I originally started work on the Java Apache JServ servlet engine back in 1998 because I was doing work for a Clear Ink client that wanted to use Java for their website backend. It was the first Open Source Java servlet engine available and it was a poorly written piece of software that needed a lot of help.
Eventually, I was joined by Pier and Stefano. The three of us really put a lot of effort into the code, packaging and distribution of JServ. It became a useful piece of software and the ASF gained recognition from Sun for its Java development efforts. For our contributions, we were given some of the first non-httpd memberships to the ASF.
These efforts were rewarded by Sun deciding to Open Source two pieces of code: Tomcat and Ant. Both of which are now some of the most widely distributed applications on the planet. Java Apache was renamed to the Jakarta Project and we continued to grow and expand over many more years into one of the largest open source repositories of Java code.
I am responsible for founding, co-founding (and contributing to) quite a number of Jakarta projects including Tomcat, Ant (I was the first person outside of Sun to use the original code and some of the first patches came from me), ECS, Turbine, Torque, Commons-Email, Velocity, Anakia and Regexp.
Today, I'm still an active Apache member but I do not spend as much time contributing to the ASF as I did in the past.