[this post is available online at https://s.apache.org/CmA3  and 
https://opensource.com/article/19/3/apache-projects ]

by Jim Jagielski and Sally Khudairi

As the world’s largest and one of the most influential open source foundations, 
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is home to more than 350 community-led 
projects and initiatives. The ASF’s 731 individual Members and more than 7,000 
Committers are global, diverse, and often embodies a case of collective 
humility. We’ve assembled a list of 20 ubiquitous and up-and-coming Apache 
projects to celebrate the ASF’s 20th Anniversary on 26 March 2019, applaud our 
all-volunteer community, and thank the billions of users who benefit from their 
Herculean efforts.

1. Apache HTTP Server
Web/Servers. http://httpd.apache.org/  

The most popular open source HTTP server on the planet shot to fame just 13 
months from its inception in 1995, and remains so today due to its ability to 
provide a secure, efficient and extensible server that provides HTTP services 
observing the latest HTTP standards. Serving modern operating systems including 
UNIX, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS/X, the Apache HTTP Server played a key role 
in the initial growth of the World Wide Web; its rapid adoption over all other 
Web servers combined was also instrumental to the wide proliferation of 
eCommerce sites and solutions. The Apache HTTP Server project was the ASF’s 
flagship project at its launch, and served as the basis upon which future 
Apache projects emulated with its open, community-driven, meritocratic 
development process known as “The Apache Way”.

2. Apache Incubator
Innovation. http://incubator.apache.org/ 

The Apache Incubator is the ASF’s nexus for innovation, serving as the entry 
path for projects and codebases wishing to officially become part of the 
efforts at The Apache Software Foundation. All code donations from external 
organizations and existing external projects go through the incubation process 
to ensure all donations are in accordance with the ASF legal standards, and 
develop diverse communities that adhere to the ASF’s guiding principles. 
Incubation is required of newly accepted projects until their infrastructure, 
communications, and decision making process have stabilized in a manner 
consistent with other successful ASF projects. Whilst incubation is neither a 
reflection of the completeness or stability of the code, nor does it indicate 
that the project has yet to be fully endorsed by the ASF, its rigorous process 
of mentoring projects and their communities according to “The Apache Way” has 
led to the graduation of nearly 200 projects in the Incubator’s 16-year 
history. Today 51 “podlings” are undergoing development in the Apache Incubator 
across an array of categories, including annotation, artificial intelligence, 
Big Data, cryptography, data science/storage/visualization, development 
environments, Edge and IoT, email, JavaEE, libraries, machine learning, 
serverless computing, and more.

3. Apache Kafka
Big Data. https://kafka.apache.org/ 

The Apache footprint as the foundation of the Big Data ecosystem continues to 
grow, from Accumulo to Hadoop to ZooKeeper, with fifty active projects to date 
and two dozen more in the Apache Incubator. Apache Kafka’s highly-performant 
distributed, fault tolerant, real-time publish-subscribe messaging platform 
powers Big Data solutions at Airbnb, LinkedIn, MailChimp, Netflix, The New York 
Times, Oracle, PayPal, Pinterest, Spotify, Twitter, Uber, Wikimedia Foundation, 
and countless other businesses.

4. Apache Maven
Build Management. http://maven.apache.org/

Spinning out of the Apache Turbine servlet framework project in 2004, Apache 
Maven has risen to the top as the hugely popular build automation tool that 
helps Java developers build and release software. Stable, flexible, and 
feature-rich, Maven streamlines continuous builds, integration, testing, and 
delivery processes with an impressive central repository and robust plug-in 
ecosystem, making it the go-to choice for developers who want to easily manage 
a project’s build, reporting, and documentation.

5. Apache CloudStack
Cloud. http://cloudstack.apache.org/

Super-quick to deploy, well-documented, and with an easy production 
environment, one of the biggest draws to Apache CloudStack is that it “just 
works”. Powering some of the industry’s most visible Clouds – from global 
hosting providers to telcos to the Fortune 100 top 5% and more – the CloudStack 
community is cohesive, agile, and focused, leveraging 11 years of Cloud success 
to enable users to rapidly and affordably build fully featured clouds.

6. Apache cTAKES
Content. http://ctakes.apache.org/ 

Developed from real-world use at the Mayo Clinic in 2006, cTAKES was created by 
a team of physicians, computer scientists and software engineers seeking a 
natural language processing system for extraction of information from 
electronic medical record clinical free-text. Today Apache cTAKES is an 
integral part of the Mayo Clinic’s electronic medical records and has processed 
more than 80 million clinical notes. Apache cTAKES is a growing standard for 
clinical data management infrastructure across hospitals and academic 
institutions that include Boston Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s 
Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Colorado 
Boulder, University of Pittsburgh, and University of California San Diego, as 
well as companies such as Wired Informatics.

7. Apache Ignite
Data Management. https://ignite.apache.org/ 

Apache Ignite is used for transactional, analytical, and streaming workloads at 
petabyte scale for the likes of American Airlines, ING, Yahoo Japan and 
countless others on premises, on cloud platforms, or in hybrid environments. 
Apache Ignite’s in-memory data fabric provides an in-memory data grid, compute 
grid, streaming, and acceleration solutions across the Apache Big Data system 
ecosystem, including Apache Cassandra, Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, and more.

8. Apache CouchDB
Databases. http://couchdb.apache.org/ 

Thousands of organizations such as the BBC, GrubHub, and the Large Hadron 
Collider use Apache CouchDB for seamless data flow between every imaginable 
computing environment, from globally-distributed server clusters to mobile 
devices to Web browsers. Its Couch Replication Protocol allows you to store, 
retrieve, and replicate data safely on premises or on the Cloud with very high 
performance reliability. Apache CouchDB does all the heavy lifting so you can 
sit back and relax.

9. Apache Edgent (incubating)
Edge computing. http://edgent.incubator.apache.org/ 

The boom of IoT – personal assistants, smart phones, smart homes, connected 
cars, Industry 4.0 and beyond – is producing an ever-growing amount of data 
streaming from millions of systems, sensors, equipment, vehicles and more. The 
demand for reliable, efficient real-time data has driven the need for the 
“Empowered Edge”, where data collection and analysis is optimized by moving 
away from centralized sources towards the edges of of the networks, where much 
of the data originates. Companies like IBM and SAP are leveraging Apache Edgent 
to accelerate analytics at the edge across the IoT ecosystem. Apache Edgent can 
be used in conjunction with many Apache data analytics solutions such as Apache 
Flink, Apache Kafka, Apache Samza, Apache Spark, Apache Storm, and more.

10. Apache OFBiz
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). https://ofbiz.apache.org/ 

Whereas most of the ASF projects are about running or creating infrastructure, 
we also realize the importance of running and handling a business. Apache OFBiz 
is a comprehensive suite of business applications from accounting and CRM 
through Warehousing and Inventory control. The Java based framework provides 
the power and the flexibility to serve as the core of one’s B2B and B2C 
business management and is easily expandable and customizable. Apache OFBiz is 
a complete ERP solution, flexible, free, and fully open source and services 
users from United Airlines to Cabi.

11. Apache SIS (Spatial Information System)
Geospatial. http://sis.apache.org/ 

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Vietnamese National 
Space Center, numerous spatial agencies, governments, and others rely on Apache 
SIS to create their own intelligent, standards-based interoperable geospatial 
applications. The Apache SIS toolkit handles spatial data, location awareness, 
geospatial data representation, and provides a unified metadata model for file 
formats used for real-time smart city visualization, geospatial dataset 
discovery, state-of-the-art location-enabled emergency management, earth 
observation, as well as information modeling for extra-terrestrial bodies such 
as Mars and asteroids.

12. Apache Syncope
Identity Management. http://syncope.apache.org/ 

Apache Syncope manages digital identity data in enterprise applications and 
environments to handle user information such as username, password, first name, 
last name, email address, etc. Identity management involves considering user 
attributes, roles, resources and entitlements that control who access to what 
data, when, how, and why. Apache Syncope users include the Italian Army, the 
University of Helsinki, University of Milan, and the SWITCH Swiss university 

13. Apache PLC4X (incubating)
Internet of Things (IoT). http://plc4x.incubator.apache.org/ 

Connectivity and integration across many Industrial IoT edge gateways is often 
impossible with closed-source, proprietary legacy systems with incompatible 
protocols. Apache PLC4X provides a universal protocol adapter for creating 
Industrial IoT applications through a set of libraries that allow unified 
access to any type of industrial programmable logic controllers (PLCs) using a 
variety of protocols with a shared API. In addition, the project is planning 
integrations modular to Apache IoT projects that include Apache Brooklyn, 
Apache Camel, Edgent, Apache Kafka, Apache Mynewt, and Apache NiFi.

14. Apache Commons
Libraries. http://commons.apache.org/

With 42%+ of Apache projects written in Java (that’s 62+ million lines of 
code), having a set of stable, reusable open source Java software components 
available to all Apache projects and external users is both helpful and 
necessary. Apache Commons provides a suite of dozens of stable, reusable, 
easily deployed Java components, and a workspace for Commons contributors to 
collaborate on the development of new components.

15. Apache Spark
Machine Learning. http://spark.apache.org/ 

Big Data is growing exponentially each year, accelerated by industries such as 
agriculture, big business, FinTech, healthcare, IoT, manufacturing, mobile 
advertising and more. Apache Spark’s unified analytics engine for processing 
and analyzing large-scale data processing helps data scientists apply machine 
learning insights and an array of libraries to improve responsiveness more 
accurate results. Apache Spark runs workloads 100x faster on Apache Hadoop, 
Apache Mesos, Kubernetes, whether standalone or in the cloud, and to access 
diverse data sources, from Apache Cassandra, Apache Hadoop HDFS, Apache HBase, 
Apache Hive, and hundreds of others.

16. Apache Cordova
Mobile. https://cordova.apache.org/ 

Apache Cordova is the popular developer tool used to easily build 
cross-platform, cross-device mobile apps using a Write-Once-Run-Anywhere 
solution, which enabling developers to create a single app that will appear the 
same across multiple mobile device platforms. Apache Cordova acts as an 
extensible container, and serves as the base that most mobile application 
development tools and frameworks are built upon, including mobile development 
platforms and commercial software products by Blackberry, Google, IBM, Intel, 
Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, and many others.

17. Apache Tomcat
Java/Servers. https://tomcat.apache.org/ 

Starting off as the Apache JServ project, designed to allow for Java “servlets” 
to be run in a Web environment, Tomcat grew to being a full-fledged, 
comprehensive Java Application server and was the de-facto reference 
implementation for the Java specifications. Since 2005, Apache Tomcat has 
formed, and still forms, the foundation of numerous Java-based web 
infrastructures such as eBay, E*Trade, WalMart, and The Weather Channel.

18. Apache Lucene/Solr
Search. http://lucene.apache.org/solr/ 

Adobe, AOL, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Cisco, Disney, eTrade, 
Ford, The Guardian, Homeland Security, Instagram, MTV Networks, NASA Planetary 
Data System, Netflix, SourceForge, Verizon, Walmart, whitehouse.gov, Zappos, 
and countless others turn to Apache Lucene Solr to quickly and reliably index 
and search multiple sites and enterprise data such as documents and email. 
Popular features include near real-time indexing, automated failover and 
recovery, rich document parsing and indexing, user-extensible caching, design 
for high-volume traffic, and much more. 

19. Apache Wicket
Web Framework. http://wicket.apache.org/ 

The Apache Wicket component-based Web application framework is prized by many 
followers for its “Plain Old Java Object” (POJO) data model and markup/logic 
separation not common in most frameworks. Developers have been using Apache 
Wicket since 2004 to quickly create powerful, reusable components using object 
oriented methodology with Java and HTML. Wicket powers thousands of 
applications and sites for governments, stores, universities, cities, banks, 
email providers, and more, including Apress, DHL, SAP, Vodafone, and Xbox.com.

20. Apache Daffodil (incubating)
XML. http://daffodil.apache.org/ 

Governments handle massive amounts of complex and legacy data across security 
boundaries every day. In order for such data to be consumed, it must be 
inspected for correctness and sanitized of malicious data. Whilst traditional 
inspection methods are often proprietary, incomplete, and poorly maintained, 
Apache Daffodil streamlines the process with an open source implementation of 
the Data Format Description Language specification (DFDL) that fully describes 
a wide array of complex and legacy file formats down to the bit level. Daffodil 
can parse data to XML or JSON to allow for validation, sanitization, and 
transformation, and also serialize or ''unparse'' back to the original file 
format, effectively mitigating a large variety of common vulnerabilities.

= = =

The Apache Software Foundation is a leader in community-driven open source 
software and continues to innovate with dozens of new projects and their 
communities. Apache projects are managing exabytes of data, executing teraflops 
of operations, and storing billions of objects in virtually every industry. 
Apache software is an integral part of nearly every end user computing device, 
from laptops to tablets to phones. The commercially-friendly and permissive 
Apache License v2.0 has become an open source industry standard. As the demand 
for quality open source software continues to grow, the collective Apache 
community will continue to rise to the challenge of solving current problems 
and ideate tomorrow’s opportunities through The Apache Way of open development. 
Learn more at http://apache.org/ 

= = =

Jim Jagielski
Jim Jagielski is a well-known and acknowledged expert and visionary in open 
source, an accomplished coder, and frequent engaging presenter on all things 
open, Web, and cloud related. As a developer, he’s made substantial code 
contributions to just about every core technology behind the Internet and Web, 
and in 2012 was awarded the O’Reilly open source Award. In 2015, he received 
the Innovation Luminary Award from the EU. He is likely best known as one of 
the developers and cofounders of The Apache Software Foundation, where he has 
previously served as both chairman and president and where he’s been on the 
board of directors since day one. He’s served as president of the Outercurve 
Foundation and was also a director of the open source Initiative (OSI). He 
works at ConsenSys as their open source Chief. He credits his wife Eileen with 
keeping him sane.
Sally Khudairi

Sally Khudairi is Vice President of Marketing & Publicity at The Apache 
Software Foundation (ASF) where, in 2002, she was elected its first female and 
non-technical Member. Over her 25-year career in the Web, Khudairi has been 
lauded as a dynamic communications strategist and expert in next-generation 
innovations, and has played an integral role in building campaigns for some of 
the industry’s most prominent standards and organizations. Prior to launching 
the ASF in 1999, Khudairi was deputy to Sir Tim Berners-Lee as Head of 
Communications at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), overseeing the launch of 
17 specifications that include PNG, CSS, HTML4 and XML. She is Managing 
Director/Luxury & Technology Practice lead at HALO Worldwide and Founder/Chief 
Marketing Officer at OptDyn.

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