Apache® Project Corporate Recognition Best Practices defines suggested practices for how Apache projects may choose to link to third party corporations and organizations, or provide other kinds of information or links on their apache.org project website about the larger ecosystem around their projects.
Corporate Recognition Overview
To ensure the ability of Apache PMCs to independently manage the technical direction of their projects, it is important to show that Apache projects are managed by community-minded individuals volunteering their efforts on the PMC, and that projects are not dominated by or led by third parties or other outside corporations.
PMCs may wish to show appreciation for third parties that freely provide software or other services for the project. Similarly, PMCs are encouraged to provide a listing of committers in the project and their backgrounds, which may often include corporate affiliations. Some PMCs may wish to provide factual and unbiased information about the larger ecosystem of companies, consultants, trainers, and other organizations that use or contribute to their projects.
This document is a listing of best practices, or suggestions, that PMCs are encouraged to consider when publishing their websites.
Project Thanks Pages / Listings
PMCs may wish to provide recognition for third parties that provide software or services to the project's committers to further the goals of the project. These are typically called Per-Project Thanks pages, are controlled by the PMC, and have wide latitude to define their own content as long as it's within appropriate Apache Fundraising, Branding and Legal guidelines.
Project Thanks Pages / Listings:
May include a small third party logo for the donor or the goods, and may include a simple HTML link back to the donor. PMCs should have a consistent policy in what kind of links are allowed, especially in terms of including (or not) the rel="nofollow" attribute.
Should only be added at the request of the PMC for software or services that the PMC believes are needed for the project's goals. Project Thanks pages are to show appreciation for goods that the project truly needs, not just for goods that someone wants to donate.
Be about notable software or services that the project's committers are actually using to do Apache project-specific work. Listings should not be added if the actual software or service is not being used.
May include historical donations that were actively used in the past, but are not currently being used. These items should be marked as such.
Must not be advertisements. Listings should be simple factual listings of the goods, the donor, and possibly a brief description of how the project's committers are actually using the donation. The purpose is to give credit to the donor, but not to serve as an advertisement for an outside organization, nor to appear to be competing with the ASF Sponsorship program's recognition of Foundation-level sponsors.
Should not be on the project's home page.
Project Thanks Pages must include a closing overview paragraph that links to the formal Sponsorship and Donations/Contributing web pages at the ASF level. They may also include a brief note that Apache projects and the ASF do not accept targeted cash donations in any case.
Note that Project Thanks pages must not compete with or otherwise be to the detriment of the overall ASF Sponsorship program; this particular point is a mandatory Fundraising policy.
Product Support Pages
PMCs may choose to provide relevant listings of other useful websites within their larger ecosystem, as a service to the project's users. Such listings may include factual links to outside organizations offering support, training, hosting, or other similar services related to that Apache project.
Must not be advertisements. Listings should be simple factual listings of the outside resource or website, with a brief note to how it may be useful to contributors or users of that Apache project. The purpose is to provide more information for Apache project users, not to serve as advertisements or endorsements of any third party.
PMCs should have a clear policy for how such links are chosen and what order(s) they are listed in. Equal opportunity to request a listing for any creditable organization that provides similar services that would be relevant to project users.
May include a third party logo for the organization or the third party product, and may include a simple HTML link back. PMCs should have a consistent policy in what kind of links are allowed, especially in terms of including (or not) the rel="nofollow" attribute.
Should not be on the project homepage, only on a secondary page on the project website. Placing prominent links to third party services or products on the homepage of a project is often seen by new users as an advertisement, and an implicit endorsement of that service or product by Apache, which is probably not what we intend.
PMC controls listing and criteria which must be equitable and factual. In particular, PMCs should ensure that the appearance of links doesn't imply that the PMC is run by or beholden to any specific third parties.
Organizations linked to must be in compliance with all relevant Apache branding or licensing policies. Failure to comply with Apache policies (i.e. failure on the third party's site to attribute Apache marks, etc.) should result in removal from any such pages.
Listings may not imply an endorsement of the third party, nor any additional association or affiliation with the Apache project or the ASF, beyond any factual details. As a public charity, the ASF's mission is to create software for the public good, and not to advertise third parties.
Best practice is for third parties to request a listing on the dev@ list for the project, and then PMC members to review the request and make updates to the listing if it meets their criteria.
Listings must be sorted equitably and consistently. PMCs are free to set any sort of policy in terms of listing order, but should be consistent about applying it to not show favoritisim.
No Exclusive Or Controlling Relationship
An important factor for PMCs when choosing what links to include or how to portray them is ensuring that the links don't imply that a third party has an exclusive or controlling relationship with the project, the PMC, or the ASF. All Apache projects must be run independently of commercial influence for the benefit of the project and it's users.
Not Promoting Similarly Named Software Products
Any links on project pages to third party products or companies should not give the appearance of infringing on our own marks or products. The third party must not be infringing; if they are infringing and will not comply, the links should be removed.
In particular, PMCs should not provide links to any third party that is causing confusion with the public as to the source of any Apache software products.
"Who We Are" Pages
One way that projects may choose showcase your community is to provide a Who We Are page as a listing of the individuals who make up the core community. This is typically a list of PMC members and committers within the project. Projects that use Apache Maven or Apache Forrest to generate their websites will be familiar with these pages which can be generated automatically.
A best practice for having "Who We Are" pages is:
Not on the project homepage. A project's home page should provide a factual overview of the project and its product, to help the general public and potential users and contributors understand where to find relevant information.
Factual listings of actual contributors. Typically, only includes PMC members and/or committers, although the PMC may decide to
include other individuals who have made significant contributions, like wiki or documentation updates or answered user questions. In any case, it's best if the PMC is consistent at who is added (or not) to be fair to the merit of individuals there.
May include personal home pages of actual contributors. These are normally intended to be personal links about the contributors themselves.
Should not include corporate affiliations of actual contributors.
Committers are expected to participate in Apache projects as individuals, and not as representatives of any employers. Including corporate affiliations on pages that are primarily about the community of individuals on a project can give the wrong impression to new community members about the fact that projects are managed by PMCs of individuals, and not managed by outside organizations. PMCs are free to allow including corporate affiliations, but should be consistent in their policy for all committers.
Should include an overview or links to other ways that newcomers can participate in the project. Think of these as both an introduction to who is currently in the project, as well as a welcoming way to show future contributors how to join.
The primary mission of the Apache Software Foundation is to provide software products for the public good. Equally important is The Apache Way, or the community-led, consensus-driven, and public mailing list methods that our many projects use to produce the software products that we provide to the public. Projects must conduct their business for the benefit of the project itself and it's active community, and not for the benefit of specific outside commercial influences. Similarly, projects must have an appearance of being independent of outside commercial influences.
The fundamental driver for Apache projects are the communities and PMCs that contribute to and run those projects. As an all-volunteer organization, maintaining the health of the community of committers within a project is critical to Apache and to the project. Thus it is important for our communities to showcase themselves, and to do so in a manner that clearly shows we are communities of individuals, working together towards a common goal of producing Apache software products.
Apache projects are run solely by their PMCs, as projects independent of outside corporations or organizations. It is important to maintain both the actual independence of our PMCs from third parties, as well as to ensure that PMCs are clearly seen to be run as independent projects, free of any controlling, exclusive, or otherwise exclusionary relationships with third parties or outside corporations.
A critical point to understand - both for users of our software as well as the committers and PMC members who create our software - is that Apache Projects Are Independent.
These best practices for linking to outside pages on project websites are meant as suggestions for projects. PMCs are free to adopt (or not) any of these suggestions for their sites.
Other Trademark Guidelines
For more information about Apache marks, please see our formal Trademark Policy.
Nothing in this ASF policy statement shall be interpreted to allow any third party to claim any association with the Apache Software Foundation or any of its projects or to imply any approval or support by ASF for any third party products, services, or events.
This is version 1.3 of this Apache best practices document, published in September 2014.
Significant changes will be marked with a new version number.
v1.3: Remove DRAFT; improve explanations. v1.2: "Best Practices" instead of policy; improve several sections.