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27 September 2011, 17:11

Ten years of the Lucene search engine at Apache

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Lucene logo The Apache Foundation is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the full text search engine Lucene at the foundation. In 2001, Lucene entered the ASF as a sub-project of the Apache Jakarta project. Since 1997, it was available to download on Sourceforge, but in 2001 "Apache provided Lucene a home where it could build a solid community", said Lucene's creator and ASF Chairman Doug Cutting. Since then, said Cutting, Lucene's usefulness to a wide range of applications and deep improvements have led to it powering "smart search and indexing for eCommerce, financial services, business intelligence, travel, social networking, libraries, publishing, government, and defense solutions."

Among the companies using Lucene are AOL, Apple, IBM, LinkedIn, Netflix, Wikipedia and Zappos. Lucene committer Otis Gospodnetic said that "Apache Lucene can be found in an amazing number of products and services we all know and use, as well as in products and services we have never heard of." Originally written in Java, Lucene is available for many languages including Perl, C#, C++, Python and Ruby.

In 2005, Lucene graduated from being a sub project of Jakarta and become a top level Apache project; since then it has spawned a number of sub-projects, some of which, such as Droids, Lucene.Net and Lucy, are now incubating in the Apache Incubator aiming to become top level projects themselves. The Solr open source search platform was merged into the Lucence project, while former sub-projects of Lucence, Hadoop, Mahout, Nutch and Tika, have all become autonomous top level projects.

Where the Apache Software Foundation was initially built around the Apache web server, over the last ten years, Lucene has added a second major system for projects to orbit around within the foundation. Apache Lucene software is overseen by a self-selected team of active contributors and a project management committee guides the day-to-day operations. Available under the Apache Licence 2.0, the Lucene software and many other resources are available from


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