The Apache Group
A Case Study of Internet Collaboration
and Virtual Communities

Roy T. Fielding
Dept. of Information & Computer Science
University of California, Irvine

Virtual Communities

What is Apache?

Apache Group Common Goal Current Status

Apache Group Founders, Feb 1995

* Brian BehlendorfHotWired, Bay Area, California
* Roy FieldingUC Irvine Ph.D. Student, California
Rob HartillLANL, New Mexico
David RobinsonCambridge Ph.D. Student, UK
Cliff SkolnickSun Microsystems, California
Randy TerbushZyzzyva ISP, Nebraska
* Robert ThauMIT Ph.D. Student, Massachusetts
Andrew WilsonElsevier, Oxford, UK

* indicates people Roy has met in person

Initial contributors included Eric Hagberg (Cornell Medical College), Frank Peters (Mississippi State University), and Nicolas Pioch (The Unofficial Louvre, Paris, France).

Current Apache Group, May 1997

* Brian BehlendorfOrganic Online, California
Ken CoarProcess Software Corp., New England, USA
Mark CoxUKWeb Ltd., UK
* Roy FieldingUC Irvine Ph.D. Student, California
* Dean GaudetSteam Tunnel Operations, California
Rob HartillInternet Movie DB, UK
Jim JagielskijaguNET ISP, Maryland
* Alexei KosutSenior in High School, California
Ben LaurieFreelance Consultant, UK
Chuck MurckoThe Topsail Group, Pennsylvania
Aram MirzadehQosina Corporation, New York
* Sameer ParekhC2Net, California
Paul SuttonUKWeb Ltd., UK
Marc SlemkoEdmonton, Canada
Randy TerbushZyzzyva ISP, Nebraska
* Dirk-Willem van GulikFreelance Consultant, Italy
Andrew WilsonFreelance Consultant, UK

* indicates people Roy has met in person

There are many more Regular Contributors to the Apache Project.

Development Context

Multinational All Volunteer Differing subgoals No CEO, President, Manager, or even Secretary

Secrets of Our Success

User-driven Development Rapid Response to User Needs Blistering Production of New Features

Collaborative Development


Impact of the Internet on Collaboration

Collaboration within the Apache Group

Process Evolution

1995 Feb
  • Patches exchanged by mail, given a name,
  • vote tabulated (+1 yes, -1 veto, +0 abstain)
  • patches applied,
  • generate new release
    1995 Mar
  • Formal patch database/forms tried, later replaced by simple directory
    1995 Sep
  • Voting guidelines codified,
  • separate roles of voter, vote coordinator, release builder
    1996 Jan
  • Remote CVS enabled
    1996 Nov
  • GNATS problem tracking system
    1997 Jan
  • Voting restored
  • Agenda created

  • The Problems with Being Virtual

    The first three problems can be reduced by better tools, but the latter requires some form of synchronous, voice communication, preferably on a regular basis.

    The Apache Group: A Case Study of Internet Collaboration and Virtual Communities (Roy T. Fielding, 02 May 1997)
    UCI School of Social Sciences Seminar Series on the World-Wide Web