The Apache Software Foundation /əˈpætʃi/ (ASF) is an American non-profit corporation (classified as a 501(c)(3) organization in the United States) to support Apache software projects, including the Apache HTTP Server. The ASF was formed from the Apache Group and incorporated on March 25, 1999. The Apache Software Foundation is a decentralized open source community of developers. The software they produce is distributed under the terms of the Apache License and is free and open-source software (FOSS). The Apache projects are characterized by a collaborative, consensus-based development process and an open and pragmatic software license. Each project is managed by a self-selected team of technical experts who are active contributors to the project. The ASF is a meritocracy, implying that membership of the foundation is granted only to volunteers who have actively contributed to Apache projects. The ASF is considered a second generation open-source organization, in that commercial support is provided without the risk of platform lock-in. Among the ASF's objectives are: to provide legal protection to volunteers working on Apache projects; to prevent the Apache brand name from being used by other organizations without permission. The ASF also holds several ApacheCon conferences each year, highlighting Apache projects and related technology.