Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've developed some software within my company and we have agreed that the future of the work is to open source it into the public domain.

Is there an official contact procedure to contact the Apache Software Foundation, apache.org, to propose a new project?

Looking at apache.org I've not been able to find a contact email or enquiry form, so I've resorted to searching lists of people involved in Apache projects and by chance some of them have blogs which may have a contact facility. Seems a bit haphazard way to make an important proposal about a new project, to me.

I'm considering Apache as an Open Source Software (OSS) organisation first because

  • the project is based on existing Apache libraries and is therefore a practical business problem demonstration applying those libraries, existing on the same open source platform is mutually beneficial - for example library updates may be easier, the project may be easier to find as a related project
  • Apache Software License appears to be the most suitable license to use, given that the libraries that the project uses use the same and that ASL seems to be more flexible and pragmatic than GPL and possibly attracts more developers including those with commercial motivation
  • Java-based: the project is Java based and Apache is a large, possibly even the largest, independent non-profit open source supporter of Java.

I would consider other platforms too and if so would want to know how to contact them.

Background Reading

I've been researching how to Open Source, some notable references so far: (but so far not seen how to contact an OSS organisation once you are nearly ready to publish)

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

From http://incubator.apache.org/

The Incubator project is the entry path into The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) for projects and codebases wishing to become part of the Foundation's efforts. All code donations from external organisations and existing external projects wishing to join Apache enter through the Incubator.

Java projects usually end up under the Jakarta umbrella.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 Exactly what I'm looking for. Likely to accept as answer. –  therobyouknow Dec 22 '10 at 19:56
    
Accepted for above reasons. –  therobyouknow Dec 22 '10 at 20:16
add comment

You don't need the ASF unless your software competes against expensive, profitable, and proprietary software. Then the ASF will help you ensure that you and your organization will be able to fight copyright and patent lawsuits resulting from open-sourcing your software.

First you have to figure out intellectual property ownership. For copyright ownership, you & your company can choose between either you, your company, you and your company, or the public domain that owns the copyright. You need to figure out patents. You need to know if your software has any novel ideas that you have patented. You also need to know if your software implements ideas from other patents. You also need to know if there are any novel but unpatented ideas in your software.

Secondly, you have to figure out a license. With public domain, no license is needed, except in jurisdictions which don't recognize public domain. Don't put it in the public domain if there are existing patents that you are unwilling to license for free, or if others have patents against your software. If your software implements specific patents that you either don't want to release or you don't own, then release your code under BSD, MIT, or GPLv2. If your software has specific patents which you also own and are willing to license for free to people who take, use, or distribute your software, then use Apache 2.0 or GPLv3. If you want to make your software free for businesses to embed without them giving up their linked proprietary code, then use Apache 2.0, BSD or MIT. If you want the software and its derivatives to always be free to be studied and improved by everybody, use GPLv2 or GPLv3. There are other licenses too, but this covers the common cases.

Thirdly, you have to release your code. I recommend releasing it on github.com. You could also use sourceforge.net, freshmeat.net, and other such places.

Fourthly, you have to build a developer and user community around the code. It needs to get to the point where there are people who are willing to take your code and run with it and without you. The first step is to build a community is to get many people to contribute to the code base, and make sure that each of their names is on the list of copyright owners. That way it will become impossible for a single entity to "take the code proprietary". (It has happened). The second step to building a community is that your code then needs a wiki for users. It may also need a professional support organization so that people can pay for professional support and integration of your application into their systems.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 For a very thoughtful and relevant answer covering many of the questions one would need to get answers for before and during an open sourcing process. –  therobyouknow Dec 22 '10 at 19:58
    
Where I am at is that I have gone past the stage of deciding if the work is patentable. Our legal and business team don't believe that there are patentable items in the work but the work is a novel approach to an existing problem but not patentable. They recommend publishing the work in some form (i.e. open sourcing) to give our Company freedom of action; no one else can claim the work as theirs either if the work is public. –  therobyouknow Dec 22 '10 at 20:02
    
Making a work public is a device whereby the the inventing company can use their work without accusation of infringement by anyone else. Being public, I assume that it gives less incentive for others to claim the work as their own when it can obviously be proved that this is not the case. –  therobyouknow Dec 22 '10 at 20:05
    
The other reason why I think companies, and possibly ours, can use open-sourcing is that it establishes a standard, and ecosystem, paves the way for a market based around the technology as clients have the peace of mind of not being locked into a proprietary technology; they can develop the technology themselves and/or outsource to a vendor to do it for them if that is not their core business, safe in the knowledge that they could switch vendors if the work is open source. –  therobyouknow Dec 22 '10 at 20:07
    
Vendors make their money not from licenses of the software itself but from professional services deploying the open source technology. I believe in this business model because there will be companies that want to use open source technology for the non-locked-in reasons but not get involved in the deployment because it is not part of their core business. –  therobyouknow Dec 22 '10 at 20:10
show 4 more comments

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.