Daily Archives: July 26, 2008

Apache: sponsorship vs membership

It seems Microsoft’s sponsorship of the ASF is being mis-reported as membership, for example here.

That is not merely wrong: it’s impossible. ASF members are not corporations, we’re individuals. We earn membership by what we do, not what we pay[1]. So while it’s entirely possible for Microsoft employees to become members[2], the idea of the company doing so is a non sequiter.

The idea that this gives Microsoft any kind of influence in Apache projects is also nonsense.  Apache projects are managed by individuals who leave behind any corporate affiliations when we don the Apache hat.  The most a company can get is an indirect stake in an Apache project by employing or contracting with key developers, and (AFAIK) the nearest Microsoft has come to that is in their joint project with SourceSense.

[1] Membership of the ASF costs nothing, just as contributing to ASF projects doesn’t pay.

[2] At least, as far as the ASF is concerned, though Microsoft’s attitude towards the common good may have to come quite a lot further. The biggest shift may come if they want badly enough to hire someone who insists on their right to participate in opensource projects.

Apache += Microsoft (sponsorship)

Another OSCON announcement: Microsoft is joining Google and Yahoo as a Platinum Sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation.  That means an additional $100K a year: small-change to MS, but a big benefit to a volunteer-based nonprofit organisation.

This seems to fit Microsoft’s general direction of increasing friendliness to opensource organisations such as ASF who do not pose an ideological or legal problem for them.  This is a progression from past deals such as sponsoring ApacheCon (Dublin 2006, IIRC) and offering free MSDN membership to Apache developers.

Thank you Microsoft.