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It looks like new life is potentially being breathed into Google wave via an open source proposal created today at the Apache Software Foundation. Plans to turn Google’s fledging product into ‘WIAB’ (Wave in a box) – an open source implementation of some of the protocols created at the plex, got underway today with initial code submitted by Novell, and Google to the foundation. It is is now available as an incubator project, a half way house that Apache use to determine community demand and facilitate the feasibility and growth of the project.
According to the document submitted -the initial plans are underway to migrate the existing codebase away from Google Code (where Wave currently sits), and onto Apache’s platform and source control. Theyintend to quickly reach a state where it is possible to continue the development of the Wave In a Box implementation under the ASF project, and to add new committers to the project and grow the community. Wave currently is built on the Java programming language, and the source will continue in that vein. A number of other Apache libraries are already being used as part of Wave’s product, so this further relationship will only be cemented further.
The open source Wave in a Box project has existed in various forms for approximately 16 months (starting out life as the FedOne open source project).
FedOne began in July 2009 in order to accelerate adoption of the wave federation protocol, and serve as a proof of concept that a non-Google implementation of the wave federation protocol could interoperate with the Google production instance. It worked. In May 2010 Google released significantly more code (including the cross-browser rich text editor) to connect with other components that were built from scratch, resulting in a simple web client.
Alot of initial users of Google Wave found little connection with the product on a day to day basis, and it didn’t achieve enough growth or momentum with users for Google to sustain the project themselves. Open sourcing the project, and allowing the community to shape it seems like a clever move, and could infact lay the groundwork for a platform that may just take a swipe at Facebook somewhere in the future.