This document is targeted at Apache committers. A committer is an individual who was given write access to one or more of the codebases hosted by the ASF. If you are not a committer, you'll find this document totally useless since all the information presented assumes that you have an account on the ASF server and only committers do. So, if you are not a committer, but wish to become one, start with the instructions on how to contribute.


General Questions

I have just been elected a Committer, so what I should do now?

Read the Guide for new committers. That guide is also useful for existing committers, and provides links to other sources of information.

What Is ApacheCon?

The Apache Software Foundation periodically organizes conferences focusing on software developed by Apache and on the way that Apache develops it's software. Learn about what's happening at Apache, hack code and meet the faces associated with the names!

What Is A Hackathon?

A face-to-face gathering for the hacking of code.

What Is An Infrathon?

A face-to-face gathering for work on the Apache infrastructure.

What Is PlanetApache?

Planet Apache aggregates RSS feeds from Apache committers. It's not run by the ASF but committers with blogs are welcomed. See the contents of the committers/planet directory in the private repository.

I need to request some changes to infrastructure?

You might notice something that needs changing, for example the configuration for a mailing list. The request to the infrastructure@ list or the apmail@ alias needs to come from your Project Management Committee. That ensures that the requests are official, and not just an individual user's desire. This is the same for all requests for infrastructure changes. However, please try to get your PMC to assist first. There are many things that the PMC or PMC chair can do, thereby easing the load on the infrastructure team.

Being committed and managing my energy

Heed the warnings in these two email threads (read them all the way through): What is a member and volunteeritis. The discussion is about what it means to be a committed person at the ASF and how to deal with your internal pressure that arises from such dedication.

We each need to re-read those two important messages from time-to-time and remind our communities.

What machines do I have access to?

Please see the Machines List.

How Long Will It Take For A CLA To Be Registered?

The short answer is: it depends. You shouldn't be worried until a week or two has passed since the date you expected the document to arrive.

When a CLA is submitted, there are several stages to the process.

The first is that it has to arrive in the hands of an Officer of the ASF. For emailed and faxed documents, this is quick. For snail mailed documents, this is sometimes slow and often very slow if posted from outside the US.

The second is that the document has to be acknowledged by the ASF Secretary. Acknowledged documents are noted in the appropriate file in the foundation repository.

The third stage is waiting until you know that the ASF has registered the document. ASF members can watch the commit records or check the file. Others will need to wait until Jim's page is regenerated from that file and so they may experience an additional delay.

How do I start a new project in the ASF?

Or move a project into the ASF?

Please contact the Incubator Project. They will assist you in starting projects or moving them into the ASF. For a more technical overview, please read, the project creation guide.

Apache Labs could also be for you if you want to start something new.

Is there a way to see a graph of loads (CPU, I/O, network)?

Henk Penning and Vadim Gritsenko have such statistics and cool charts.

What are the responsibilities of a Committer?

Note: this is an incomplete collection and not authoritative.

As an Apache volunteer, you have the right to set your own priorities and do the work that scratches your own itch. As a Committer, you have a responsibility to the community to help create a product that will outlive the interest of any particular volunteer (including yourself). This means, for example, that the code that you commit should be clear enough that others not involved in its current development will be able to maintain and extend it. It also means that you are responsible for helping to grow and maintain the health of the Apache community.

More specific responsibilities of Committers include:

Deciding on release plans and releases
A prime responsibility of the Committers is to decide when a branch of code is ready for release. A release is not to taken lightly; each release must uphold the Apache tradition of quality. Each Project Management Committee formally authorizes the distribution of releases to the public.
Applying patches
In order to grow and maintain healthy communities, committers need to discuss, review and apply patches submitted by volunteers. The Committers are also responsible for the quality and IP clearance of the code that goes into ASF repositories.
Helping users
Committers should monitor both the dev and user lists for the projects that they work on and (collectively) provide prompt and useful responses to questions from users.
Monitoring commits and issues
Committers should review commit email messages for their projects and point out anything that looks funny or that may bring in IP issues. Monitoring Bugzilla / Jira for bugs or enhancement requests is also a responsibility of Committers.
Helping out with the web site
The main Apache web site and the project web sites are in constant need of maintenance. The Committers on a project are expected to collectively maintain the project's web site. The Apache Committers as a whole share the responsibility to maintain the main Apache site.

Is there a set term for acting as a Committer? Will I have to be elected again?

Merit never expires. If you become inactive for a time (usually six months or more) your account may be deactivated for security reasons. Most projects allow reactivation of committer status by application to the pmc.

Some projects use the concept of a emeritus committer status. This is typically suitable for those committers who can no longer they can give the time they feel is required.

What are the core beliefs of The Apache Way?

Note: While there is not an official list, the following six principles have been cited as the core beliefs of The Apache Way:

  • collaborative software development
  • commercial-friendly standard license
  • consistently high quality software
  • respectful, honest, technical-based interaction
  • faithful implementation of standards
  • security as a mandatory feature
I'm Told That The Host Key Has Changed When I To Login To My Apache Account. What Should I Do?

Any message about a change to the host key should be taken very seriously: it may indicate a man-in-the-middle attack is in progress.

Do not ignore this message and continue.

Before contacting the Apache infrastructure team, check that you are logging in to the correct machine. The permanent home for Apache accounts is

The SSH fingerprints for the host key can be found here: new-committers-guide.html#spoof

How Do I Bring Code Developed Outside Apache To An Existing Project?

For any substantial codebase that has been developed outside the ASF, a small amount of process is required before the code can be committed. This is managed by the Incubator. The first step is to contact your PMC.

What Do I Need To Keep In Mind When Applying Patches From A Contributor?

You need to make sure that the commit message contains at least the name of the contributor and ideally a reference to the Bugzilla or JIRA issue where the patch was submitted. The reasons: this preserves the legal trail and makes sure that contributors are recognized. Obviously, the latter doesn't mean it's not a good idea to list the names of all contributors somewhere on the website. To make it easier to "grep" for commits with patches from contributors, always use the same pattern in the commit message. Traditionally, we use "Submitted by: <name>" or "Obtained from: <name>".

Here's an example of what such a commit message could look like:

Bugzilla #43835:
Added some cool new feature.
Submitted by: John Doe <>

Version Control Questions

Why Do I Get An Authorization Failure When I Try To Access SVN?

The most common reason is that you've forgotten your password!

The password used for subversion is not the same as the password you use for access to You will not be prompted to enter it frequently. This makes it is easy to forget.

Apache employs a number of different HTTP authentication realms. You will need to enter your password whenever you access a new realm. (Subversion prints information about the realm when you are prompted for the password.) Please don't assume that infrastructure have made a mess of permissions or that something has mysteriously broken: you'll just feel very small when infrastructure tell you to log onto and reset your password by typing:

  > svnpasswd

Of course, it is also possible that you're accessing an url which is restricted. That's probably for a good reason so unless you know that you should have access, don't bother the infrastructure team.

Where is the committers/ module?

In Subversion, url:

Why Do I Get a 403 When I Try To Commit?

When you are initially granted karma for a new project you may see a message similar to:

svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: MKACTIVITY of '/repos/asf/!svn/act/090eb2e4-560f-0410-81de-d8ec7c0669a2': \ 
     403 Forbidden (

The clue here is the URL: Commits to an ASF repository are only allowed over https but the current working copy has been checked out over http. Subversion provides an easy way to change the working copy: svn switch. For example:

svn switch --relocate \
When Do I Need To Use svn lock?

Very rarely if ever. Please read this.

Where Can I Find More Information?

Mail Questions

How do I setup my email account?

See these instructions.

How do I request the creation of a new mail list?

Mail lists are the virtual room where the communities live, form and grow. It is wiser to keep the number of mail lists per codebase the smallest possible to allow the community to reach that critical mass that is necessary to bootstrap a codebase and keep it in good shape.

At the same time, as communities grow, the need for more specialized mail lists appears. This is the suggested chain of actions to request the creation of a new mail list:

  • Request a vote in the community
  • If the creation is accepted, your Project Management Committee needs to send in a request (more details).
WARNING: the creation of a user mail list can be a very dangerous thing for a community if the developers don't pay attention to their users and if users don't have developers that reply to their emails. Sure, active developers should expect a well behaving user community to reply to one another for simple questions, but this doesn't happen overnight and the creation of a user mail list alone can turn into a very harmful change.
How do I find out how many people are subscribed to a list?

Anyone with access to the apmail account can run the command ezmlm-list ~/lists/project/listname | wc -l to get a count of addresses. Remember that there often are people subscribed to the digest version too (~lists/project/listname/digest).

Moderators can send emails to

However, most committers do not have access to apmail. See the notes in the "committers" SVN module at /docs/resources.txt for another way.

How do I request changes for mail list moderators?

Ask your PMC to send a request to the apmail alias.

If you have access to apmail, you can just change the list of subscribers to list/mod. For example for the mod_perl dev list that is in ~apmail/lists/ Use ezmlm-list, ezmlm-sub and ezmlm-unsub to do that.

To determine who are the existing moderators, any committer can use the technique described in the "committers" SVN module at /docs/resources.txt

I am a moderator and receive these "MODERATE" emails.

First look in the mail and check if it is spam (or other severely misguided mail). If it is, then just ignore the mail and it will bounce after 5 days, or reply to the -reject address in the mail header.

If it is legitimate mail from a non-subscriber (or someone sending with a different envelope sender than the one subscribed), reply to the moderate request to the -accept address. If you also send mail to the -allow address (i.e. reply to all) then future postings from that address will be allowed through automatically.

If there is no -allow address in the moderate requests the list was misconfigured when it was setup and you should contact and get them to enable remote administration.

See the EZMLM "Moderator's and Administrator's Manual". You can also send email to {listname} from your moderation address (there are extra details for moderators).

Some lists are only open to ASF committers. The moderators have methods to ensure that subscribers are committers, so subscribers can use whatever email address that they want. Moderators see the tips described in the "committers" SVN module at /docs/resources.txt

If you have a troublesome poster, then you can un-subscribe them from the list using {listname} (and send a courtesy email to them).

Occasionally you will get someone with a poorly-configured spam filter sending automated replies to the list. You can deny their postings using {listname} (and send a courtesy email to them).

I didn't forward my mail before. How can I download my old mail?

When there is no .forward file then mail builds up in the Mailbox of your home directory. This is a bad thing. Sooner or later, all that mail will need to be downloaded.

Here is presented a simple method to move the mail from into a Thunderbird mail client. Copy the mailbox from your directory to your local machine. For example:

  scp /tmp/Mailbox

And then copy it into your Thunderbird Mail folder. For example:

  mv /tmp/Mailbox "thunderbird/profile/Mail/Local Folders"

The name of the directory might differ depending on your thunderbird version and configuration.

That's all!

Where Should Project Business Be Discussed?

Answered here.

I've Just Made My First Commit. Why Isn't A Commit Message Delivered?

The most likely explanation is that the commit message is awaiting moderation. Messages will be delivered promptly without moderation once the moderator approves posts from your address.