Chapter 2. The Apache Way and InnerSource

At its core, InnerSource applies the “lessons learned” from successful, healthy Open Source projects to guide and direct enterprise IT development. Another way to look at InnerSource is applying the principles and tenets of Open Source development to internal processes and principles. With this in mind, it’s critical for those adopting InnerSource to understand the what and how, but even more importantly the why of those tenets, as well as which particular ones to emulate. We have found that the best model by far are tenets used by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), collectively termed “The Apache Way.”

In a nutshell, The Apache Way can be condensed into what is the unofficial motto of the ASF: Community Before Code. This does not mean that the code (or the software project) is unimportant, but rather that secure, innovative, enterprise-quality, and healthy code depends on the health and vitality of the community around it. This realization emerged at the origin of the Apache Web Server project and the Apache Group.

Origins of The Apache Way

Back in 1995, the most popular web server was the NCSA Webserver (HTTPd), which was written and maintained pretty much exclusively by Rob McCool. There was a large and growing user community, but no real developer community at all. When Rob left to join Netscape, this left the development of HTTPd stagnant. Here was a large, incredibly important software project that countless ...

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