get a polo!

OK, folks, this is a great blog post about ApacheCon from one of our speakers (also a director of the ASF):

We’ll be giving away nice Sling polo shirts at the end of my talk today, be there!

Here’s the complete source code of the mini blog application that I’m going to create, in stages, during the talk:

Thank you to all our speakers, and especially to everyone who adds to the ApacheCon experience in the blogosphere. Maybe I’ll start to catch up on my ApacheCon experience now that the conference has actually started…

Oooh – tshirts – if anyone is interested in my witty ASF Swag shirts, please order one, or just email me (for example, if you’d like a Committer- or Member- specific version).