Monday, February 11, 2013

How to know the active Apache projects?

Before adopting any software either open source or commercial, besides the features it's supports its equally important to know a couple of other things like

- how soon the bug fixes/enhancements will be provided
- how good the documentation is
- how active the community is (applies to both proprietary and open source)
- When will a particular version reach EOL
- What about the commercial support provided

It becomes a tricky when adoption an open source project. There are tons of nice projects at Apache, GitHub, Google Code and CodePlex from Microsoft. Day by day, more and more companies are open sourcing their internal frameworks through the cloud based version control systems.

Twitter had been leading this effort, more information can be found on this Twitter blog. As mentioned in this earlier blog entry, Google had been leading the Big Data space with its papers, Twitter had been more aggressively putting out the internal frameworks it had been using.

Coming back to the Apache projects, initially they start as incubator projects and once a particular project gathers enough community of developers to develop new features and fix the bug fixes, then the project will become a TLP (Top Level Project). Even some of the Apache TLP won't see any updates because of the lost community interest or because of some better alternatives.

Here are the source to know when the Apache projects (both TLP and incubator) have been last updated. As sees from these sources, some of the projects have not been changed for the last couple of years, while some of the projects are being updated very actively.

The above is one of the many signal to know how active a particular Apache project is. Also, check from the Apache mailing lists, how active the community had been to provide any support. Also, make sure to check if any of the companies are providing commercial support for the Apache products of interest. Coming to the Big Data space there are companies like Cloudera, HortonWorks which provide support for a wide range of frameworks and there are companies like DataStax which provide support for a single framework Cassandra.

To quickly summarize, enough care and caution should be taken before adopting a framework or a software into a project.

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