Apache is increasingly becoming the software version of an aircraft boneyard. I honestly upvote announcements of projects moving to Apache these days not out of excitement, but because it’s one of the closest things to a “this project is now dead” announcement we have in the industry.
A pretty large number of the projects are healthy, but it really depends on some external entity maintaining them, either a community or a company that puts resources into it. Apache itself is just kind of a repository, where the default state is indeed to repose in peace.
For example a bunch of the cloud-related stuff is in a not-dead state because companies like Google put engineering resources into them; that’s the case with at least Hadoop, Beam, and Spark. OpenOffice is one that’s alive because it had a preexisting community that still exists. There are also some more infrastructure-type projects that have maintainers, e.g. Maven and Subversion.
I think you’re making a fair point, and I’m definitely not arguing that everything coming out of Apache is dead. But I do think that the overwhelming number of projects that active on Apache either began life as Apache projects (e.g., Hadoop and its entire ecosystem, httpd and its entire ecosystem) or were donated very early in their lives, when there was still active development going on (e.g. Spark, Cassandra). None of the stuff donated when it seemed sick or dying (OpenOffice, Subversion, Derby, etc.) that I’m aware of actually recovered.
Subversion went to Apache in 2009 because the developers (including myself) wanted to.
We actually had to convince CollabNet that it would be a good idea to hand the trademark to the ASF.
I remember getting phone calls from executives all of a sudden who had never talked to us developers before, calling each of us begging to let the project stay with CN because they were worried about this move.
In hindsight it was the best thing we ever did. More developers received pay checks than before, from several companies. Everyone involved understood what the rules are and nobody could bend them (even though some companies did try, and then the ASF helped us out). The intrastructure provided is absolutely reliable, and since most of the ASF projects use SVN there’s a great purpose for us working with the ASF. The project is less focused on open source users these days, though. We’re mostly sticking around to support the relatively large install base across the entire industry. Most pure software shops have moved on, but take a look at other sectors such as finance, automotive, etc… you’ll find SVN everywhere.
Development activity was pretty steady until last year: https://www.openhub.net/p/subversion/commits/summary
That’s because a company who employed about 5 developers to work on SVN full time let them all go by December.
And this is precisely why being with the ASF is a good thing. We don’t want the project to be left unable to operate when a single company changes strategy or folds. Just look at what happened at Sun.
You’re also re-enforcing my point about what Scott Hanselman calls “Cold Dark Matter Programmers” - the droves of people who quietly use tools for decades after they’re no longer the new hotness, getting work done and making their lives better.
Software may have eaten the world, but (thankfully? :) the software INDUSTRY has not.
OpenOffice is dead. The current release (http://www.openoffice.org/download/) is “Milestone AOO412m3 | Build ID 9782 | SVN r1709699 | Released 2015-10-28” which has at least one CVE in it that’s been known about since July. There’s been talk recently of retiring the project, which seems to have rekindled interest in it, but the community has moved to LibreOffice.
That’s rather better than the libtiff story though.
I get where you’re coming from here but I also think this can be a matter of perception. Ruby and Python programmers tend to view Java as “dead” because they work in places where it’s not used much, meanwhile, a HUGE chunk of critical infrastructure still runs on the JVM. I suspect Apache software is similar.
Usually, that happens in the incubator, which is why such projects have a long incubation phase.
There’s an astonishing amount of working Apache projects.