The Apache Software Foundation Blog

Tuesday September 05, 2017

Success at Apache: Lowering Barriers to Open Innovation

By Luke Han

Over the past decade, I was a Java developer using many Apache projects such as Tomcat, Jakarta, Struts, and Velocity. In 2010 I stepped into the Big Data field and started to actively participate in Apache projects, and became an ASF Member 3 years ago. In addition to being the VP of Apache Kylin, I helped projects such as Apache Eagle and CarbonData move to the ASF, and have been a mentor for Apache Superset, Weex, and RocketMQ. Today, I'm co-founder/CEO of Kyligence (prior to that, I was Big Data Product Lead of eBay, and Chief Consultant of Actuate China).

Apache Kylin, as its name may suggest, originated from China ("Kylin": A powerful yet gentle fire-breathing creature in eastern mythology. Also written as Qilin. "Apache Kylin": OLAP on Hadoop, capable of analyzing petabytes of data within seconds http://kylin.apache.org/ ). I started this project with a few members in early 2015. 

As a pioneer of the first highly-recognized Apache project from the Eastern world, I was proud to see that, within 2 years, Kylin has helped over 500 organizations across the globe to solve their Big Data challenges. 

Before Kylin graduated from the Apache Incubator, the Kylin team faced a lot of cultural challenges. Since a great number of projects from China had failed in the past, we too received many questions and doubts from both eastern and western worlds. As our native language is not English, communication with mentors did become difficult during the coaching process. Fortunately, by fully embracing The Apache Way, Kylin is able to succeed with strong support from the Apache community members. Much more beyond the Kylin software, our team has also worked with those talented people in a way to spread our Chinese voice to the world. 

While developing high-quality software, we are engaging more Westerners to understand the Eastern culture. I had many chances to travel and meet people across the globe since I initiated Kylin. Some of them are Apache directors and mentors, some of them are developers and contributors. Some are from US, Australia, Canada and Chile; some are from Japan and Taiwan. Some are impressed with Kylin, some are curious about Easterners’ attitude toward Open Source software. I asked them a lot of questions about The Apache Way, and they all generously coached me and my team with lovely and detailed answers. We too could reach consensuses after intensive and open arguments. Kylin received much more encouragement and recognition than I expected.

As a VP of a Top-Level Project, my responsibility grew after Kylin graduated from the Apache Incubator. Kylin faced more opportunities as it has been bug-fixed quickly and tested frequently, with the nature of an Open Source software. In the China’s well-knowingly-big market, Apache Kylin has received many users’ feedback and evolved fast. We received many suggestions from both developers’ perspective and products’ perspective. Beyond my expectation, many community members are passionately writing tools for Kylin and helping users better understand and use Kylin. Assembling members’ ideas, we are also sharing our knowledge as a way to give back to the community. 

Thanks to ASF and everyone involved in the Open Source community, I have the opportunity to work with people that I’ve always admired and make a difference in the world all together. I feel I and my team are deeply connected with such warm, global, open community.

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"Success at Apache" is a monthly blog series that focuses on the processes behind why the ASF "just works". 1) Project Independence https://s.apache.org/CE0V 2) All Carrot and No Stick https://s.apache.org/ykoG 3) Asynchronous Decision Making https://s.apache.org/PMvk 4) Rule of the Makers https://s.apache.org/yFgQ 5) JFDI --the unconditional love of contributors https://s.apache.org/4pjM 6) Meritocracy and Me https://s.apache.org/tQQh 7) Learning to Build a Stronger Community https://s.apache.org/x9Be 8) Meritocracy. https://s.apache.org/DiEo

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