Feature-Oriented Software Development provides a multitude of formalisms, methods, languages, and tools for building variable, customizable, and extensible software. Along different lines of research, different notions of a feature have been developed. Although these notions have similar goals, no common basis for evaluation, comparison, and integration exists. We present a feature algebra that captures the key ideas of feature orientation and that provides a common ground for current and future research in this field, on which also alternative options can be explored. Furthermore, our algebraic framework is meant to serve as a basis for the development of the technology of automatic feature-based program synthesis and architectural metaprogramming.