Maven wins the third BlueHats Prize

Apache Maven logo consisting of the word maven with two feathers forming the 'v'.
Apache Maven

We are happy to announce the winner of the third 2024 BlueHats prize is the Maven team, maintainer of the Maven project. Maven is widely used as a build tool for Java projects. It can also handle dependencies, testing, code coverage, and generation of documentation. BlueHats prizes are an initiative by the French Interministerial Digital Directorate. They are awarded to maintainers of critical free and open source projects. In 2024 four prizes of € 10 000 each will be given out.

The jury, made up of public officials from ANSSI and DINUM, recognised the central role of Maven in the creation of applications and managing the supply chain. The members of the Free Software Unit (an OSPO) wish to continue to highlight this type of initiative: discrete projects that are critical to software infrastructures, and maintained by reliable teams over the years.

In response to hearing he had won, Karl Heinz Marbaise, chair of the Project Management Committee of Maven said:

It is an honor to accept the price as the current representative of the Apache Maven Team. That's a great step forward to give more public awareness of open source software and how it's developed.

About Maven

The Project Object Model (POM) of Maven allows for declarative project management while retaining flexibility with plugins and extensions. The Maven ecosystem is very stable: the current file format has backward compatibility going back nearly two decades.

Maven was started in 2002 by Jason van Zyl. The most popular build tool at the time, Ant, had few conventions which meant that all build files looked different. Maven introduced a file format with less options and more conventions. This reduced the cognitive overhead of writing build files and made it easier to write automation on top of the build files. Additionally, Maven encouraged publishing packages in a standard way in a central place. This practice is now mainstream but was not a given at the time.

Currently the community is working on version 4 of Maven.

Praise for Maven

Anyone can nominate free and open source projects for one of the BlueHats prizes (and nominations are still open). Maven was nominated by Tamás Cservenák, former lead developer of Nexus, a repository manager for Maven. He motivated his choice by writing:

It is the essential (and most popular) Java build tool, while it is heavily understaffed, the most optimistic estimation tells there are 10 persons actively maintaining the whole ecosystem of Maven (as it is not just single project, but many sub-projects and all the plugins, etc).

Frédéric Séraphine of the Software Factory Unit of the French payment and services agency says:

Apache Maven is a crucial Open Source component at the heart of our Java applications. It enables us to build our applications in our software factory, ensuring easy management of internal and external software dependencies. It powers nearly 300 projects and over 2 million lines of code.

BlueHats prizes for maintainers of critical software

The BlueHats prizes aim to place maintainers of critical open source software in the spotlight. It is a well-known problem in the free and open source world: The benefit of having open source software is enormous but there is not enough attention and resources for maintenance and maintainers.

Maven is a typical example of this state of affairs. Although it affects countless end users because it builds their binaries, it is heavily underfunded and understaffed. The BlueHats prizes seek to encourage users of free and open software to invest in maintenance.

Nominations still open

One more BlueHats prize will be awarded next month. You can still nominate your favorite project for the last € 10 000 prize of 2024. The BlueHats prizes are an initiative of the French public administration. The French Free Software Unit (an OSPO) has partnered with NLnet to put four notable projects in the spotlight and award them the 2024 BlueHats prizes.