The Apache Software Foundation Blog

Monday June 04, 2018

Success at Apache: the Chance to Influence the World

by Weiwei Yang

I submitted my first patch to Apache Hadoop in 2015, a very simple bug fix with just a few lines of changes. However the feeling is still vivid to me when the patch was accepted, I felt great accomplishment. It was not about how big the change was, but rather because I knew even a small change would help a lot of people. This is the best thing I like about working in Open Source, the work I've done has the chance to influence the world. 

As of today, I have contributed nearly 200 patches to Apache Hadoop, over 20k lines of code. I still feel happy when the community accepts my patches. I believe that having such passion is an essential for an individual contributor to make the way to Apache. Unless your company paid you to work on Open Source, you must find yourself such accomplishment during the work, otherwise the commitment won't last. Like me, I spent over 3 years until I received commit privileges for Hadoop. In retrospect, it was a tough, challenging but fast growth journey. I am glad I did not give up and finally get where I am now.

If you are hired by a commercial company that sells products or services powered by Open Source software, then congratulations, you are on a shortcut to Apache. Such companies usually have a strong team working directly on Open Source projects and a lot of committers. Being a member of such organization, you will have more time working on the project, get faster feedback of your patches, opportunities to participate more discussions and much deeper involvement. Unfortunately, I was not working for such companies. Moreover, my native language is not English and I have a big timezone gap with the majority people from the community. That makes my path to Apache much more difficult. I believe there are many people, just like me at 3 years ago, who are willing to contribute but finding it hard to. In this post, I will share some tips how to work with the Apache community and how to grow up to a committer.

First, it's important that you know things that are public to everyone. Every Open Source project has its own tutorials introducing how to contribute, be sure you have read that before working on any patches. Those documents generally tell you how to contribute code in the "Apache" way, and how to collaborate with the community.

Second, don't mind fixing bugs. Actually I suggest to begin with fixing bugs. You may find bugs in your daily work, or somebody reported to the community. No matter if they are big or not, bugs must be fixed so that it's easier to get attention from the community. In an Open Source community, everyone volunteers to review some other ones' patches. So don't be upset if nobody gets to your patch quickly, try to soft ping committers around this area. But never push them for anything. And always be polite.

More involvement. There are many ways to get more involvement. First, if a community sets up a MeetUp once in a while, try to attend even you are remote or in an inconvenient local time. Such MeetUps can help you gather information of the development status, current community focus etc. It also helps others to get familiar with your face; second, try to participate in more discussions. This could be discussions on mailing lists, issue tracking systems or a Web conference that discusses a particular issue/design. In my opinion, this is the hardest part especially for contributors from overseas.

Be self-motivated and passionate. Nobody forces you to work on Open Source projects, you need to keep motivating yourself. Like I first mentioned in this post, there are more ways to be self-motivated than just feeling accomplished. Working in the community gives you the chance to work in a diverse environment, meet people from different companies and different countries; you can get as many chances as you want to solve difficult real problems, and improve your skills; you can build your reputation in the community which also helps your career development.

I truly hope my experiences would help people. Now I am working at Alibaba Group, and it gives me more reason to write this post. I see a lot of talented people around, they have solid skills, they have done and are doing a lot work to make Hadoop better. They are open to contributing back but are having various of difficulties to work with the community. I am committed to helping grow this community, and I do believe an open and diverse community will help the project thrive.  


Weiwei Yang is a Staff Engineer working at Alibaba Group. He has been working on Big Data area for over 8 years, most of time working on Apache Hadoop. He contributed to several Apache projects such as YARN, HDFS, MapReduce, Ambari and Slider, and an active Hadoop committer. At present, he is working in Alibaba’s data infrastructure team and is focusing on evolving Apache YARN to support mixed workloads, improve performance and cluster utilization. Prior to that, he worked in IBM for several years and won multiple Open Source contribution awards.

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"Success at Apache" is a monthly blog series that focuses on the processes behind why the ASF "just works" https://blogs.apache.org/foundation/category/SuccessAtApache

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The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® Traffic Control™ as a Top-Level Project

Open Source Content Delivery Network used by Cisco, Comcast, Cox, Qwilt, and others serves 30+ petabytes of content each day.

Wakefield, MA —4 June 2018— The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache® Traffic Control™ as a Top-Level Project (TLP).

Apache Traffic Control can be used to build, monitor, configure, and provision a large-scale content delivery network (CDN). Traffic Control originated at Comcast and was released as an Open Source project in April 2015; the project was donated to the Apache Incubator in July 2016.

"We are extremely excited to be an Apache Top-Level Project," said Dave Neuman, Vice President of Apache Traffic Control. "This is an amazing milestone for Traffic Control, and a testament to scale, strength and dedication of everyone in our community." 

Traffic Control is a CDN control plane originally built around Apache Traffic Server as the caching software. Traffic Control implements all the core functions of a modern CDN using the following components:
  • Traffic Router — Routes clients to the best available cache on the CDN using HTTP(s) redirects or DNS;
  • Traffic Monitor — Monitors caches for both system and application metrics and uses those to make health decisions on the CDN;
  • Traffic Ops — Configuration, tenant, and inventory management for all CDN components;
  • Traffic Stats — Calculates and stores statistics about CDNs managed by Traffic Control; and 
  • Traffic Portal — User interface for managing and operating Traffic Control CDNs

Every day, Traffic Control CDNs serve over 50 billion transactions amounting to over 30 petabytes of content worldwide. Apache Traffic Control is in use at Comcast, Cisco, Cox, and Qwilt, among others.

"Traffic Control unlocks significant innovation in the CDN space," said Mark Torluemke, Director of CDN Engineering at Comcast. "The ASF is the perfect place for that innovation to thrive."

"Having Traffic Control become an Apache Top-Level Project is a testament to the technology's functional breadth, performance, and scalability in building Content Delivery Networks," said Eric Friedrich, OMD Technical Leader at Cisco. "As an active contributor to Traffic Control, Cisco is very excited to continue incorporating Traffic Control into its Open Media Distribution offering for Service Provider video distribution solutions."

"Qwilt is thrilled to see Traffic Control receive this hard-earned and well-deserved status as an Apache Top-Level Project. TLP status recognizes the extraordinary work and progress of the Traffic Control community of contributors," said Alon Maor, CEO at Qwilt. "We are proud to be part of this community and particularly pleased to see Traffic Control's stature continue to rise within the Apache Software Foundation. As we go to market with Traffic Control, we consistently get feedback from prospects and customers about the value of an Open Source approach to the modern CDN. The Apache Traffic Control Project embodies the Web-scale innovation that service providers are so eager to embrace."

"Cox has been involved with this project since 2014 and has over 4 years of experience with running it in a large national network. Apache Traffic Control is the first CDN platform in the Open Source domain and really brings something that was missing in the market," said Steve Malenfant, Principal Engineer at Cox. "We love the flexibility of the system and the ease to scale up as well as being able to collaborate with peers that have similar challenges."

"As great as this accomplishment is, it's only the beginning," added Neuman. "We are looking forward to growing our community, attracting new contributors, and continuing to be a leader in the CDN space."

The Traffic Control community holds summits twice a year and is very active on Slack as well as its official project user and developer mailing lists. Catch Apache Traffic Control in action at ApacheCon North America 24-27 September 2018.

Availability and Oversight
Apache Traffic Control 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 Traffic Control, visit http://trafficcontrol.apache.org/

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 730 individual Members and 6,800 Committers across six continents 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 Aetna, Anonymous, ARM, Bloomberg, Budget Direct, Capital One, Cerner, Cloudera, Comcast, Facebook, Google, Hortonworks, Huawei, IBM, Indeed, Inspur, LeaseWeb, Microsoft, Oath, ODPi, Pineapple Fund, Pivotal, Private Internet Access, Red Hat, Target, and Union Investment. For more information, visit http://apache.org/ and https://twitter.com/TheASF


© The Apache Software Foundation. "Apache", "Traffic Control", "Apache Traffic Control", 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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