The Apache Software Foundation

Community > Code

Projects at the ASF offer a way to grow in your responsibilities in the project, from being a user, all the way up to being a maintainer of the project. While the specific details may look different from one project to another, the rungs of the ladder look mostly the same.


Everything that we do in an ASF project is for the user. As a user of an Apache project, your responsibilities are just to enjoy the software.

We encourage you to join the user mailing list to ask questions, and make suggestions. Members of the project are there to help out when you run into problems. You can find this list (or lists) by looking under the project name on

As a user, you’re expected to abide by the project’s code of conduct, so that interactions are polite, friendly, and helpful.

As you become a power user of the project, you may consider becoming a contributor.


While most people think of open source contributors as being coders, there are a wider variety of ways that you can contribute to a project.

Most users’ first contribution will be to open a ticket on the project’s issue tracker, or to answer a less experienced user’s questions. These actions help shape the future direction of the project, and are important contributions.

We encourage you to join the project’s developer mailing list at this time, to engage with the discussions about the direction that the project is taking. You can find this list (or lists) by looking under the project name on

Other contributions may include design, promotion, documentation improvements, events, and many other things.

See more about being a contributor.

As you become more involved with contributing to the project, you may want to work towards becoming a committer.


After making a number of contributions to a project, its PMC may invite you to become a committer. Note that the criteria for inviting a contributor to become a committer will vary greatly from one project to another.

Once you have been invited to become a committer, and have accepted this invitation, you are authorized to commit changes directly to the project’s source code repository. Note, however, that different projects may have different social norms around committing changes.

Broadly referred to as CTR (Commit Then Review) and RTC (Review Then Commit), the exact mechanisms may vary. For example, you may be authorized to commit documentation changes without approval, while code changes may be submitted as a pull request, for other committers to review and approve before they are merged.

See more information about being a committer.

PMC Member

After being a committer for some time, the project’s PMC may invite you to become a member of the project’s Project Management Committee. This group acts as the steering committee for the project, making decisions about the project’s road map, what features will be added, and other decisions around the project.

The PMC should be conducting all of these conversations on the public developer mailing list(s), in the view of the entire community. A PMC also has a private mailing list, which is for discussion of topics such as the addition of new committers and PMC members, and any other sensitive topics.

See more information about being a PMC member.

Foundation Member

When someone has been involved at the ASF for a while, they may be invited, by the membership, to become a member of the Foundation. This entitles them to vote for the Board of Directors, to participate in the members’ mailing list, and to invite others to become Foundation members.

See more about being a Foundation member

Officers of the Foundation

Officers of the Foundation are responsible for various aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Foundation. You can see how these roles are broken down in the Foundation organization chart.

Board of Directors

The members of the ASF elect the members of the Board annually for one-year terms.

The Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of the Foundation. This includes overseeing projects, to ensure they are behaving in accordance with ASF policies and norms.

The Board also delegates much of the day-to-day operation of the Foundation to the President, and various officers and committees.

You can see the current composition of the Board on the Board website.