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Google Technology

Google Open Sources Etherpad, Piratepad Launches 126

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fair-play dept.
Thomas Nybergh writes "The Etherpad code was released by Google under the Apache license a few hours ago. Google's initial plan, after acquiring the service, was to use Etherpad's tech with its new Wave collaboration platform and to shut down the original service entirely. Soon after the Etherpad code was released, the Swedish Pirate Party launched their instance of the service at piratepad.net. An announcement, which also mentions a new Tor node, is published on the party website (Google translation). The original Etherpad service had in a short time become a killer application for collaborative work within at least the Swedish, and according to my personal experience, in the Finnish Pirate Party as well. The Etherpad open source project is available at Google Code."
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Google Open Sources Etherpad, Piratepad Launches

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  • by julesh (229690) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @02:42AM (#30497204)

    there's a reasonable explanation of what it is on the home page [etherpad.com].

    To the submitter, please include a link that explains what you're talking about next time.

    • by Alef (605149) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @05:43AM (#30497650)
      Another little detail of information, in case anyone reads the links that are included in the summary:

      I noticed that Google Translate writes the last couple of sentences of the news release as:
      "PiratePad is freely available to all users. The party will save any logs from the service."
      What it actually says in Swedish is:
      "PiratePad is freely available to all users. The party will not save any logs from the service."
      • If babelfish is anything to go by then you should be lucky it got that close.
      • There is also uxoo.com [uxoo.com]. Free software at its best - other websites will certainly follow.

        Hopefully all these competing services will do to good old plain text edition something just as great as youtube did to videos.

        Start the competition!
      • well thanks to googles "contribute a better translation" function, it looks like it has been fixed.

        My limited knowledge of Scandinavian languages would not have caught that (though I have no real exposure to written swedish...just a year of norwegian applied against my danish heritage) although it would seem fishy for this particular group to want to log *anything*.

    • by kent_eh (543303)
      EtherPad: a web-based realtime collaborative document editor.


      There, was it really so hard to post that?
      • by Whiteox (919863)

        Excellent point. It would of saved many hot electrons having to visit Jimmie Wales just to find out what it means.
        Lately more and more submissions are accepted/posted without an explanation or description of what it's about like:
        "Xcrypto has been updated to 1.3" is pretty meaningless to anyone who has no idea of what Xcrypto is.
        So go waste your electrons and find out if you dare.

  • Pretty awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoTheory (580275) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @02:42AM (#30497206)
    Happy to see a Google acquisition which has not entirely abandoned their existing userbase, as they are assimilated. The company i work for has picked up using etherpads here and there, and was intending on doing so further, until the acquisition. I guess we'll probably give the code base a run, and try installing an internal copy :) Rock on Etherpad & Google guys.
    • Re:Pretty awesome (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ilovegeorgebush (923173) * on Saturday December 19, 2009 @04:12AM (#30497392) Homepage
      I was just thinking about how this is Google's answer to "acquire and assimilate" business practices. When Oracle or Microsoft do it it's murder, but when Google do it they Open Source the product then abandon the original.

      Is this better?
      • by AHuxley (892839) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @04:21AM (#30497418) Homepage Journal
        MS grabs the tech and dumps the company in a shallow grave.
        Google grabs the tech and then markets the company as a tasty snack on the open day bbq.
        • Re:Pretty awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Aldenissin (976329) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @10:49AM (#30498740)

          Could this be good legislation to implement and curb or eliminate the Embrace=>Extend=>Extinguish business practices?

          When you buy out a company that makes software, you must open source the current code. This would make companies more valuable standalone and increase competition, and also allow those that should die off to die off. If another company does wish to invest, competition is still there since the code is now open source.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pipatron (966506)
            Ok, wait.. So if for example Apple would buy Adobe, they would have to make all their products Open Source? Is that what you're saying?
            • Re:Pretty awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

              by mr_da3m0n (887821) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @12:24PM (#30499384) Homepage
              I this the parent's point was that a company acquiring another would have to either keep developping or support the target company's assets, or Open Source them instead of burying them in a shallow grave, never to be heard of again. Which would be a Good Thing (tm).
              • by DeadBeef (15)
                Agreed that the general idea would be a good thing.

                However, how do you come up with a workable definition of "keep developing"? Would employing a drunk homeless guy to translate the comments in the source code from English to ancient hebrew making releases 6 monthly count?
              • Actually he was sorta right, but I am glad the "thought experiment" for discussion going.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by SharpFang (651121)

              It doesn't have to mean "lose all the software to the public".

              More like "create a public open branch of whatever was created to this day".
              Also, "open source" doesn't have to mean "free as a beer". You can grab the code, tamper with it, compile it, but to use it for anything meaningful you have to purchase a license, and to redistribute your modified code you must purchase a redistribution license, sending a part of your profit upstream.

              • That is an even better clarification, and I like it.

            • Yes, that is what I was saying. They would get the employees, buildings and other assets. Remember this was a question, not an "opinion" so please don't attack me directly for trying to think outside of the box.

            • Sorry, see SharpFang's quote for better clarification, I forgot exactly what I meant since it had been a few days:

              It doesn't have to mean "lose all the software to the public".

              More like "create a public open branch of whatever was created to this day".
              Also, "open source" doesn't have to mean "free as a beer". You can grab the code, tamper with it, compile it, but to use it for anything meaningful you have to purchase a license, and to redistribute your modified code you must purchase a redistribution license, sending a part of your profit upstream.

              Though, I might would rather no redistribution license fees. But that is an interesting option. Perhaps if you use any open source software the fees would go to the original authors? (or a trust if author unavailable, for programming education or something)

          • Something similar that I would support, would be making it a condition a copyright's remaining valid that the product still be available for sale. If we did this then it would be a non-issue. The creator would have the source, so if the acquiring company permanently pulled the product, the copyright would lose force, and the creator could legally opensource the original code.
            This is the obvious solution to the problem of out of print books that you still can't legally copy, even though you can't buy them,
            • I like it, but I was looking for something that would kill 2 birds with one stone and curb bigger companies from just gobbling up smaller ones. This often does not make things better and I believe this idea would possibly help separate the wheat from the chaff more naturally.

              Also, the original creator could be "paid" to lose the source. (Think big corps. wouldn't try it?) It would cost money to keep the source in escrow.

              There are many legit reasons why something would no longer be available

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by atheistmonk (1268392)
        Yes
    • by mhall119 (1035984)

      Did you miss the part where they said that etherpad.com would be shut down in March, with public pads likely being shut down even earlier?

  • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @02:47AM (#30497220) Homepage Journal

    Small wonder they wanted to acquire AppJet to send its programmers to the Google Wave slave mines to make Wave work more like EtherPad. I'm tickled pink they went through with their pledge to open-source it, and did it so quickly.

    Isn't it amazing? This is the code that was AppJet's entire revenue stream...and after Google bought them for ten million dollars, they're giving all that work away to the community, free.

    You can argue all you want about whether Google is really evil or not, but either way it certainly has its non-evil moments.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I honestly fear them more than anyone else at this point. That they can comfortably do things like this only shows how big they're getting!

      • by WGFCrafty (1062506) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @03:25AM (#30497290)
        Do you fear accepting gifts from friends due to their extraordinarily elaborate subconscious ploy to undermine and ultimately control you?

        Be afraid.
        • by TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @03:33AM (#30497300)
          No, but I do from stores who collect my private data every time I shop there.
          • Then it looks like shopping through the mail with a proxy type address and money orders prepaid with cash is for you!

            Google is quickly becoming a large faceless megacorporation with questionable ethics regarding data storage, but at least they do some nice things.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by maxwell demon (590494)

              Then it looks like shopping through the mail with a proxy type address and money orders prepaid with cash is for you!

              No, shopping through the mall with cash and without customer card is.

            • they have named employees on youtube quite a lot for a "faceless megacorporation", and Sergey Brin isnt exactly a recluse.

              How exactly are you defining faceless?
        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by AHuxley (892839)
          With google you are the product.
          • by timepilot (116247)

            Yeah, I was just thinking that too. They're sort of like the machines in the Matrix. Google lives off of the energy generated by people who live in the Googtrix.

            I don't know whether I should take the red pill or the blue pill. I really don't know which would be better. The this version of the Googtrix doesn't seem so bad to me. I worry about what things will be like when the leadership is turned over to someone more Ballmer-like.

          • by GaryOlson (737642)
            But, I have not been UL inspected or listed , FDA tested or approved, nor EPA compliant. How do I know I am safe for public consumption?
          • by awyeah (70462) *

            You're right - it's exactly the same as with TV and Radio. The product is your eyeballs, the service is presenting advertisements to your eyeballs. The only difference is that what you get in return for your eyeballs is lots of actually useful services, not So You Think You Can Dance.

      • by D Ninja (825055)

        No. All it shows is that software is NOT what Google is selling. Software is not Google's product. As such, they are very happy to release it as open source. It puts a good face on Google, makes the development community happy, and gets more developers working on the platform. Remember, Google sells advertisements. That is their product. Their goal is to "organize the world's information." These two things go hand-in-hand, but Google will not be able to do either if they try to maintain total contro

        • Turn in your business card pup. Google is not and never has been a Marketing Company, Content Producer or anything more then a Service Provider. The service that Google provides is access to our Eyeballs and Minds. We aren't even a product becauuse of that. Just the access to them is all they sell - yet - until they figure out how to provide direct access to our minds, at which point "We Are Borg - Resistance Is Futile - You Will Be Assimilated" becomes reality. Until then everything that Google does has on

    • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @03:48AM (#30497328) Homepage Journal

      I really do think that this was the best thing that could possibly have happened to EtherPad. While it was still closed-source, it was locked up in the hands of one company. There was always the risk it could go away for good. (As very nearly happened right after Google bought them.) It's possible they might even have used the patent they claimed was "pending" to stifle competition if someone created a similar app from scratch.

      But now it belongs to all of us, and anyone with the expertise to set it up can run a pad server for his own writing circle or for the world. People might even hack in new features and share them, like that Wave Federation thing Iba mentioned in the blog post.

      But even if EtherPad's codebase stays the same forever, it's ours now and we can use it however we want.

    • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@NospAm.keirstead.org> on Saturday December 19, 2009 @08:24AM (#30498058) Homepage

      You realize don't you that Google Wave is both open source AND open protocol?

      It is federated like Jabber, anyone who wants to can download the wave source code and run their own wave server. And because it is federated, your server is not a walled garden - you can still join waves hosted on OTHER servers.

      Seems far superior to this Etherpad in every sense of the word.

      • by D Ninja (825055) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @09:53AM (#30498454)

        Seems far superior to this Etherpad in every sense of the word.

        Technically speaking, Wave is superior (I've used both). However, what makes Etherpad so popular is that it is easier to use. As of this time, Wave is still in Alpha mode, and while I get it, many tech friends who have tried to use it really don't understand the applicability of the software. They don't see it as a much better way to collaborate. They still want to stick to traditional e-mail for organization (which I hate, particularly when conversation threading and search is not available in e-mail).

        So, Wave = Technically Stronger; Etherpad = Usability is Stronger. Add the good parts of the two together, and you get a much better project overall.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        From what I've seen on the web wave is open source in the same sense that android is open source. There are a bunch of files on a CVS server, with some build instructions that creates a program that does something, but it isn't something they actually intend anybody to actually use. In the case of android their open source code results in an OS that doesn't have access to the cell network or wifi, and which can't even blink the LED on the front from what I understand. Their build instructions are a real

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but it is java - what a total let-down. I was expecting real, usable code. Not java.

      Hopefully Google's intent is to re-write it all in python, php or c. Then I will be interested.

      I feel like the kid on Christmas who wanted a bike but got a sweater.

  • by stimpleton (732392) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @02:54AM (#30497236)
    Etherpad is httpRequest javascript in a wysiwig which allowes collaborative editing in real time on a text doc with some rich text. My opinion is its a chat window where you type in the area the chat appears.

    In a screenshot on their page is the example text "...Etherpads patent-pending sychronization algorithm makes sure everyones edits are merged in realtime".

    I would see Gmail's live chat feature being quite close in concept. I wonder if Etherpad extended an open palm and inquired about renumeration.
  • by st1rguy (1180853) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @03:18AM (#30497272)
    If Canonical is serious about promoting their cloud platform this should be relatively easy for them to host and roll client access into their next desktop release. They could also host the server component in their repo to make it cake to install on internal servers as well. Wave without the "Google" would be awesome.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pydev (1683904)

      Google got the better part of the product--the developers. Without good developers, the code is probably pretty much useless.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by st1rguy (1180853)
        Not necessarily true, Etherpad is pretty solid. If they shifted some of the dev talent away from their silly attempt to make a online music store to something genuinely useful like real-time collaboration i can see that working in their benefit, at least to business users.
      • by AndGodSed (968378)

        You forget that Canonical has a rather close relationship with Google - notice how they provided developers to help out with the ChromeOS release. It is not much of a stretch to believe that Google might reciprocate in some way by providing resources, code or even finished product to Canonical.

        • by walshy007 (906710)

          All canonical typically do is repackage debian with newer packages... redhat and sun etc do all the heavy lifting with linux.

          While free people to package stuff is useful, I somehow think google would be able to do that themselves if need be.

          • by AndGodSed (968378)

            While I agree that Google would be able to repackage stuff if need be, I disagree with your statement that all Canonical does is repackage stuff.

            It might be a large part of what they do, but they write a lot of new code as well.

            Unless that is exactly what you meant when you said "typically"

            • by walshy007 (906710)

              Oh I know they do write new code as well, all I was saying is that compared to red hat and the like, their contribution is just a drop in the bucket. [sdtimes.com] (I'd consider 100X the the number of patches a significant difference)

              So if google wanted to hire coders from another company, canonical would be an almost silly choice.

              • by BruceCage (882117)

                Kroah-Hartman Attacks Canonical [linux-magazine.com], Linux Magazine (September 19th, 2008)

                Zimmerman [Canonical] objected primarily to Kroah-Hartman's definition of "Linux ecosystem," finding it "odd" in that he included GCC, binutils, X.org and Glibc in with the Linux kernel. Also, "He disregards most of the desktop stack (including GNOME and KDE), all desktop and server applications, and most anything else that is recognizable to an end user as 'Linux'." Not least of all, Zimmerman accused Kroah-Hartman of failing to ackn

                • by walshy007 (906710)

                  Ubuntu only really has two things going for it that separate it from other distros, marketing and willingness to give proprietary drivers/codecs out of the box

    • by Abreu (173023)

      Why not implement a Wave server? Wave is also open source and anyone can set up a server

      • by BruceCage (882117)

        Canonical would still need to build a user interface on top of the server component [google.com], so while it is a good idea there would still be quite a bit of work for Canonical to do as Google has not and most likely will not open source their own Wave implementation. Then again, let's not forgot that Google Wave in the current state is completely unusable for both communication (chat, discussion etc.) and any form of collaboration (specifically collaboration on documents). EtherPad on the other hand actually nails i

    • by mhall119 (1035984)

      Etherpad doesn't have a client, it runs entirely in a browser windows. There is already discussion of getting an instance hosted by Ubuntu, but it will have to be checked out by their security team before it is made official. Also, Debian and Ubuntu are trying to phase out Sun Java in favor of OpenJDK, but OpenJDK wouldn't compile Etherpad when I tried it, I had to use Sun's JDK.

  • Etherpad Wiki? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @04:28AM (#30497452) Journal

    What about using EtherPad for Wikis? Seems the perfect match: The learning curve is lower than for current Wiki markup (and ease of editing was one point of Wikis, after all), the history function is already included, and since it's now Open Source, the missing functionality (especially Wiki links) could easily be added.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by emj (15659)
      Wikimedia is investigating WYSIWYG editting, and I think their conclusion was that "Yeah it works, but you can't mix it with text edits". There is something special about mediawiki text and Latex, which many current contributors like.
      • by shaka (13165)

        Of course you can mix it with...

        This is how far I came in my quick rebuttal of your statement, before actually investigating the matter. After spending two hours doing that, I have come to the conclusion that you are absolutely correct, sir! Turns out, there is no formal definition of the MediaWiki syntax - it's just a number of regular expressions, and the implementation is the de facto standard.

        http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/WYSIWYG_editor#State_of_WYSIWYG_and_MediaWiki_software [mediawiki.org]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by maxwell demon (590494)

        Of course not every Wiki is MediaWiki, and even if you can't add it to MediaWiki or another existing Wiki, there's no reason why you couldn't create another Wiki based on EtherPad. It won't be used for Wikipedia, of course, but neither is MoinMoinWiki, UseModWiki or any of the other Wikis except MediaWiki.

        • by emj (15659)
          Many people are ok with using code to describe [[hyper links]], so what you want is a conversion between the two. Since there are no good WSIWYG wikis, there are no good dual mode wikis..
  • by Frigo (1702110)
    yay multiplayer notepad
  • Wake me up when it can use OneNote documents and you can put more than just text on the pad.
  • Excellent Summary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by glwtta (532858) on Saturday December 19, 2009 @06:52AM (#30497820) Homepage
    I just have one tiny question after reading it: What the fuck is Etherpad?
    • by Fumus (1258966)

      RTFFP

      (FP as in First Post)

    • by GaryOlson (737642)
      The place where all your packets go to crash when they can't route anymore and need some down time.
    • by sowth (748135) *

      Good question. I had to click a couple of links to get to the home page [etherpad.com]:

      EtherPad is the only web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time. When multiple people edit the same document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on everyone's screen. The result is a new and productive way to collaborate on text documents, ..

      To understand how it is really different, you need to read the FAQ:

      For example, with Google Docs it takes about 5 to 15 seconds for a change to

    • by BruceCage (882117)

      It's a collaborative real-time editor [wikipedia.org] for documents (in the broadest sense of the word).

  • After building and running it locally yesterday morning, I started studying the code. I am not to interested in deploying it right now, but I might set it up in the future for use by family, friends, and customers.

    I've had a Wave account for about 6 months (sandbox and beta) and I am more interested in building applications on top of Wave rather than hacking on the EtherPad code base. I am interested in learnng from the codebase however :-)

  • All we need is 1000 slashdotters and etherpad!

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