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Open Source IT: Software Development, Apache-style

Mar 29, 2000, 05:16 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ken Coar)

"The primary development of the Apache HTTP server is done by a relatively small number of developers. Anyone who wants to, however, can be an Apache developer, and the server is the result of contributions from hundreds of people all over the world. In many cases contributions are small, or a contributor submits one item and is then never heard from again, but the server has benefitted from those small submissions just as surely as from the work done by the core developers who put in hundreds of hours per year on the project."

"There are several levels of participation in the project, with rather blurry lines between them:

  1. Membership in the 'core' development team, which is synonymous with the Apache Group
  2. People with direct access (called CVS or commit access) to all of the master source repositories
  3. People with CVS access to some subset of the repositories
  4. People who participate in the mailing lists and have earned enough respect for their votes to be counted
  5. Everyone else"
"This arrangement has been called a 'meritocracy;' the more you do, the more you're allowed to do. Access to each successive level of participation is controlled by the opinions of your peers. The more you submit, and the more your submissions are considered to be of value, the more 'merit' you acquire. Accumulate enough merit and you'll be admitted to the next level of participation. Almost all such decisions are made by the core team."

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