The Apache Software Foundation Blog

Monday June 05, 2017

Success at Apache: Learning to Build a Stronger Community

by John Ament

As the next line in the series of "Success at Apache", I had to think about what kind of blog post I wanted to write.  Given my personal focus, it made sense to focus on new projects coming in and the incubator.  When I'm not busy dreaming up new ideas and working on personal projects, I'm helping new projects get in to Apache, keeping their goals in alignment with the Apache Way . I'm a member of a few different PMCs here at Apache, notably the Incubator. I'm a mentor to five different podlings right now. While my primary programming focus is on programming models, my podlings are all over the place. Starting a new project here at Apache can be a daunting task: how do I get in? What if I don't build a diverse community?  Becoming a podling has more to do with the community than it does the technical aspects of the project. We don't expect you to be experts in it, but we do expect new projects to be experts in how their own software works. We want to teach you, and we want you to be receptive to learning about The Apache Software Foundation and its best practices.

I'm not sure if everyone does it, but I build a lot of parallels between how an ASF project works and how an Agile team works. Agile teams start off as a bunch of people who don't really know each other but have assembled themselves into an informal team focused on solving a problem, or some number of problems, knowing that they can only do it together. They have common goals and objectives, but lack camaraderie early on to be able to work together smoothly. Over time, they get to know one another, figure out strengths and weaknesses and can resolve issues together. A well-functioning team isn't one at the beginning. It takes time and practice for them to work well - both together and as an outwardly facing unit.

Projects here at Apache follow the same type of maturity progression. Whether it's learning The Apache Way or learning to work with one another, it takes them time to mature and get into a good groove. 

Open Communication
The ASF is pretty big on open communication, wherever it's a sensible solution. We want to discuss with each other what we're doing, ideas around how to solve it and come up with a good solution together, as a team, in an open manner.  

This all ties into agile practices. We host stand ups to talk about what we're doing and see if others have an opinion about what we're doing.

When a project comes to Apache, the original authors need to remember that they're bringing in a lot of experience, and the expectation is that those existing contributors must help get new contributors from the outside - outside their organization specifically - to contribute into the project. By driving towards open communication, outside of your own organization, you're encouraging more people to participate. This sort of governance model ensures that all parties who can participate are aware of decisions being made.

Open Communication isn't for everything though. We need to remember to be respectful in our communications with others and if it's felt that something’s awry - speak privately. But remember that isn't part of the decision making process. Likewise, anytime we're talking about individuals in either a positive or negative way that should be conducted on the private list for a project.

Turning Into a Well Oiled Machine
Once a project begins to grow, new people start to get attracted to it. As a community, you have to figure out how to work together. Building a community of diverse ideas and skills will ensure that new ideas keep flowing. Contributors can react quickly to a user's question on list and help them resolve the problem, put in an enhancement request or get a bug report squashed in a following commit. Time is of the essence right now because I have availability to work on this.

There can't be a long drawn out waterfall style process when dealing with Open Source. At the same time, making sure there's a documented decision process and in sometimes an in depth design is critical for both new contributors and existing alike to come to a shared understanding of what is being proposed.

Projects need to plan for longevity. Longevity comes in many forms. A strong backlog of features is important. Having a diverse set of committers is even more critical. You could even say that each helps create the other. Just like any feature set, we get to a point where the feature is complete enough that we can move on to another feature.  

How do you get there?
Apache's main way to go to these points is to incubate . You can't get to this point by yourselves, experiencing with first-hand from existing Foundation members will help get your community to turn a new leaf and adopt this way of working. We want you to be successful, as long as your project can dedicate itself to the practices that have been set forth within the Foundation.

New projects may be comfortable with a champion that can work with them closely, answering their questions up front. While a lot of the pre-incubation chatter will happen off list, it is important that potential new podlings subscribe to the incubator general list and understand both the goings on of a podling as well as try to build their list of mentors in the open. Mentors are extremely important to a podling, and understanding their roles and why you need to pick great mentors is something your champion and the rest of the Incubator community can help explain. Participating in our public discussion lists is sometimes the first step to joining the foundation at a deeper level.

Where do we go next?
If you're a potential new project, feel free to reach out on the Incubator mailing lists to get started. We'd love to hear from you and get you acquainted with The Apache Software Foundation.

If you're on an existing project, we want to hear your perspectives on how the Foundation works. You may want to reach out to dev@community to let others know your thoughts, or even just subscribe and see what others have to say. We're all working together to make the foundation better. The more input we receive, both the positive and the negative, will help shape everyone's actions in the community.

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"Success at Apache" is a new monthly blog series that focuses on the processes behind why the ASF "just works". 1) Project Independence 2) All Carrot and No Stick 3) Asynchronous Decision Making 4) Rule of the Makers 5) JFDI --the unconditional love of contributors 6) Meritocracy and Me

The Apache Software Foundation Announces Momentum With Apache® Hadoop® v2.8

Major release of the cornerstone of the Big Data ecosystem, from which dozens of Apache Big Data projects and countless industry solutions originate.

Forest Hill, MD —5 June 2017— The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today momentum with Apache® Hadoop® v2.8, the latest version of the Open Source software framework for reliable, scalable, distributed computing.

Now ten years old, Apache Hadoop dominates the greater Big Data ecosystem as the flagship project and community amongst the ASF's more than three dozen projects in the category.

"Apache Hadoop 2.8 maintains the project's momentum in its stable release series," said Chris Douglas, Vice President of Apache Hadoop. "Our community of users, operators, testers, and developers continue to evolve the thriving Big Data ecosystem at the ASF. We're committed to sustaining the scalable, reliable, and secure platform our greater Hadoop community has built over the last decade."

Apache Hadoop supports processing and storage of extremely large data sets in a distributed computing environment. The project has been regularly lauded by industry analysts worldwide for driving market transformation. Forrester Research estimates that firms will spend US$800M in Hadoop software and related services in 2017. According to Zion Market Research, the global Hadoop market is expected to reach approximately US$87.14B by 2022, growing at a CAGR of around 50% between 2017 and 2022.

Apache Hadoop 2.8 is the result of 2 years of extensive collaborative development from the global Apache Hadoop community. With 2,914 commits as new features, improvements and bug fixes since v2.7, highlights include:
  • Several important security related enhancements, including Hadoop UI protection of Cross-Frame Scripting (XFS) which is an attack that combines malicious JavaScript with an iframe that loads a legitimate page in an effort to steal data from an unsuspecting user, and Hadoop REST API protection of Cross site request forgery (CSRF) attack which attempt to force an authenticated user to execute functionality without their knowledge.

  • Support for Microsoft Azure Data Lake as a source and destination of data. This benefits anyone deploying Hadoop in Microsoft's Azure Cloud. The Azure Data Lake service was actually developed for Hadoop and analytics workloads.

  • The "S3A" client for working with data stored in Amazon S3 has been radically enhanced for scalability, performance, and security. The performance enhancements were driven by Apache Hive and Apache Spark benchmarks. In Hive TCP-DS benchmarks, Apache Hadoop is currently faster working with columnar data stored in S3  than Amazon EMR's closed-source connector. This shows the benefit of collaborative Open Source development.

  • Several WebHDFS related enhancements include integrated CSRF prevention filter in WebHDFS, support OAuth2 in WebHDFS, disallow/allow snapshots via WebHDFS, and more.

  • Integration with other applications has been improved with a separate jar for the hdfs-client than the hadoop-hdfs JAR with all the server side code. Downstream projects that access HDFS can depend on the hadoop-hdfs-client module to reduce the amount of transitive classpath dependencies.

  • YARN NodeManager Resource Reconfiguration through RM Admin CLI for a live cluster that allows YARN clusters to have a more flexible resource model especially for a Cloud deployment.

In addition to physical Hadoop clusters, where the majority of storage and computation lies, Apache Hadoop is very popular within Cloud infrastructures. Contributions from Apache Hadoop's diverse community includes improvements provided by Cloud infrastructure vendors and large Hadoop-in-Cloud users. These improvements include: Azure and S3 storage and YARN reconfiguration in particular, improve Hadoop's deployment on and integration with Cloud Infrastructures. The improvements in Hadoop 2.8 enable Cloud-deployed clusters to be more dynamic in sizing, adapting to demand by scaling up and down.

"My colleagues and I are happy that tests of Apache Hive and Hadoop 2.8 show that we are able to provide a similar experience reading data in from S3 as Amazon EMR, with its closed-source fork/rewrite of S3," said Steve Loughran, member of the Apache Hadoop Project Management Committee.

Hailed as a "Swiss army knife of the 21st century" by the Media Guardian Innovation Awards  and "the most important software you’ve never heard of…helped enable both Big Data and Cloud computing" by author Thomas Friedman, Apache Hadoop is used by an array of companies such as Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, foursquare, IBM, HP, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, The New York Times, Rackspace, SAP,  Tencent, Teradata, Tesla Motors, Uber, and Twitter. Yahoo, an early pioneer, hosts the world's largest known Hadoop production environment to date, spanning more than 38,000 nodes.

Catch Apache Hadoop in action at DataWorks Summit 13-15 June 2017 in San Jose, CA.

Availability and Oversight
Apache Hadoop software is released under the Apache License v2.0 and is overseen by a self-selected team of active contributors to the project. A Project Management Committee (PMC) guides the Project's day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases. For downloads, documentation, and ways to become involved with Apache Hadoop, visit and

About The Apache Software Foundation (ASF)
Established in 1999, the all-volunteer Foundation oversees more than 350 leading Open Source projects, including Apache HTTP Server --the world's most popular Web server software. Through the ASF's meritocratic process known as "The Apache Way," more than 680 individual Members and 6,000 Committers successfully collaborate to develop freely available enterprise-grade software, benefiting millions of users worldwide: thousands of software solutions are distributed under the Apache License; and the community actively participates in ASF mailing lists, mentoring initiatives, and ApacheCon, the Foundation's official user conference, trainings, and expo. The ASF is a US 501(c)(3) charitable organization, funded by individual donations and corporate sponsors including Alibaba Cloud Computing, ARM, Bloomberg, Budget Direct, Capital One, Cash Store, Cerner, Cloudera, Comcast, Confluent, Facebook, Google, Hortonworks, HP, Huawei, IBM, InMotion Hosting, iSigma, LeaseWeb, Microsoft, ODPi, PhoenixNAP, Pivotal, Private Internet Access, Produban, Red Hat, Serenata Flowers, Target, WANdisco, and Yahoo. For more information, visit and

© The Apache Software Foundation. "Apache", "Hadoop", "Apache Hadoop", and "ApacheCon" are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Apache Software Foundation in the United States and/or other countries. All other brands and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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