Today, the Apache Software Foundation gained a new sponsor: Facebook. Facebook is a gold sponsor, too, which means that the social network expressed its support for open source software by volunteering to donate $40,000 per year to the ASF.
Cynics shouldn’t waste their time looking for an ulterior motive. Facebook won’t get much out of this deal aside from a link on the ASF’s "Thanks" page, an ASF logo to put on its own site, and a PR blurb.
This gesture just appears to represent genuine goodwill towards the open source community. A post on the Facebook Developers blog explained that open source software has been important to the social network since its start, and that Facebook’s actually been repaying the favor for a while, contributing three open source projects over the past two years.
As for what effect Facebook’s donation will have, ASF Chairman Jim Jagielski explained in a blog post of his own, "Sponsoring the ASF helps us grow existing projects, incubate new initiatives, promote community development, host user events, expand our outreach, and provide the infrastructure that keeps the Foundation running on a day-to-day basis."
Other ASF sponsors include Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo (at the platinum level), HP (at the gold level), and Intuit, Joost, and Matt Mullenweg (at the silver level).