Apache Board of Directors - a retrospective

2019-03-28 19:06
Last term I had the honour of serving on the ASF board of directors, better explained in context of the ASF governance structure. As quite a few directors (myself included) declined to run for the board this year again, I thought it would be a good idea to think about the past term, write that down and publish those thoughts. As I wanted to give every board member a chance to respond, I shared some guiding questions but left it to board members to choose the channel they deemed most appropriate to share their responses on. So far, two decided to make their answers publicly available: When posting the questions, I intented to share my own answers as well - but refrain from publishing them for as long as possible to not influence others. So here we go: For a bit of context where I'm coming from: When I was first nominated for board I didn't see that nomination coming at all. This was back in 2016. I did accept, I was voted in. Back then I was still in a technical role, even though what I had been doing in various teams and open source projects was much more on the leadership and management side oftentimes. As a matter of fact, after that one year it was time to make a shift in roles in my dayjob as well. I took a one year break in 2017, was elected as board member again in 2018. Seems like twelve months is just about the timeframe that works for me - maybe some of the answers below will explain why that is the case.
Which areas were a lot of fun for you?
What is truely the most fun part is working with excellent people who have a ton of experience and know what they are doing - even though they themselves are sometimes in a mode like "we just need to make this up as we go because there really is nobody who has been faced with these challenges before".

The other part that is really fun is that even besides the fact that there is quite a bit to do, there's always someone who keeps the morale up, who brings their humour to the team. Be it on the board members meeting IRC backchannel or other places.

If you are not subscribed to board@: Every quarter projects are supposed to submit a quarterly board report. To guide their reporting and make it easier for those parts that can be derived from project communication statistics, there's a report generation tool. It will generate a project board report template that includes headings for some sections that can only be filled by a human. Those sections come with default text - text that is entirely non-sensical - but fun to read, should projects forget to fill in the real content. Trying to remember from memory, as I'm offline for the coming weeks, it was something along the lines of

==Project health narrative
Minions took over your project and are having a party.

The last part is the chance to bring people together, work together, trust each other across large distances - to the point of sharing family stories. While face to face meetings are awesome for bonding with people, those I've encountered so far as directors were easy to work with across distances even if I had met them just a couple times for a few days years ago at an ApacheCon. An "assume best intent" kind of attitude is certainly helpful there. On a tangent that also means that typically I'm communicating with people on eye level, only to get scared for a split second weeks and months later when coming across their LinkedIn profile and reading what they do or have done for a living...

Which parts were particularly educational for you?
  • The way the Apache board runs board meetings with several dozen agenda points in very well under two hours by moving as many decisions to asynchronous channels as possible. This makes it possible to participate from many more time zones than I have seen at any other organisation. It also means that people don't have to align on when everyone has time to participate in the meeting and can do most of the discussion and decision work whenever they happen to have time for it spread out over many days. On the flip side this means the entire process feels like it's slowed down a lot - except it wouldn't be possible any other way as those know who have tried to get all nine directors in one room at one date at one time during that day.
  • I had no idea how budgeting is done at the ASF's scale before being part of that discussion. I was very glad to know that there are other directors who have experience with that topic.
  • In every board meeting we go over project board reports: Everytime there are some where I'm like: "You should totally talk about what you're doing there to a wider audience than just your project." - it's great when that advise is actually followed up on - it's even better as so far everytime such learnings were written down behind a stable URL, that URL became very popular as a reference for other going forward.

Are there any parts of being a board member that you could imagine helping with even after stepping down?
Pretty much all tasks the board does can be done by any member. One thing I seriously would like to continue doing is to build more bridges between the board of directors and projects (inviting new PMC chairs to join the board meeting and take away their fear that it might last hours is just one possibility).

If asked I will also continue answering questions on best practices, how to get involved and generally try to pull people in - both into projects as well as into the foundation itself.

With a bit of hind-sight: A few months after leaving the board of directors, what I did continue doing was make time to explain the Apache Way to other people. I'm also interested in keeping the discussion on how to get involved - and how to convince your employer to donate your time to the foundation alive. Another thing I would really love to find best practices and patterns for is how to balance full-time open source contributors with those working on projects occasionally. This isn't much different to the challenge of integrating part-time and full-time employees - something that at least in some German companies has been solved for a long time already. Time to also find a solution for Apache projects taking project neutrality one step further.

Which areas were particularly time costly for you?
We have well over 200 projects. Each is required to submit a board report on a quarterly basis. While most aren't particularly long, the content does add up. While in theory, checking private lists, following a few discussions and listening to project contributors (be they users, contributors, committers or pmc members) would be needed to spot governance issues early, the current number of projects to check for each shepherd means that issues will be discovered too late for precise, scalpel like patches. Somehow that entire process is something that in my opinion could benefit from a better collective understanding of what constitutes a healthy projects, including an understanding of just how much freedom there is in configuring your project governance best practices.

Maybe the Apache maturity model would be a good starting point for spotting best practices. Maybe it would be helpful to also come up with project anti patterns to watch out for to take the guess-work out of the process of writing a board report.

Which areas were energy costly for you - didn't necessarily take a lot of time but were definitely not fun to deal with?
There's just one example that's standing out for this one: Occasions where the board needed to delegate tasks to a new role. The main reason here was that typically the discussions quickly dissolved into mixing role name, role accountabilities, person to fill the role and budget for the role all into one discussion.

While for the final result all four perspectives need to come together, in my experience, it helps to first think about the actual accountabilities that should be delegated. Only after that look for a name that fits, otherwise people will associate accountabilities because of the name, believe that those accountabiities aren't needed and reject the need for the role entirely.

Only after having exact accountabilities start discussing budget - it's much easier to talk about money, once it's clear exactly what the purpose looks like that the money is going to be spent on. Once that is out of the way, start looking for a human to fill the role. Even if there is an obvious choice popping up, make your need for that role to be filled known and go looking for volunteers. You'd be surprised to hear how many new faces we've seen speak up and get active - lowering the load on any usual suspects.

"I wish I had known this before joining the board"
The ASF is really good at hiding where it was incorporated in it's daily operations. Being a director that suddenly moves a lot closer: It's becomes much more likely that your communication becomes of interest in a suppeona (luckily, there's an archive for pretty much everything, so the relevant communication can be handed over fairly quickly). For me this lesson moved the ASF a whole lot closer to a regular company with a BYOD policy though.

In terms of how to run a US Delaware law incorporated 501.c3 foundation I was lucky insofar as there were still several long term directors as well as former directors around that knew about and were happy to talk about the constraints of what could be done and what couldn't be done - and why so.

In your opinion - what are the strengths of the ASF board?
  • They have developed an awesome model of collaboration with an asynchronous decision making process that does scale.
  • The people I had the honour to serve with remained human beings, including the humor and including their private family background.
  • The ones I have seen serve in their individual capacity leaving corporate interests at the door - or announcing when discussions are started because of what they observed at dayjob.
  • They bring a ton of experience from all sorts of backgrounds - both, culturally but also in terms of which companies they've seen from the inside - trying to learn from all of that experience to build a better world that is much more flexible and light weight than your average large scale enterprise.

In your opinion - what are areas for potential improvement for the ASF board?
A lot of the things that I think of reading that question really are things that could be improved even without being a director: Documentation on how the foundation works at the project, and at the operational level; documentation of expectations of projects, making purpose and actual content of previous decsions easier to discover...

The only thing that comes to my mind that the board could watch out for is to have discussions in such a way as to keep all relevant people in the loop, facilitating a dialogue with people instead of about them. For contentious discussions it might also help to have a set of moderation techniques that have proven helpful in asynchronous communcation handy.

In your opinion - what changes should be made to the way the ASF board operates, interacts with communities, interacts with the wider ASF ecosystem, interacts with the public?
While at the ASF we are very good at thinking about inward facing communication, I believe we can become much better at communicating to the non-ASF world. As we grow, I believe that perspective becomes ever more important - we cannot rely on people to just "get" how we work from simply following our projects and becoming ever more involved.

Being community over code to me implies counting the user/customer of our projects as part of that community. They are the ones who have the fresh eyes to spot flaws in our argumentation of why we are doing things the way we do - and spot advantages. However they can only do that by understanding what goal and purpose we want to work towards.

Any advice for new board members - where to look first, what legal implications to keep in mind, what PR implications to keep in mind etc.?
While being a director can be done even with little time available, there are others on the board that dedicate a lot more time to the task than you will have available. Don't let that stress you out. For some discussions it helps to wait a day before writing an answer - either someone else will have writting what you wanted to say after that - or you'll be in a much better state of mind to make your statement without it being hidden behind a cloud of emotions that stop you from thinking clearly.

While being an ASF director may mean little to the people you work with - even if your dayjob builds their entire business on top of an Apache project - it does bear a lot of weight to many other people worldwide: ASF internal, or ASF external (e.g. press representatives). With that power comes a call for using it responsibly: The statements you make, even if they were only meant as a basis for discussions, will have the power to cause fear if not marked as such.

People will seek you out with the issues they are having in their community. Instead of jumping in yourself which does not scale long term, try to figure out how to help them in a sustainable way - e.g. by helping to find the right more public space to talk about the issues they have encountered and discuss a solution in public.

Remember that the board at the ASF is designed to move slowly. As a result do not expect to make ground breaking changes within just one board term. However do expect that the little changes you do make will make a big difference in the long run. Essentially that's a side effect of a foundation that's build on the goal of longevity.

One thing that is different at the director level (as well as the operational level): While in a lot of positions we have setup process that allow for people to take a break without announcement for any amount of time, director and operational positions do mean that there is a need for dependability and reliability - you will need to make time for that position regularly for at least one year.

What are the tasks and time commitment?
That totally depends on how much time and energy you want to commit. At the bare minimum if it's only about oversight a couple hours a week and maybe two days running up to board meetings could be sufficient (that's where projects submitting reports early make life easier for directors).

Tell us about a moment from your time on the ASF board that is most precious to you.
I tried to think of one - except there wasn't. While it does take time and energy, it's also a great source of positive inspiration, including tons of chances to learn from others.

DataworksSummit Berlin - Wednesday morning

2018-04-19 06:50
Data strategy - cloud strategy - business strategy: Aligning the three was one of the main themes (initially put forward in his opening keynote by CTO of Hortonworks Scott Gnau) thoughout this weeks Dataworks Summit Berlin kindly organised and hosted by Hortonworks. The event was attended by over 1000 attendees joining from 51 countries.

The inspiration hat was put forward in the first keynote by Scott was to take a closer look at the data lifecycle - including the fact that a lot of data is being created (and made available) outside the control of those using it: Smart farming users are using a combination of weather data, information on soil conditions gathered through sensors out in the field in order to inform daily decisions. Manufacturing is moving towards closer monitoring of production lines to spot inefficiencies. Cities are starting to deploy systems that allow for better integration of public services. UX is being optimized through extensive automation.

When it comes to moving data to the cloud, the speaker gave a nice comparison: To him, explaining the difficulties that moving to the cloud brings is similar to the challenges that moving "stuff" to external storage in the garage brings: It opens questions of "Where did I put this thing?", but also about access control, security. Much the same way, cloud and on-prem integration means that questions like encryption, authorization, user tracking, data governance need to be answered. But also questions like findability, discoverability and integration for analysis purposes.

The second keynote was given by Mandy Chessell from IBM introducing Apache Atlas for metadata integration and governance.

In the third keynote, Bernard Marr talked about the five promises of big data:

  • Informing decisions based on data: The goal here should be to move towards self service platforms to remove the "we need a data scientist for that" bottleneck. That in turn needs quite some training and hand-holding for those interested in the self-service platforms.
  • Understanding customers and customer trends better: The example given was a butcher shop that would install a mobile phone tracker in his shop window in order to see which advertisement would make more people stop by and look closer. As a side effect he noticed an increase in people on the street in the middle of the night (coming from pubs nearby). A decision was made to open at that time, offer what people were searching for at that time according to Google trends - by now that one hour in the night makes a sizeable portion of the shop's income. The second example given was Disney already watching all it's Disney park visitors through wrist bands, automating line management at popular attractions - but also deploying facial recognition watching audiences watch shows in figure out how well those shows are received.
  • Improve the customer value proposition: The example given was the Royal Bank of Scotland moving closer to it's clients, informing them through automated means when interest rates are dropping, or when they are double insured - thus building trust and transparency. The other example given was that of a lift company building sensors into lifts in order to be able to predict failures and repair lifts when they are least used.
  • Automate business processes: Here the example was that of a car insurance that would offer dynamic rates if people would let themselves monitor during driving. Those adhering to speed limits, avoiding risky routes and times would get lower rates. Another example was that of automating the creation of sports reports e.g. for tennis matches based on sensors deployed, or that of automating Forbes analyst reports some of which get published without the involvement of a journalist.
  • Last but not least the speaker mentioned the obvious business case of selling data assets - e.g. selling aggregated and refined data gathered through sensors in the field back to farmers. Another example was the automatic detection of events based on sounds detected - e.g. gun shots close to public squares and selling that back to the police.

After the keynotes were over breakout sessions started - including my talk about the Apache Way. It was good to see people show up to learn how all the open source big data projects are working behind the scences - and how they themselves can get involved in contributing and shaping these projects. I'm looking forward to receiving pictures of feather shaped cookies.

During lunch there was time to listen in on how Santander operations is using data analytics to drive incident detection, as well as load prediction for capacity planning.

After lunch I had time for two more talks: The first explained how to integrate Apache MxNet with Apache NiFi to bring machine learning to the edge. The second one introduced Apache Beam - an abstraction layer above Apache Flink, Spark and Google's platform.

Both, scary and funny: Walking up to the Apache Beam speaker after his talk (having learnt at DataworksSummit that he is PMC Chair of Apache Beam) - only to be greeted with "I know who *you* are" before even getting to introduce oneself...

Apache Breakfast

2018-04-17 07:39

In case you missed it but are living in Berlin - or are visiting Berlin/ Germany this week: A handful of Apache people (committers/ members) are meeting over breakfast on Friday morning this week. If you are interested in joining, please let me know (or check yourself - in the archives of the mailing list party@apache.org)

FOSS Backstage - Schedule online

2018-04-17 07:27
In January the CfP for FOSS Backstage opened. By now reviews have been done, speakers notified and a schedule created.

I'm delighted to find both - a lot of friends from the Apache Software Foundation but also a great many speakers that aren't affiliated with the ASF among the speakers.

If you want to know how Open Source really works, if you want to get a glimpse behind the stage, do not wait for too long to grab your ticket now and join us in summer in Berlin/ Germany.

If project management is only partially of your interest, we have you covered as well: For those interested in storing, searching and scaling data analysis, Berlin Buzzwords is scheduled to take place in the same week. For those interested in Tomcat, httpd, cloud and iot, Apache Roadshow is scheduled to happen on the same days as FOSS Backstage - and your FOSS Backstage ticket grants you access to Apache Roadshow as well.

If you're still not convinced - head over to the conference website and check out the talks available yourself.

My board nomination statement 2018

2018-03-23 07:21
Two days ago the Apache Software Foundation members meeting started. One of the outcomes of each members meeting is an elected board of directors. The way that works is explained here: Annual Apache members meeting. As explained in the linked post, members accepting their nomination to become a

director are supposed to provide a nomination statement. This year they were also asked to answer a set of questions so members could better decide who to vote for.

As one of my favourite pet peeves is to make the inner workings of the foundation more transparent to outsiders (and have said so in the nomination statement) - I would like to start by publishing my own nomination statement here for others to read who don't have access to our internal communication channels:

Board statement:

Two years ago I was put on a roller coaster by being nominated as Apache board member which subsequently meant I got to serve on the board in 2016. Little did I know what kind of questions were waiting for me.

Much like back then I won't treat this position statement as a voting campaign. I don't claim to have answers to all the questions we face as we grow larger - however I believe being a board member even at our size should be something that is fun. Something that is lightweight enough so people don't outright decline their nominations just for lack of time.

One thing I learnt the hard way is scalability needs two major ingredients: Breaking dependencies and distribution of workload. Call me old-fashioned (even though chemistry can hide my gray hair, my preference for mutt as a mail client betrays my age), but I believe we already have some of the core values to achieve just that:
  • "Community over code" to me includes rewarding contributions that aren't code. I believe it is important to get people into the foundation that are committed to both our projects as well as the foundation itself - helping us in all sorts of ways, including but not limited to coding, documenting, marketing, mentoring, legal, education and more.
  • "What didn't happen on the mailing list didn't happen" to me means communicating as publicly as possible (while keeping privacy as needed) to enable others to better understand where we are, how we work, what we value and ultimately how to help us. I would like for us to think twice before sending information to private lists - both at the project and at the operational level.
  • I believe we can do better in getting those into the loop who have a vested interest in seeing that our projects are run in a vendor neutral way: Our downstream users who rely on Apache projects for their daily work.
I am married to a Linux kernel geek working for the Amazon kernel and operating systems team - I've learnt a long time ago that the Open Source world is bigger than just one project, bigger than just one foundation. Expect me to keep the bigger picture in mind during my work here that is not ASF exclusive.

Much like Bertrand I'm a European - that means I do see value in time spent offline, in being disconnected. I would like to urge others to take that liberty as well - if not for yourselves, then at least to highlight where we are still lacking in terms of number of people that can take care of a vital role.

As you may have guessed from the time it took for me to accept this nomination, I didn't take the decision lightly. For starters semi-regularly following the discussion on board@ to me feels like there are people way more capable than myself. Seeing just how active people are feels like my time budget is way too limited.

So what made me accept? I consider myself lucky seeing people nominated for the Apache board who are capable leaders that bring very diverse skills, capabilities and knowledge with them that taken together will make an awesome board of directors.

I know that with FOSS Backstage one other "pet project of mine" is in capable hands, so I don't need to be involved in it on a day-to-day basis.

Last but not least I haven't forgotten that back in autumn 2016 Lars Trieloff* told me that I am a role model: Being an ASF director, while still working in tech, with a today three year old at home. As the saying goes "Wege entstehen dadurch, dass man sie geht" - free-form translation: "paths are created by walking them." So instead of pre-emptively declining my nomination I would like to find a way to make the role of being a Director at the Apache Software Foundation something that is manageable for a volunteer. Maybe along that way we'll find a piece in the puzzle to the question of who watches the watchmen - how do we reduce the number of volunteers that we burn through, operating at a sustainable level, enabling people outside of the board of directors to take over or help with tasks.

* Whom I know through the Apache Dinner/ Lunch Berlin that I used to organise what feels like ages ago. We should totally re-instate that again now that there are so many ASF affiliated people in or close to Berlin. Any volunteers? The one who organises gets to choose date and location after all ;)

Answers to questions to the board nominees:

On Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 01:57:07PM +0100, Daniel Gruno wrote:
> Missions, Visions...and Decisions:
> - The ASF exists with a primary goal of "providing open source
> software to the public, at no charge". What do you consider to be
> the foundation's most important secondary (implicit) goal?

I learnt a lot about what is valuable to us in the following discussion:


(and the following public thread over on dev@community with the same subject. My main take-away from there came from Bertrand: The value we are giving back to projects is by providing "A neutral space where they can operate according to our well established best practices."

The second learning I had just recently when I had the chance of thinking through some of the values that are encoded in our Bylaws that you do not find in those of other organisations: At the ASF you pay for influence with time (someone I respect a lot extended that by stating that you actually pay with time and love).

> - Looking ahead, 5 years, 10 years...what do you hope the biggest
> change (that you can conceivably contribute to) to the foundation
> will be, if any? What are your greatest concerns?

One year ago I had no idea that little over two months from now we would have something like FOSS Backstage here in Berlin: One thing the ASF has taught me is that predicting the future is futile - the community as a whole will make changes in this world that are way bigger than the individual contributions taken together.

> < - Which aspect(s) (if any) of the way the ASF operates today are you > least satisfied with? What would you do to change it?

Those are in my position statement already.

> #######################################

> Budget and Operations:
> - Which roles do you envision moving towards paid roles. Is this the
> right move, and if not, what can we do to prevent/delay this?

Honestly I cannot judge what's right and wrong here. I do know that burning through volunteers to me is not an option. What I would like to hear from you as a member is what you would need to step up and do operational tasks at the ASF.

Some random thoughts: - Do we have the right people in our membership that can fill these operational roles? Are we doing a good enough job in bringing people in with all sorts of backgrounds, who have done all sorts of types of contributions? - Are we doing a good enough job at making transparent where the foundation needs operational help? Are those roles small enough to be filled by one individual?

This question could be read like today work at the ASF is not paid for. This is far from true - both at the project as well as at the operational level. What I think we need is collective understanding of what the implications of various funding models are: Even if the ASF doesn't accept payment for development doesn't directly imply that projects are more independent as a result. I would assume the same to be true at the operational level.

> #######################################
> Membership and Governance:
> - Should the membership play a more prominent role in
> decision-making at the ASF? If so, where do you propose this be?

I may be naive but I still believe in the "those who do the work are those who take decisions". There only close to a dozen people who participated in the "ask the members questionaire" I sent around - something that was troubling for me to see was how pretty much everyone wanted

> - What would be your take on the cohesion of the ASF, the PMCs, the
> membership and the communities. Are we one big happy family, or
> just a bunch of silos? Where do you see it heading, and where do
> we need to take action, if anywhere?

If "one big happy family" conjures the picture of people with smiling faces only, than that is a very cheesy image of a family that in my experience doesn't reflect reality of what families typically look like.

This year at FOSDEM in Brussels we had a dinner table of maybe 15 people (while I did book the table, I don't remember the exact number - over-provisioning and a bit of improvisation helped a lot in making things scale) from various projects, who joined at various times. I do remember a lot of laughter at that table. If anything I think we need the help people to bump into each other face to face independently of their respective project community more often.

> - If you were in charge of overall community development (sorry,
> Sharan!), what would you focus on as your primary and secondary
> goal? How would you implement what you think is needed to achieve
> this?

I'm not in charge in that - nor would I want to be, nor should I be. The value I see in the ASF is that we rely very heavily on self organisation, so this foundation is what each individual in it makes out of it - and to me those individuals aren't limited to foundation members, PMC members or even committers. In each Apache Way talk I've seen (and everytime I explain the Apache Way to people) the explanation starts with our projects' downstream users.

> Show and Tell:

I'm not much of a show and tell person. At ApacheCon Oakland I once was seeking help with getting a press article about ApacheCon reviewed. It was easy finding a volunteer to proof-read the article. The reason for that ease given by the volunteer themselves? What they got out of their contributions to the ASF was much bigger than anything they put into it. That observation holds true for me as well - and I do hope that this is true for everyone here who is even mildly active.

ApacheConNA: Meet the indian tribe

2013-05-08 20:10
ApacheCon is the ``User Conference of the Apache Software Foundation''. What
should that mean? If you are going to Apache Con you have the chance of meeting
committers of your favourite projects as well as members of the foundation
itself. Though there are a lot of talks that are interesting from a technical
point of view the goal really is to turn you into an active member of the
foundation yourself. This is true for the North American version even more than
for the European edition.

Though why should you as a general user of Apache software be interested in
attending then? Pieter Hintjens put it quite nicely in an interview on his
latest ZeroMQ book with O'Reilly:

If you are using free software in particular in commercial setups you really do
want to know how the project is governed and what it takes to get active and
involved yourself. What would it take to move the project into a direction that
fits your business needs? How do you make sure features you need are actually
being added to the project instead of useless stuff?

ApacheCon is the conference to find out how Apache projects work internally,
the place to be to meet active people in person and put faces to names. Lots of
community building events focus on getting newbies in touch with long term

Moving to a new domain

2012-09-12 12:30
Executive summary: This is to warn those of you who are subscribed to this blog - the domain to reach this blog w/o redirects will soon change to by isabel-drost-fromm.de - you might want to adjust your rss subscription accordingly.

Longer version: This blog post is scheduled to go live some time after lunch-time on September 12th 2012. You might have heart rumors before - that date Ms. Isabel Drost and Mr. Thilo Fromm are supposed to get married.

There were times when war and conflicts between kingdoms were settled by having children of the reigns get married. Today this old tradition is being continued on a much smaller scale by having a couple get married that is comprised of one half being passionate about Linux Kernel hacking and a strong proponent of GPL/LGPL open source licensing and the other half coming from the Java world, mainly contributing to ASL projects.

As a bit of "showing of good will" both agreed to the proposal of Matthias Kirschner: Girls that are FSFE fellows really should only marry other FSFE fellows. So we got Thilo a fellowship membership setup very quickly.

PS: Now looking forward to dancing into a new part of life this evening ;)

Pps: Thanks to photomic for the DLSR fotos, and to masq for taking the above picture and mailing it to my server. Having a secure shell on your mobile phone rocks!

Apache Con returns to Europe

2012-08-01 20:41
In November Apache Con will come back to Europe. The event will take place in Sinsheim inviting foundation members, project committers, contributors and users to meet, discuss and have fun during the one week event.

Several meetups will be held the weekend before the main conference kicks off, watch out for announcements on your favourite project mailing list.

ApacheCon is still open for submissions until August 3rd - head over to the Call for submissions for more information. The conference is split into several tracks that are being handled individually: Apache Daily - Tools frameworks and components used on a daily basis, Apache Java Enterprise projects, Big Data, Camel in Action, Cloud, Linked Data, Lucene, Modular Java Applications, NoSQL Database, OFBiz (The Apache Enterprise Automation project), Open Office and finally Web Infrastructure (covering HTTPD, TomCat and Traffic Server, the heart of many Internet projects).

Make sure to mark the date in your calendar to meet with the people behind the ASF projects, learn more on how the foundation works and what makes Apache projects so particular compared to others. Join us for a week of fun and dense talks on all things Apache.

The Apache Feather logo is a trademark of The Apache Software Foundation.

Apache Sling and Jackrabbit event coming to Berlin

2012-07-12 20:59
Interested in Apache Sling and/or Apache Jackrabbit? Then you might be interested in hearing that on September 26th to 28th there will be an event in town on these two topics - mainly organised by Adobe, but labeled as community event, meaning that there will be a number of active community members attending the conference: adaptTo().

From their website:

In late September 2012 Berlin will become the global heart beat for developers working on the Adobe CQ technical stack. pro!vision and Adobe are working jointly to set up a pure technical event for developers that will be focused on Apache Sling, Apache Jackrabbit, Apache Felix and more specifically on Adobe CQ: adaptTo(), Berlin. September 26-28 2012.

Apache Mahout 0.6 released

2012-02-08 21:33
As of Monday, February 6th a new Apache Mahout version was released. The new package features

Lots of performance improvments:

  • A new LDA implementation using Collapsed Variational Bayes 0th Derivative Approximation - try that out if you have been bothered by the way less than optimal performance of the old version.
  • Improved Decision Tree performance and added support for regression problems
  • Reduced runtime of dot product between vectors - many algorithms in Mahout rely on that, so these performance improvements will affect anyone using them.
  • Reduced runtime of LanczosSolver tests - make modifications to Mahout more easily and have faster development cycles by faster testing.
  • Increased efficiency of parallel ALS matrix factorization
  • Performance improvements in RowSimilarityJob, TransposeJob - helpful for anyone trying to find similar items or running the Hadoop based recommender

New features:

  • K-Trusses, Top-Down and Bottom-Up clustering, Random Walk with Restarts implementation
  • SSVD enhancements

Better integration:

  • Added MongoDB and Cassandra DataModel support
  • Added numerous clustering display examples

Many bug fixes, refactorings, and other small improvements. More information is available in the Release Notes.

Overall great improvements towards better performance, better stability and integration. However there are still quite some outstanding issues and issues in need for review. Come join the project, help us improve existing patches, improve performance and in particular integration and streamlining of how to use the different parts of the project.