Hi Dmitri,

No apologies necessary. This is a good and important question.

The graduation is the process in which a incubator project becomes a
Top Level Project (TLP). The graduation means that a project has shown
that it (as a community) understands the Apache Software Foundation's
core principles.
Also known as "The Apache Way".
While this is not a complete official list, the principles include:
* collaborative software development
* commercial-friendly license
* respective, honest, technical-based interaction
* faithful implementation of standards
* security as a mandatory feature
See this for more info on how ASF works

My slightly longer answer.

Within Apache Software Foundation there is a entry path in which a
project/community shows that it, (as a whole) can be self-sustaining
and operates under The Apache Way.

This entry path is through what is called the incubator and this is
our current state.

In incubator status, we as a community, learn the principles (The
Apache way) by doing. With the assistance of our mentors, such as
Kevan, Alan, and Matt. We learn the core principles mentioned above,
how to grow a healthy and diverse community, how to properly cut
releases through Apache software Foundation, handle intelectual
property through the community contributions, and learn the principle
of "meritocracy" (government by merit) through the process of inviting
community members who have contributed and are interested to become
committers and be part of the project governing process, etc.

Once we have reached the incubator milestones, we can then proceed to
graduate. Through the graduation process an incubator project either
becomes a subproject of another ASF project or a top level project.

If we fail to do these tasks or if the project fizzles out, then the
incubator project retires from Apache Software foundation and is not
supported by ASF.

Hope this helps and others please feel free to comment.
Most of this is my summation from:

How ASF works and short history:

Incubator Graduation:

What is Graduation?

Roles of incubator


On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 8:11 PM, Dmitri Chebotarov <dcheb...@gmu.edu> wrote:
> Hi,
> May I ask what are the benefits of "graduation" for VCL?
> How does graduation change the way the VCL is used?
> I apologize if these are trivial questions.
> Thanks.
> --
> Dmitri Chebotarov
> Virtual Computing Lab Systems Engineer, TSD - Ent Servers & Messaging
> 223 Aquia Building, Ffx, MSN: 1B5
> Phone: (703) 993-6175
> Fax: (703) 993-3404
> On Monday, May 7, 2012 at 16:39 , Kevan Miller wrote:
>> On May 7, 2012, at 3:53 PM, Alexander Patterson wrote:
>> > I would love to see 2.3 to graduate :) I will enjoy many of the bug fixes
>> Thanks Alexander. Minor point - a 2.3 release is orthogonal to the 
>> graduation process. A 2.3 release can happen before or after graduation…
>> There's a 'status of 2.3 release' thread on the vcl-dev list. You're more 
>> than welcome to voice your 2.3 desires, there...
>> --kevan

Aaron Peeler
Program Manager
Virtual Computing Lab
NC State University

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