During 2006 the Apache Incubator process has really taken off. Incubator is a place for existing projects to enter the Apache Software Foundation, and build up community around them. Once projects have attracted committers they then graduate.
However this has led to many Apache committers (like me!) who have new ideas going off to places like Google Codes Project Hosting and SourceForge, versus going through the paperwork of the Incubator process.
So, to provide a low cost place to start a project, Apache Labs was born. It is meant as a place that any ASF committer can start their own projects, but still leverage all the community and infrastructure that Apache has to offer!
Hats off to the Apache Labs PMC !