The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is an American nonprofit corporation (classified as a 501©(3) organization in the United States) to support a number of open source software projects. The ASF was formed from a group of developers of the Apache HTTP Server, and incorporated on March 25, 1999. As of 2021, it includes approximately 1000 members.
The Apache Software Foundation is a decentralized open source community of developers. The software they produce is distributed under the terms of the Apache License and is free and open-source software (FOSS). The Apache projects are characterized by a collaborative, consensus-based development process and an open and pragmatic software license. Each project is managed by a self-selected team of technical experts who are active contributors to the project. The ASF is a meritocracy, implying that membership of the foundation is granted only to volunteers who have actively contributed to Apache projects. The ASF is considered a second generation open-source organization, in that commercial support is provided without the risk of platform lock-in.
Among the ASF’s objectives are: to provide legal protection to volunteers working on Apache projects; to prevent the Apache brand name from being used by other organizations without permission.