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From Greg Trasuk <>
Subject The Apache Brand [was: Re: Joining the Apache Foundation]
Date Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:22:09 GMT

> On Jan 19, 2017, at 9:50 AM, Bertrand Delacretaz <> wrote:
> Hi,
> On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 2:33 PM,  <> wrote:
>> ...There is actually a drawback from joining the community: all code
>> becomes licensed to the Apache Foundation under the Apache License...
> This is actually a huge benefit for some types of projects and users,
> especially when it's about projects which are strategic to one's
> business.
> Our projects and their names belong to the Foundation, which is
> neutral and doesn't belong to any company, government or other
> organization.
> The risk with projects which belong to individuals or companies is
> that those can change their minds, disappear or sometimes become crazy
> or evil. And you're then in dire straits with such a project - there
> are many "interesting" examples of such failures.
> The neutrality of the ASF is a guarantee that our projects will be
> available forever (*) under the same permissive terms. We also have a
> clear mechanism at for retiring projects
> while allowing anyone to fork them as needed.

When you think of an Apache project, you associate a few attributes with that project - this
is what marketing folks would call “the brand promise”.

- The project is serious.  It’s not just one guy in Mom and Dad’s basement.
- The project has a license that I can use in business.  I don’t need to worry about being
forced to publish my source code if I don’t want to.  I know that the license can’t be
revoked arbitrarily, and it isn’t contingent on renewing a support contract.
- The project isn’t driven by a single company who might abandon it or go bankrupt.  It’s
driven by a community that independent and diverse, so I know that some other company’s
failure won’t leave me hanging or searching for a new system.  That means I can integrate
the product into my business with minimal risk.
- The “open-source” version of the project is complete and useful - it isn’t just a
teaser for the commercial version (of course there might be product support that I can pay
for if I need it).
- Training and support can be provided by more than one company, so I have choices in where
I buy those follow-on products.
- The development is open and public - I can see and participate in the decision-making around
features and architecture.
- Development is driven by a diverse project community, not just one company’s marketing
plan.  So again, we have diversity and the project has a life beyond a single company or person.
- The project is probably decent quality and It has a formal release process.
- The software is “owned” by a trusted and neutral charitable entity, the Apache Software
- The Apache Software Foundation will support my right to continue using and developing the
software under the Apache license.

This brand promise makes it much much more likely that serious users will adopt the project’s
software, and that the project has a continued life, independent of any one developer or company.
 In return for the right to put “Apache” in front of your project name, your project community
essentially agrees to support the Apache brand promise, by contributing your code under the
Apache license, adopting apache’s procedures and philosophy, and by protecting the trademarks
that your project establishes.


Greg Trasuk

> -Bertrand
> (*) the current thinking is "at least for the next 50 years" which
> should be sufficient ;-)
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