Facebook Sponsors the Open Source Apache Software Foundation

Facebook announced today that is now providing financial support to the open source-focused Apache Software Foundation, joining other leading consumer internet companies in their support of open source software. Although Facebook has already contributed software to the foundation, it is now donating $40,000 and joining it as a “Gold” sponsor.

The foundation supports open-source software projects “characterized by a collaborative, consensus based development process, an open and pragmatic software license, and a desire to create high quality software that leads the way in its field.” Facebook has already open-sourced 20 projects, and contributed three to Apache.

Of the three big Facebook projects in Apache, one is Thrift, a framework for scalable cross-language services development. Another is Hive, a data warehouse infrastructure built on top of Apache Hadoop, which is a Java software framework that supports data-intensive applications; Hive makes it easier to query and analyze large data sets stored within Hadoop. The third is Cassandra, a “highly scalable, eventually consistent, distributed, structured key-value store,” used by Facebook for showing results in its inbox search — and now used by other companies including Twitter, Digg and Rackspace.

Facebook has relied heavily on open-source software over the past few years and now it’s giving more back. It joins gold sponsor Hewlett-Packard. Leading web companies Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are the next level up, the $100,000 “Platinum” sponsors.