In this episode I speak with David Nalley of the Apache Software Foundation about their roles in the projects they work with. Also features how an Australian floating hotel ended up in North Korea, D&D with sign language, long distance flights, and Happy birthday UNIX.


Chris Ward 0:55

Welcome to the weekly squeak your weekly geeky squeak with me Christian Sheila Maybe I should call the show the increasingly inaccurately titled weekly speak something more like the fortnightly squeak or the BI weekly or the every two weeks squeaker right now, but I’m getting back into cadence again do apologise.

But I have a very good show for you. I have some interesting links, and I have an interview with David Nelly the ASF, the Apache Software Foundation executive vice president fresh from Apache con here in Berlin last week, so have that to look forward to but let’s kick off with some links.

First is an article from messy, messy


of chic curiosity is not a blog I’ve come across before, but there’s popped up in my feed somehow. This is an article called how the world’s first floating hotel ended up as a Doom direct in North Korea. This is the quite wonderful storey of the floating hotel from Townsville in North Queensland. It was rather I have been to town to and I’m half Australian, my wife is fully Australian and neither of us have ever heard of this place. It looks quite fascinating. Built in 1988 it’s like you have to look at the block to see the photos. It’s it’s it looks like some kind of floating fortress but it was a luxury hotel. But, course whenever you have such an ambitious project, it was not deemed to be. So it was built in a Singaporean shipyard in the 80s and then towed into position it had tennis courts, it had a disco and had by had a obviously a boat, you had to take two to get there towed out to near the Great Barrier Reef open in February 1988. And then there was a tropical cyclone, which happens quite a lot in North Queensland which damaged a lot and then they discovered that the position had been towed to there were more than 100,000 pieces of world war two ammunition, anti tank mines resting on the seabed below. I have no idea where they came from if they were from the Allies or from XSO from the Japanese I guess, but it is quite a lot. So the hotel was closed within a year pretty much it then ended up in Hershey city in Viet Nam, where it ended up as actually quite a popular nighttime entertainment for almost a decade and then had some more financial difficulties. I guess that was its heyday. And it’s lovely photos there, although it’s just kind of outside. It’s not floating off in the middle of the ocean. It’s just sort of floating to the side of the city. And then in 1997, it was finally bought by North Korea and moved to the tourist region, the demilitarised zone in 1998 as a north south experiment in tourism, so actually North and South Koreans will stay in this hotel. And if you see photos from this time it’s done look a little born and dated, and not quite as it’s still just sort of floating off off of the side of of the land. So just look like a hotel on a on a small island, really then a floating hotel and there are even some reviews of the hotel from Western tourists. It’s quite fascinating and some lovely pictures of what they did with it full of all sorts of strange communist style visitors. So it became basically a reunion location for families who’d been split by the war then after in 2008, when that experiment ended for various reasons. The floating hotel was sort of quiet and just sat there looking rather ghostly, but was open to a few tourists here in there. But also couldn’t be maintained for some time. So it was kind of dangerous to enter and now the North Korean government have said they’re going to revive it, they’re going to maintain it and and they don’t entirely understand although because there’s gonna be limited amount of people who know this, that it has something of a cult following and it’s really despite the fact I said, I didn’t, had heard of it. But anyway, it failed an inspection from Kim Jong on himself shabby, and had character, but apparently, they are planning to revive it or maybe demolish it. Who knows it’s not career, so we don’t really know. But anyway, quite a fascinating tale and the photos are wonderful. So I do recommend you go and take a look at this blog post.

Chris Ward 5:15

Continuing in Australia news kind of this is a few a few weeks old now, but as I say, I got a little bit behind. These are various tales and I’m picking on in particular, one in Bloomberg from Angus Whitley and one in the Sydney Morning Herald from Patrick hatch. These were reports on consciousness first 20 our flight contest is planning to do these long distance connecting flights, one from New York to Sydney and one from Sydney to London to have a long 20 hour stretches. And that said, I have definitely been on a flight I think from Melbourne to Dubai, which was 16 or 17 hours. So it’s only in the grand scheme of things and especially in the grand scheme of Australian travel a few more hours than some of the current routes. And what, three more hours amongst friends really. The interesting thing I found with these I mean, firstly, all the test passengers were travelling in business class, not in capital class, which is going to make things a lot easier. They obviously also had people being very attentive to their health, feeding them, well given them plenty of space for exercise, and things like that, which you’re not going to get in normal planes. Although the head of Qantas has said that these very long distance flights will have a bit more space, which probably also means it can be a little bit more expensive. But time is money. I spoke to some people. And actually, the interesting thing reading this is really, it didn’t seem like that much of a struggle that much of a difficulty in these near perfect conditions. Of course, it didn’t seem that hard for them to adjust. They didn’t feel that tired. They felt physically fine. So who knows it possibly in the very near future, and Qantas is pushing quite heavily for this. This will be a reality and I mean, it’s actually kind of amazing. You You could in theory go from one side of the world to the other in a day and a half.

Although you can also do the other way around you go. Sydney to LA and then LA to to New York, that’s shorter. Sure.

But especially the city to London is 20 hours 30 minutes and Sydney to New York is in 19 hours 30 minutes. At least the one to London is flying overland most of the time. You want to America is flying over the seat most the time. But yet quite fascinating. This is the new Boeing Dreamliner. I have been on one of the older ones. They’re very nice planes. Qantas has obviously due to its geolocation, a history of very long distance flights and having planes that are good at coping with it. And they’ve been experimenting with the purple and white which is 17 hours I think. And I think this is going to come in the next two years maximum and We will see what happens and how popular they are. And if the stop over is a thing of the past and I think this is actually between you and meet one of the subjects of work wonders want to do this because they have to pay tax and so two passengers in wherever they stopped over. So this also theory reduces the cost for the airline, and maybe for passengers if they follow on with that. Next I always like a bit of role play. This is actually an article from issue 27 of Dragon magazine from Martin Chapman, I was reading dragon magazine and there was a really interesting article about Dungeons and Dragons played with sign language, and specifically around obviously, firstly, one thing you may not realise is that even in English there are different sign languages for British English, American English and I think Australia English, although I’m not sure how similar that might be to British English. But of course, sign language being a language used by a small selection of the population. Sometimes there are words that just don’t exist, including things like cans and dragons concepts and Monsters. So this was mostly an article about how people who wanted to sign role play games or play games with sign language, how they made up words for creatures and concepts. Things like rolling for initiative in natural 20 things like eye of the beholder, and things like that. And there are some videos in here where you could watch from an american sign and a British signer doing Yeah, so this is a dungeon dragons itself, role for perception holder, elf. It is what you might expect. orc demagogue.

And there are performances with live signing, which I find amazing. So thankfully, you don’t have to subscribe the dragon magazine, which is free, you can actually just follow this link and read it yourself. And yeah, I would love to watch one of these games one day, I think it will to see some of the other words that people had to come up with and these people doing it in their spare time, of course. Digging now into one of my favourite recurring topics, Computer History. This is a post from the Computer History Museum by David C. Brock, the earliest Unix code and anniversary of source code release. The 2019 has marked the 50th anniversary of the start of Unix in a summer of 1969. And of course Unix has fed Linux has fed BSD Unix, which is a Mac OS and all sorts of other operating systems. It has quite a chequered history, of course, from proprietary to non proprietary and back and forth and back and forth and trade wars and copyright wars and all sorts of things. But still, it’s its heritage is everywhere. It was created in Bell Telephone labs by mostly by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, who were trying to build a new operating system and like so many storeys in computing history. It was storey of what really wasn’t it was kind of a side project that ended up becoming a very successful project instead It nearly was cancelled, they had to beg steal borrow for computing time, as was one had to do them to try this and eventually was successful. And the rest they say is history. There’s some great pictures here of Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie programming not in any way that would look familiar to many of us now. And this was still even in the 70s. And now the software history Centre at the Computer History Museum has publicly accessible some of the earliest source code produced in the unit storey. And these are papers Of course, these are papers from Dennis Ritchie brother Richie family. And there’s a black binder with a hand label of units book to entertainingly 190 pages of printed source code listings written in PDP seven assembly code, so we can have a look at some of this. All right here. Ready? See this looks like space travel listening is like a dictionary of words. And then yeah, lots of semi colon. I really understand this, but if you do, maybe you could dig in and see how people used to code on paper, I guess. Enjoy. And finally, this is a post from Andre steltz. This was highlighted to me in a presentation I recently saw on kind of funding open source. This is becoming a big topic in recent history. This is actually I might actually get Andre on the podcast at some point in the near future to talk about this in more detail. This is a post from June this year, called software below the poverty line. And it’s something of an analysis of, I guess, funding to open source projects versus the perceived time that people put into them. That highlights that so many of the most successful open source projects. Developers are basically in theory working for wages that are below the poverty line. And of course, we know that in reality, a lot of these developers are probably working side gigs, but they’re putting in this extra time anyway, which which should still be recognised. And actually, he tracks a lot of the data here, it’s it’s quite an interesting post. And you can really see some details. There are very few projects where the developers and this is, again, the core developers, not all contributors are actually making a living wage, or better from their work. Most of them are not. And again, again, I say this with the caveat that of course, most of these developers probably have jobs, but still, they’re putting a lot of extra time. I think I can’t quite remember if this article does recognise people who are getting paid by companies to maybe contribute to that project. It’s hard to always know. But still, it sort of opens your eyes to the amount of work and he and he calls it exploitation that a lot of developers are doing and a while are victims of to to create software that we use in many things. And this doesn’t even start to factor in things like dependencies where you have projects that maybe is well funded, but it uses a significant as a significant dependency another project, but isn’t. How does that work? This is something that is coming up quite a lot in discussions recently. And it’s a fascinating conversation that many people are proposing solutions to, but we get to see if any of these solutions will be successful, of course. And I was my links for the week in a very appropriate Connect there. Now enjoy my interview with David Nelly, the executive vice president of the Apache Software Foundation, from Apache con here in Berlin. I have cleared up most of the background noise, but there’s a little bit of murmur in the background, but you go enjoy.

David Nalley 14:40

So my name is David Malley. I’m the Executive Vice President of the Apache Software Foundation.

Chris Ward 14:46

I actually, I mean, it might have just been the, the the talks and the people who gave the talks, but Apache foundation seems to have lots of vice presidents. What What do they do? Is it because it’s a foundation is that just what everybody does? Or what Did vice presidents actually do within the foundation?

David Nalley 15:02

So there are, there are a lot of vice presidents if you if you go to one of our foundation pages, that list is all of them, you’ll find out that there’s more than 200 which is which sizable. But essentially, each project, each top level project at the Apache Software Foundation has its own officer. And that officer is the Vice President of that particular project. And that allows that particular officer to, to execute contracts or make decisions on lots of external matters, to give the projects a degree of independence and being able to actually get things done rather than having to come back to a central organisation and asking permission. So yes, each each project has an officer that is an officer of the foundation can go and get things accomplished in that regard. And then the foundation has a set of foundation specific officers. So

vice presidents security, Legal Affairs,

fundraising, infrastructure, etc, that are very kind of centralised services that the foundation runs. And then we have four executive officers, the treasurer, the chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, the President and Executive Vice President.

Chris Ward 16:35

Maybe we went to too soon, we didn’t really explain for maybe those who haven’t encountered the Apache Software Foundation. What is the Apache Software Foundation and what in a nutshell, does it do?

David Nalley 16:50

So the Apache Software Foundation is a 501 c three nonprofit public benefit charity. That means it’s a US Corporation. And by law, its obligation is to serve in the public good. So our focuses, being a benefit to the public at large.

BASF has its mission of

producing software releasing software, free of charge to the public. And, and that’s our mission now. The foundation itself I either the people who the board of directors and and the executive officers, we don’t actually produce any software ourselves. We do provide some scaffolding and some resources for projects to to help them deliver software and we provide essentially a governance model, a licence set of known good intellectual property processes that allow the the projects that come and call BASF home Want to have a known process for being able to then focus on actually releasing software?

Chris Ward 18:06

And this is somewhat typical of many software foundations. There’s a couple of exceptions, but they don’t usually produce anything. I’ve actually interviewed Brian. I was forget to pronounce his surname. Yeah, who’s now at hyperledger a couple of times. And that’s one thing he was saying to me is like, we don’t make anything. No one codes anything.

Would you say that ASF was the the first open source and I’m putting that in quote marks for now. Foundation, or were there ones before it?

David Nalley 18:39

I believe, and I’m, I’m certainly going to be in fact checked here. I believe that maybe the Free Software Foundation predates us. There we certainly I don’t think we were the first but we were certainly very early and remain one of the the longer lived entities a number of entities. These that have sprung up over the years, sadly have have either not evolved or have not been been sustainable over that, that the past 20 years or so.

Chris Ward 19:13

And that’s why I put open sourcing in quote marks to begin with. So I’m guessing if the FSF was first, then the probably the ones who also maybe coined the term open source first because I know it it’s not. It’s not necessarily a an old term. People were doing open source before it was called Open Source, but it wasn’t Apache,

David Nalley 19:33

I guess. Yeah. So Apache did not originate the term open source. I, the the Free Software Foundation. Also will not claim that they coined the term open source. And you know, there’s always a bit of contention around is it open source or is it free software? Or is it free libre open source software? So

Chris Ward 19:54

yes, we won’t go into that right now. That’s a difficult tough subject to breach right now.

David Nalley 20:00

happy to talk about VI and Emacs too. If you want another controversy and subject.

Chris Ward 20:05

No, really no. I’m using Visual Studio code, we’ll just ignore that.

So you touched on it a little bit lightly, but to the projects that are part of our commander, the ASF, what do you provide to them?

David Nalley 20:22

So we provide a base level of infrastructure, so project websites, version control, backups for all of those things, access control, functionality, we provide legal resources that they can take advantage off to do things like review licencing. In some cases, review contracts with external parties. We provide a very base level of brand management and also public relations management. So if there’s something really notable, we have a press team that can Generate press releases and help deal with press interviews. If there’s a trademark that needs to be registered, we have folks that can do that. Really, though, I think when you talk about what the value proposition is, because most of those things are, are commodity or easily obtainable, it’s pretty trivial to set up a project website, it’s pretty trivial to get version control. I think the true value add that BASF has is we have a known governance model. That seems to work for a lot of projects. It’s not the only one that works. But it is something that’s been proven over time to work and people know what to expect from it. We also have a set of IP policies that again, they’ve been proven over time, people know what to expect. And that’s both People who are contributing inside the project as well as consumers. So there’s there’s very little surprise there. And I think that those are really the the value proposition for the ASL is that while it might may not be the only successful model, we have a model that projects come adopt and and has been proven over time.

Chris Ward 22:24

And the thing that interested me when you talk about what you provide to projects, obviously there are some projects that are much bigger than others. And all these resources you provide mandated if someone decides they want to use a different version control system or a different website, are they able to.

David Nalley 22:43

So we try and mandate as little as possible. You know, we have folks who have really massive projects and need to run their own continuous integration systems and they’re free to do that in terms of of what we actually mandate that folks use. Use our mailing lists so that we have a record of decision making. That’s actually been important in the past where we’ve been sent subpoenas for legal cases asking for our mailing list records so that they could find out who contributed source code who was making decisions about a project. So that’s really a problem. That’s issue for us. So the place where you make decisions has to live with the answer. And source code, we have to have control over the source code. And so generally that’s going to be good or subversion.

If you want to use something different,

I think Yeah, yeah, yes. And so some mirrors are, are certainly an option. And that’s what we used to do with GitHub. Before we introduce some data functionality around controlling access there But, you know, the code and and the decisions you’re making around the code are the things that they’re really mandated if you want to use a bug tracker, our CI system elsewhere, we even have some folks that are working on moving websites out from inside our, our things. So we try and mandate as little as possible. And a lot of that mandate really does come back to the legal requirements that that we’ve been forced to deal with every time.

Chris Ward 24:31

One of the things is actually interested me most about the ASF is understanding when or why a project becomes under the auspices, and you have the sort of incubator projects and graduated projects, but how does the project even start that journey? Do you approach them or do they approach you or is it a bit of both? And then what do you what what does everyone look for? I suppose

David Nalley 24:56

so we rarely, I would, I would probably say almost never do we go out and proactively approach a project. It is. As I’ve talked about elsewhere, we’re not set out on a strategy to be the dominant open source foundation in the world. We’re not trying to collect projects, we want to make sure that projects are a good fit for the foundation because the way that the foundation operates and the governance model that we have is not necessarily a fit for every project, and that’s okay. There’s a lot of other models of developing software that work equally will. And so we want to make sure that our governance model in our culture is a fit for projects. Typically, the way of project comes into the NSF is they will want to join us for a myriad of reasons and that could be anywhere from I want to make sure the project survives a single founder or We want to build trust in the community. And that doesn’t happen because a single vendor currently controls a project. There’s a whole host of reasons that the projects or choose might want to show itself and some of it is they may want just a known process. I think in in the early days of the foundation, I think there was also these guys have a few technical resources. And I think that that has slowly drifted away because frankly, you can go to GitHub and walk away with a website bug tracking everything pretty easily. But essentially, the process is that project will approach and we’ll start having a conversation make sure that they understand what they’re getting themselves in for because things like dealing with the RIP Richmond Around copyright and licencing can be pretty stressful for a project, especially if they’ve got a long history and have to have to figure out software grants and things of that nature for a wide swath of people. We also want them to have a good understanding of how we actually operate in terms of governance and how projects make decisions. Because frankly, that’s foreign to a lot of a lot of open source projects, particularly if it’s coming out of a company where you have product managers and product owners making decisions. And then developers that such essentially have marching orders than to, to deliver that. And so we try and educate them on what the Apache Software Foundation actually is and how it operates, and how a project is expected to operate. And then they submit a proposal and they tell us a little about themselves and why they want to join the Apache Software Foundation The incubator project, the project management committee will actually review that, maybe comment on it and

and then

whether to accept that into the incubator or not. And that gets you quote unquote, into the Apache Software Foundation. It doesn’t give you the level of independence that a top level project has, but that that gets you started. And then you’re trying to you’re trying to demonstrate while you’re in the incubator, that you can govern your govern your project according to our model, that you’re making consensus based transparent decision making, that the people actually driving the project are the people doing the work and that the project actually has a community around it and is able to grow

Chris Ward 29:01

Oh, there. Sometimes it does seem that there’s particular themes within some of the projects that SF tends to take on. Is that true? Or is it you know, sometimes like birds of a feather flock together type thing. They’re they’re sort of types of projects, you’re likely to probably say this isn’t a good fit to

David Nalley 29:19

say. So historically, we’ve turned away. We’ve turned away some projects that were maybe not in our wheelhouse. So we’ve had some things like hardware projects, approaches, and and frankly, we didn’t. So we we’ve had, we’ve had actual folks bring want to bring hardware designs. So chip designs BASF. And we were kind of scratching our heads there. I do think there are things right, so big data is obviously a theme that you could say, but there’s no strategy that says we’re going to become The dominant Big Data player, I think most of the Big Data folks showed up after, you know, we had, frankly, leucine and leucine spawn to do. And then suddenly, because everything else wanted to be in that same ecosystem, there’s project started showing up. So it was it’s less a strategic decision that was made then, oh, well, apparently, we’re, we’re the home for big data. So I do think it’s that birds of a feather are showing up together and a lot of cases. I think it was a

Chris Ward 30:37

huge, huge acquired projects that maybe might have died without it, like things like OpenOffice, which is not particularly interesting with a lot of the rest of the portfolio, but it was an important project. And it was, you know, had the potential to maybe not have anyone look after it if no one took it over.

David Nalley 30:56

Yes, I think, you know, there’s a number of projects that have come to us that perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have had a home.

Our concern again,

our mission is to release software for the public are to the public free of charge. But we have to act in a way that is consistent with the public good. So making sure that there is a community around those projects. Frankly, we don’t want a bunch of, of zombie projects with it, that no one’s paying attention to that’s, that’s not good for, for anyone. So, you know, kind of our threshold there is that we’re looking for projects to have a minimum set of folks who are paying attention and generally that number is around three. And so if you can muster three people who will actually commit to Paying attention to what’s going on responding to security issues and making sure that those are timely dealt with, then, then we’re not terribly worried. Three may not be the right number for some projects, because some projects are massive. And you know, but three is kind of that minimum, minimum viable project problem.

Chris Ward 32:24

Yes. And you started to lead into it a little bit there. But I was wondering, are there ever times when a project is asked to leave or asked to leave? Maybe it’s a zombie project or maybe, you know, open source is interesting at the moment with some commercial interests growing. And it may be that a new owner of a smaller company that used to maintain it is now doesn’t really align any longer and things like that. Are there any times that’s happened?

David Nalley 32:52

There, there obviously are times where

where we’ve discovered that Perhaps a project isn’t a good fit or the project discovers that BASF might not be a good fit for their particular project community.

Generally, that happens in the incubator.

I wish that it was discovered long before they they invest the energy to join the incubator. But we’ve had, we’ve certainly had that happen where either project was not able to maintain a growing community are their community culture, did not mesh with the SF culture. And so they have gone on to other things. But, you know, frankly, rarely, is it the case that I can’t envision a situation where a corporate interests would take it out. I think that would actually be a legal challenge for us to do because there’s a public benefit corporation. I don’t think we could just turn over and Say, Hey, go develop this software in a proprietary manner. I think there would be be some legal challenges just because the obligations we have under US law as an S nonprofit charity. There are certainly times where we have seen private companies for an Apache project. A number of times they end up coming back because the overhead of keeping up with the outside project and their own internal fork is too expensive. So, you know, it really depends upon project specifically, but certainly, you know, I, I think that I think we’ve seen a number of times where projects discover that they’re not a good fit for our culture, and they go there. You know, many cases successful on their own and that’s great.

Chris Ward 35:00

You and a couple of the other speakers this morning, mentioned several times, I didn’t know if there was an allusion to something that I wasn’t aware of protections from aggression. And I was intrigued to know what this meant. It was mentioned quite a couple of times. And yeah, what is that the legal frameworks you provide? Or is it around the IP type work or what what does that mean? Exactly?

David Nalley 35:23

So I think especially in the early years, there was there was a lot of concern around individuals being responsible for the code that they shipped. And one of the protections that the ASF aspires to provide for all of its projects is serving as a legal shield to shield the individual contributors. I think, you know, for better or worse, the BASF has seen more than its fair share of legal issues. And generally that’s us getting a subpoena, or we’ve even had a couple of times where Congress has sent us a series of questions. Because apparently open source is important and they don’t quite understand it. So please tell us about all these things that are vital to national security. And so the foundation hopes to provide a resource that can actually respond to that and shield shield our individual contributors from from receiving subpoenas and having to deal with scary things that require attorneys.

Chris Ward 36:43

Fair enough. Now, we started skirting around this issue a little bit earlier, but I would be interested to know because in one of your last slides, you were showing the things around interactivity and diversity, and not just on that, but there have been some examples recently of other site open source software foundations having some problems with some of their figureheads, you know, the kind of benevolent dictator, some just having had enough and and wanting to retire as it were some maybe leaving in less happy circumstances. So what does their ASF do to prevent someone becoming maybe too dominant and too dependent to do too dependent upon that they do would be very difficult for things to run without. And and I suppose, as well also passing that same feedback on to the projects you look after as well. Right.

David Nalley 37:35


we’ve been we’ve been pretty allergic to the idea of a benevolent dictator just as our culture. And you know, frankly, every year, board seats are up for election, every board seat, which means that once a year we could elect a completely different group of people. So that’s one thing. I think there’s also been a huge focus on

getting folks involved

in Michael, as, as the executive vice president is not to be the Executive Vice President for the rest of my life. And I know that a number of the other executive officers and important members have something similar there. They’re wanting to play their part today, and then grow the, the rest of the community to end up taking over for that. One of the things that has been was shared with me the first time I took a leadership position at BASF was all right now your first job is to find your replacement. And so, he very rarely Will you see, very rarely Will you see some very dominant personality come out. America, I think a number of the of the founders have taken a visible step back to make sure that, that that isn’t the case. So I, frankly, I think it’s part of our culture to to make sure that that

we don’t we have

decision making by consensus both at the project level and at the foundation level. And, you know, while some of us may take on a, a leadership role at a point in time, it’s not. We’re not sitting up dynasties or fiefdoms that’s built around that.

Chris Ward 39:40

And actually, before I kind of get to some wrap up questions, one thing that we haven’t really spoken about very much. We’ve talked about the the government, the governance of projects that you provide, but obviously a lot of people also know Apache for the licence or licences and 100% sure, as well as the HTTP web server which is a whole nother conversation. How much of how much of the foundation’s work is around around the licence? And I’m guessing it probably doesn’t change a massive amount particularly regularly. But you know, what, what does the work involve? And what’s the percentage of that around that? And what does it kind of mean to the foundation? I guess? Sure. So

David Nalley 40:21

the, the licence has been relatively static over the years. We’ve had we’ve had the occasional revision, but by occasional revision, I’m talking greater than a decade since the last one.


in terms of impact, I think the Apache licence and and some of the other licencing work that happens at the Apache Software Foundation is hugely impactful, hugely adopted, but in terms of the actual work that It goes on at this point. Not very much. I mean, there’s there’s constantly a review to check for compatibility for new licences that arise. But it you know, I don’t think anybody’s planning an Apache licence licence.

I think we’ve been very happy with

version two. And I’ll see a nature that changing in anywhere on the horizon.

Chris Ward 41:29

And getting a quick aside question, I would assume, but I might be wrong that projects that become under the auspices have to use that licence.

David Nalley 41:38

So projects that for good developed at BASF. It is licenced under Apache licence to dependencies. We have an entire an entire compatibility chart for for that, but for software developed at BASF. It is licenced under the Apache licence.

Chris Ward 41:58

So we’re here at Apache con in Berlin, I think the second or third time you’ve done it here, but actually celebrating 20 years, 20 years since, I guess, the discussions around starting something like this

1999, which does not seem like 20 years ago, which is a bit sad, but that’s another

in your knowledge and your experience anyway, I don’t think you’ve been with the foundation for 20 years. So just what you know, what would you say have been some of the biggest challenges? And what do you think will be some of the biggest challenges moving forward?

David Nalley 42:36

You know, so I think

some of the biggest challenges that I’ve seen have been

how we manage growth.

Even when I joined the Foundation, which has not been that long ago, it felt like a collaboration of friends and it was easy to do. I’m friends with everyone. And you, you could get a sense of things that were going on in the foundation, you could, you could grasp the breadth of projects, even when I when I joined in which is relatively late. Today, I think that’s, that’s a bigger challenge. We have 200, top level projects and really very areas, everything from low level IoT platforms to big data. And so it’s a much, much larger challenge to understand the breadth of what’s going on. It also means that you’re a little more disconnected from other people at the SF who are working on challenging things. It’s actually one of the reasons I think Apache con is really valuable because I get to interact with, you know, people who are writing software for IoT platforms, which is completely outside of my experience. And I get to see folks who are working on big data and and all these other interesting things we happen to be in a, in a common space? So I think one of the challenges has been, how do we sustainably grow without growing so fast that that we dilute our value and and dilute our culture? And I think I think that’s been a challenge and will continue to be a challenge because part of the part of the value that I hope that we deliver is that our governance model in our culture is something that we can pass on and that becomes a more difficult proposition as you continue to scale up.

Chris Ward 44:37

Final question, which you possibly should have opened with, but

what projects have you worked on or do work on the part of the SF?

David Nalley 44:47

So I first joined the Apache Software Foundation working on a project called Cloud stack, and help bring that through the incubator and become a top level project and Occasionally I’ll still work on that, although not very frequently. I’ve also worked on j clouds. I’ve helped mentor a few projects coming into the incubator, and it’s perfect just send a proposal out for a new one. That is project coming from Tencent that they want to open source and make available. Bring it to the Apache Software Foundation for governance and community.

And that’s called TVMQ.

Once I showed up at BASF, I realised that I could start working in other areas. So I’ve worked as a volunteer on infrastructure, brand management. I try and pretend like I know something about public relations. I don’t really but Sally lets me hang out on the mailing list anyway. And so I’ve had the opportunity to work Lot of software projects and a lot of the operational side as well.

Chris Ward 46:03

If I may ask one more question because something you said there that just sparked the interest. And

this, it was sort of mentioned in one of the first keynotes around

that at the moment, the foundation is based in Delaware or still is, I guess. And so you tend to have this slight American skew, although we are here in Europe, and there’s often a little bit of discombobulation there sometimes. But you mentioned the project from 10 cent I know Apache think because also just been kind of acquired by Alibaba. There’s a you know, there’s a lot more open source coming out of Asia now. How, how will the foundation maintain these kind of

Unknown Speaker 46:47 cultural

Chris Ward 46:50

cultural differences but I guess bridge those bridge those differences moving forward, I mean, European us we kind of understand each other most of the time, but going into Asia is going to be more China. And how do you think the foundation will and then should bridge those differences?

David Nalley 47:06

So, two things before we start into that, first of all, you can’t acquire plank because the common it but yeah, they park eight artists and write the storey so an interesting statistic that we’ve been tracking over the past couple of years is that China is now our largest consumer 30% of our web traffic comes from China today and by volume that by country volume that is the largest consumer of our, of our downloads and things of that nature. So they’ve long they’ve long held that for at least the past three years, they’ve been our largest consumer.

We have had

probably a good half dozen Chinese originated projects that have become top level projects. But I think that is you know, we talked a little bit earlier about diversity and inclusion and and how we pass on the culture. I do think that’s a real challenge for us. Because you know, the world is bigger than a bunch of bearded white guys who are in America and making making the Apache Software Foundation welcoming and accessible to folks who may not natively speak English are maybe not don’t even have a professional proficiency with English is one of those challenges that I think South front of us. And I do think there’s a there’s a little bit of a cultural barrier, particularly with Asia because, you know, we’re kind of used to the oddities of Americans and we’re kind of used to the realities of Europeans and that has historically been our strong base. But there are a lot of there are a lot of folks who are passionate about that. I know, Craig, the chairman of the board, has been spending a lot of time in China interacting with those and trying to convey the value proposition that we offer because I worry that that is occasionally lost in translation. And people just see this as, you know, a place to go store open source projects. But so he’s been he’s been working on that we’ve had prior presidents who’ve spent a lot of time in Asia. We’ve even run a Patrick cons in Asia as trying to, to get that message across of what we can offer. We may not be a fit for everything but trying to get folks who are okay with our governance model in our culture. acclimated to being able to do things here. I do think it’s a challenge because it’s not going to stop with China. There’s going to be other parts of the world that that have those cultural differences too. And we’re going to have to, to figure out how we communicate our culture and get those folks involved in and adjust to their culture as well.

Chris Ward 50:22

That was my interview with David Nelly, the Apache Software Foundation, Executive Vice President An interesting conversation and interesting conference. I will be doing more right up in the near future. If you have enjoyed the show. You can find previous episodes at Christian slash podcast, you can support the show at slash support. And you can find much of my writing at slash writing, please rate review, share wherever you found the show. And if you’re interested in meeting me, I have a couple of events coming up where I will be running more interviews, some I’m cancelling I’m cutting down too much of a little bit. I will be Riley’s velocity here in Berlin from November the fifth to the seventh. I will be at TC world instacart from November the 12th to 14th. And I will be a data natives, again here in Berlin, November 25, to 26. And actually some other events that I’m kind of confirming right now will also be coming up in the November December period. If you want to get in touch find me at Chris Digital comm slash contact. In summary, you can tweet me at Christians and find out the methods there. I have some more interviews coming up soon. I have a couple of special interviews on voice games, which I’m looking forward to getting out was the interviews I did with some gaming studios. And a few more to come. But in the meantime, once again, if you have been thank you very much for listening

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