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Google Wave Looking To Join Apache Software Foundation 79

MMacFadden writes "The Google Wave team has officially submitted the open source version of Wave to the Apache Software Foundation as a candidate Incubator project. Google hopes that the wave technology will continue to grow, supported by the new open source community (which is made up of Google and non-Google employees alike). Here is the proposal itself."
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Google Wave Looking To Join Apache Software Foundation

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  • Hope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Konsalik ( 1921874 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @08:35PM (#34346498)
    I really hope Wave lives on. It is really a great idea albeit a bit to ambitious for its time (The whole lets replace email overnight thing). Maybe with some TLC from the OS community and a while in the incubator we can have a truly ripe and great piece of software.
    • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @09:03PM (#34346640)
      Really, claiming that it was an e-mail replacement/killer/evolution was the biggest mistake they made. Wave is what it is: very inexpensive collaboration software. That's an absolutely fantastic thing for teleconferencing, but just shy of totally useless for the average consumer's everyday purposes. I think it's fantastic that they've open sourced the project, and I do hope that it makes it into an incubator, because similar software from outfits like Adobe and Co. are loopily expensive, and this could be a real benefit for organizations that run on a fraying shoestring budget. I just hope that people can get past the claim that Wave's apple was really an orange.
      • I think a second problem with Wave was that the implementation sucked. They built Wave using some kind of Java toolkit that hid the JavaScript frontend code from programmers. As a result, the page the user interacted with was slow and inflexible. There was more Java library and framework bloat on the server. Writing extensions for it also was unnecessarily cumbersome. For example, the content of a wavelet wasn't in XHTML subset as you might expect, it was in some weird attributed text format. Just get

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RazorSharp ( 1418697 )

          For me it depended on the browser. With Firefox it was slow, okay with Safari, and seamless with Chrome. Not surprising, and probably wouldn't still be the case had they not abandoned the project. Although it's a niche product, it's really good at what it does and has the potential to be great. Hopefully the open source community does some neat things with it.

          • by t2t10 ( 1909766 )

            It's not just the fact that it was slow; the user interface had problems, it didn't work on mobile devices, and the APIs were bad in places as well.

            I'm not sure WIAB a good thing to build on; PyGoWave may be a better platform to build on.

        • by davros-too ( 987732 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @09:58PM (#34346896) Homepage
          I agree the implementation was lousy. Unfortunately, now that Google isn't backing wave, fixing the implementation will not prevent wave from languishing in obscurity. By its nature wave is only useful if many of the people you know or work with are signed up. Open source can fix the implementation, but its lousy at marketing.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by cranos ( 592602 )
            Well there are certainly a number of smaller and bigger organisations still looking into Wave. Novell is using Wave based tech for Pulse (no federation as yet but you never know) and at the summit we had a number of people keen to ensure that wave survives so they can build on it and make money.
            • Fair points. Wave may indeed be successfully used in collaboration products like Pulse, and that would be good. But for me that would still be a very disappointing outcome and is what I had in mind when I wrote 'languishing in obscurity'. The great promise and potential, which sadly won't be fulfilled, was for collaboration and communication across broader communities beyond one company or group of friends.
              • by cranos ( 592602 )

                Fair points. Wave may indeed be successfully used in collaboration products like Pulse, and that would be good. But for me that would still be a very disappointing outcome and is what I had in mind when I wrote 'languishing in obscurity'. The great promise and potential, which sadly won't be fulfilled, was for collaboration and communication across broader communities beyond one company or group of friends.

                There's nothing stopping someone from setting up a service similar to Google Wave using the open source implementation. Let us get version 1.0 out the door and we'll see what happens :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by am 2k ( 217885 )

          They built Wave using some kind of Java toolkit that hid the JavaScript frontend code from programmers.

          Let's call the demon by its name: Google Web Toolkit [].

          If they had hand-coded the frontend and written a lightweight backend, Wave would likely still be around.

          I'm not so sure about that. Wave didn't fail for technical reasons. It failed because there was no transition path (No mail gateway for a mail replacement? wtf? XMPP-IM at least gets that part right.) and bad management (they expected a private beta for a walled garden solution to take off immediately).

          • by t2t10 ( 1909766 )

            Adding SMTP and other features isn't rocket science. The reason it took so long was probably because they were bogged down by their unwieldy software infrastructure.

            • by cduffy ( 652 )

              Having written applications with GWT, I find it anything but unwieldy.

              Bringing static checking, JUnit-based testing, and modern code coverage tools to JavaScript (and doing a ton of micro-optimizations during the compilation process under the hood) does a world of good. Letting Java-based debugging tools be seamlessly used for debugging JavaScript is even better.

              I've seen attempts to implement a GWT-like toolchain for other languages (Python, Scheme) -- and the competition all falls down not on having effec

              • by t2t10 ( 1909766 )

                The "software infrastructure" I was referring to wasn't just GWT.

                Furthermore, while GWT makes you happy as a Java programmer, it made me unhappy as a user, since there was no reason Wave had to be that slow and have so many browser incompatibilities.

                • by cduffy ( 652 )

                  GWT builds faster-executing JavaScript than I can write by hand in a reasonable amount of time, just as a C compiler builds faster assembly than most people can build without digging in and hand-optimizing. Likewise, it builds code optimized for different "targets" -- an IE6-optimized version, an IE7-optimized version, a Firefox-optimized version, etc etc. As such, it provides the tools to build a faster site with wider browser compatibility than one would necessarily be able to build without it.

                  Is this to

                  • by t2t10 ( 1909766 )

                    Why are you so hung up on GWT? I blamed GWT for the bad user interface, not the delays. Get over it.

                    • by cduffy ( 652 )

                      You didn't make it clear exactly which issue you were blaming on which piece. The clarification is appreciated.

        • The developers themselves are on video stating that they couldn't have achieved what they did without the use of GWT (which is just a java to javascript compiler).
          • by t2t10 ( 1909766 )

            Well, what they accomplished was to have their project killed within 3 months of general release, so, yeah, I tend to agree.

      • Look at a Real Estate transaction: Clients, Realtors, Attorneys, and Bankers all collaborating on documents.

        Right now we fax, mail, and email them around.

        Imagine a wave-based real estate transaction where everyone makes tracked changes to a single document. It's perfect!

        All that remains is the hardest part: the social engineering aspect. Because wave isn't useful if only one party is using it!

      • Indeed, it is a collaboration software. The problem was that Google targeted it to wrong audience. I mean they tried to make a very tough social network out of it. But in fact, it'd be more recognized as a collaboration software for the companies, professional groups, etc. Wave is useless without a purpose.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcvos ( 645701 )

        I think the idea of Wave is still brilliant, but it does need some polishing. My biggest beef is with the user interface. A big wave can quickly turn into a confusing mess. What's new? What's old? What do I still need to respond to?

        I need more tools to manage my view on the wave. Close bits, split different subthreads with diverging topics into separate waves, flag messages as read, unread, important, interesting to others, archive-worthy, etc.

        The technology is very powerful, but it needs a better UI to do

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I've seen wave used by small teams very effectively.

      Player Corporations in Eve Online running a wave for each corp project worked out well.

      Discussing a small FOSS projects with a group worked for those of us not logged into IRC 24x7. Setup your trac or build environment to post. Start feeding build reports into it and starting waves for project forks.

      Sure, if you live on Facebook or in IRC and mailing lists wave is more of a 'why would I care?'

      Needing to put effort in is the key problem with any pa

    • Me too, since with a little more glue code and maybe integration into some existing Free software it could be several parts of a really good learning management system.

    • I think wave's problem is that it was freaking awesome for business communication but pretty shit amongst consumer communication.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I liked the idea of SOME of the things in wave. My hesitation came from the fact that I couldn't easily port it over to my email. If I could do everything in one place, I'd have been happy. You also had so much crap going on in a single wave that it was impossible to tell what the hell was happening. I felt like I needed a diff to figure out what was going on.

    The wave protocol, if I remember, was pretty open and allowed distributed servers. I'd like to see that take off at some point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cranos ( 592602 )
      The protocols themselves are open and yes it allows distributed servers. Wave In A Box, the reference implementation is one such project and there are a small number of us who are running testing versions of this server.
  • I would be cool if someone were to host Google Wave for now. I never understood why Google did not let Wave continue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Konsalik ( 1921874 )
      Read the linked article, they go into the details. "Unfortunately, Google did a poor job of clarifying the potential of Wave or helping users understand how to embrace and utilize it. The initial excitement gave way to confusion, followed by apathy, and eventually to Google deciding to kill the project--at least as far as Google hosting and supporting it is concerned."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

      Maybe I need to RTFA, but I just went to [] and it worked fine. I know it's no longer developed, but it still exists

      • by WWWWolf ( 2428 )

        Maybe I need to RTFA, but I just went to [] and it worked fine. I know it's no longer developed, but it still exists

        Not for long. Earlier, Google announced that they would wrap things up with Wave, but they also said that the service would stay alive at least until the end of this year. (They probably just want to give people a headstart if they want to move their stuff away from Wave.) After that, it's anyone's guess.

    • Re:Hosted Wave (Score:4, Informative)

      by stiggle ( 649614 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @08:16AM (#34349086)

      Part of the incubator project is WAIB (Wave in a Box) - which you can download now off the main Wave Protocol website ( which allows you to run your own Wave Server - including a supplied web interface. The Wave protocol includes federation so you can link up WAIB.

  • by Niris ( 1443675 )
    I didn't even hear about Wave until the last three months of it being supported by Google, but I liked what I saw from the demonstration on Youtube from their convention, and from actual use. If only they had integrated Gmail into it so I wouldn't need two different windows open and if it were something like a mix of Meebo (browser based instant messaging) then it'd be perfect.
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @08:55PM (#34346596)

    Here's why:

    I have a Chrome bug to submit, log onto my Google account, type details of my bug and sadly, I find the 'submit' button disabled.

    Sometimes, I am not surprised that Google Wave "bit the dust."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google is overwhelmed with bug reports.
      Go to their support group forums for developers where the actual employees read.

    • by gmor ( 769112 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @07:19AM (#34348868)
      "Summary" is a required field when you report an issue. Type something and you can submit the bug.
      • In this sense, developers are a lot like users-- they don't know how to interpret the gobbledygook that is a stack trace or memory dump unless they know to some degree of precision how the program got there, and if the problem is predictable and/or repeatable. Unless the dump matches a previous case perfectly, a null pointer (for example) can be due to any reference to memory.

        Long story short, tell the devs as much as you can if you really want the bug fixed.

    • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

      Yes, because all software undert he ASF envelope is 100% bug free and feature complete.

      What kind of nonsense is this? What does a minor bug on a web-page have to do with submitting a project as open source?

  • Selling wave as an email replacement was a mistake.

    The packaging that wave came it was what killed it.

    A group of people could work on a document, or stream of thoughts, refining things as they went... that part was brilliant.

    The insistence that each person had to "own" a piece of it.. meant each document was a chain of links, instead of a seamless whole.

    This packaging choice killed the usability, and lead to the downfall of wave.

    Let's hope this can be overcome in the next iteration.

  • by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @12:42AM (#34347512)

    Wave was an amazing idea with some really poor implementation. Having wiki capabilities but no revision control? Duh. No way to create some sort of social grouping or mailing list or whatever. Not letting the wave creator kick people from the wave. Not letting the wave creator set even basic editing privileges. Wave didn't fail to take off because it was confusing. It failed to take off because it wasn't even ready for alpha status. They should of spent less time trying to shove it as some sort of email replacement and more time making it at least work.

    • by k1v1n ( 118998 )

      Wave had revision control. You could roll back. It might not have been a perfect implementation but it was there.

      You could create groups, add them to waves, and have them notified through email. It again wasn't that friendly/easy, but it was there.

      You could kick people from a wave. It wasn't there in the early versions but was implemented and working in later revisions.

      You could allow people read and/or read/write capabilities. This too wasn't there in the early versions but was implemented in later revisi

    • ...

      Let me help you out with your why wave failed ...

      It had nothing to do with how well it worked.

      Wave 'failed' because no one found any usefulness to it. It tried to fill a roll that no one needed filled.

      • by k1v1n ( 118998 )

        That wasn't our experience at all. We used the hell out of it, and still do. We'll also be running WiaB. We don't have anything to replace it, and we don't want to go backwards. It absolutely filled a hole that we were needing filled.

      • by Jartan ( 219704 )

        If you think nobody has any use for group collaboration software you are nuts.

    • I agree, Wave is an amazing idea.

      Love it, and would want to work more with it, hope the change makes it easier for people to start picking it apart and doing more cool things with it.

      What's not to love? It's an instant protocol over the web. Wonderful.

  • What did they expect after making those references?

    Now please go and do the impossible. :P

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