First published: 10th March 2000
Report from ApacheCon 2000
This is a special report covering the ApacheCon 2000
conference in Florida held in March 2000.
First published 10th March 2000.
The conference ran from March 8th to March 10th, at the
Caribe Royal Suites in Florida, USA. The hotel is situated
very close to the main Orlando attractions and the sessions
took place in the conference center of the hotel. In total,
just over 1000 people attended the conference and this
included a large number of Apache Software Foundation
members. At the very first session of the conference, the
opening plenary, the previous record for the most Apache
developers in the same place at the same time was broken.
Apache Week counted 18 developers during the session, 4 more
than at ApacheCon 98. While most people came from the US and
Canada, there were also a significant number of people from
Europe and beyond. This was the second official Apache
conference, the first being held in San Francisco in 1998
with over 500 attendees.
pictures from around the conference are available from
the Apache Week site. In addition, personal pictures from
attendee Kevin Burton are available.
Ken Coar opened the conference on Wednesday with a plenary
session and a song. Joining him on stage was a selection of
the current Apache Software Foundation members. Roy Fielding,
current president of the ASF, said that the conference
provided a unique opportunity to talk to the people who
actually write the code. The floor was opened to questions
which mostly revolved around the function of the foundation,
the Java and XML Apache projects, and the upcoming 2.0 alpha.
Roy said that 2.0 would be available "real soon now" and Ryan
Bloom promised that an alpha would be available during the
week of the conference, or at least a few days after it.
The Keynote Speeches
The first keynote speech was from Dr Alfred Z Spector,
Senior Technical Strategist with IBM. Dr Spector outlined
IBM's contribution to open-source and particularly their work
on Apache 2.0 and that Java and XML Apache projects. The
increasing importance of modularity by creating customisable
building blocks and code reuse was stressed. The conclusions
of the talk were that developers need to be given access to
libraries of standard components and better tools to utilise
them, and that the education system should be changed to put
more emphasis on the use and reuse of components.
Brian Behlendorf gave an energetic look at the
internals of the ASF in his keynote session "State of the
Foundation". His talk covered some of the reasons that the
ASF was formed which includes protection for the individual
contributors against lawsuits and the abilty to control the
Apache identity. The ASF is the umbrella organisation behind
the Apache httpd server as well a number of other open-source
projects such as Jakarta and Apache XML. Brian announced that
the ASF had currently received over US$35,000 in donations
which was quite an accomplishment given that it is not
publicised that the Foundation accepts donations. The
difficulty for the ASF now is working out how to spend the
donations. The FreeBSD project was cited as a good model as
it gives grants to developers who needed additional resources
for example. For the future a goal for the ASF is to develop
a structure to help support new projects, aided by creating a
standard framework of developer tools and procedures for
running open-source projects.
On Friday the first keynote was given by the president of the
Java Software Group within Sun, Patricia C Sueltz. She talked
about how Sun views the open source movement. She said that
Sun has made three technology bets in the year 2000:
computers will need to massively scale, that the network
stack will need to be interoperable, and that devices will be
always on and always connected. Finally, she talked about how
Sun views open source, and addressed some of the criticisms
of their current approach. She said Sun was committed to
working better with open source, and is working to improve
its source license. Various pieces of software have been or
will be released to open source groups, including the Tomcat
servlet engine and the Xerces XML parser.
There were four parallel tracks running throughout the
conference, with a total of over 40 classes. Unlike the last
ApacheCon the tracks were not themed, and some of the classes
took place as "Nightschool" events.
Over the next few weeks the ApacheCon site will be
updated to include links to all the talks and papers that
were presented. Popular talks on Wednesday included a series
of tutorials on starting with mod_perl, Comanche a GUI for
Apache, and the Catherdral Meets the Bazaar. The mod_perl
tutorials continued into Thursday and was joined by talks
about XML, HTTP, and APR. The day classes ended with a well
received talk on load balancing for Apache using the Backhand
Talks on Friday covered a variety of subjects, including XML
and XLST, PHP, and Apache 2.0. There was also a panel
discussion about the future of Apache after 2.0, including a
variety of ideas for new features for Apache in the future.
This included IO layering (such as the ability for the
server-side includes module to parse the output of the CGI
module), and replacable configuration engines so that
configuration information could be stored in a database
instead of a file.
Around sixteen companies exhibited at the trade show during
the conference. Companies present included IBM, Sun
Microsystems, LinuxMall, and Covalent Technologies. The
exhibition was very popular and reinforced how Apache has
built an associated industry. The exhibitors we talked to
were very happy with the quality, interest, and response of
people that they met at the conference.
The final session of the conference consisted of a launch of
the first alpha of Apache 2.0. A number of ASF members on
stage updated the website and copied the distribution files
into the correct locations live of in front of the audience.
Announcements were then sent to a number of key sites such as
Slashdot and Freshmeat.
This was followed by a session of questions and answers about
the conference. In general most of the attendees seemed to
like the conference, with positive reaction to the speakers.
An interesting point was that was that most speakers knew
their subjects very well, and although not all were
experienced speakers, they were preferred to excellent
speakers without detailed technical knowledge.
Other comments were that the session lengths were just right
and that the conference was good value overall. The main
critisisms were the fact that lunch was not included in the
conference price, the difficulty obtaining meals since BOFs
were scheduled at lunch times, and confusion since the
'nightschool' sessions were not included in the 'full
ApacheCon 2000 Europe
Plans are already underway for the next ApacheCon conference,
which will be in London in October this year. The conference
will be smaller than the US show and tailored towards the
European community. The next ApacheCon conference to be held
in the US will probably be in San Jose in 2001.
The first meeting of the Apache Software Foundation members
took place on the Saturday morning following the conference.
A total of 27 of the 38 ASF members were present, together
with representatives of the conference organising company,
Camelot. A secret ballot was held to elect the new board of
directors of the ASF as well as to elect a number of new ASF