What Apache Wave means and does not mean

Google is waving bye-bye, and the question is whether Apache can breathe life into it.

The idea that the failed Google Wave project is going into the Apache Incubator in the form of a proposal sounds like good news.

How big a piece of news it is depends on you.

For those who don't recall, Google Wave was a real-time collaboration project announced in 2009.

The idea was to merge key features of e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking. Formally released in May, it was suspended in August.

Google ran Wave up the flagpole and not enough people saluted.

The Apache proposal, initially edited by Google employees, claims an active community with nine discussions currently open and over 5,500 messages. But all that has to be off Google Groups by January 13.

The idea of moving to Apache has been under active discussion since a Google Wave summit meeting November 12 in San Francisco. At that time project manager Don Peterson blogged about progress in creating "Wave in a Box," a complete implementation of the protocol. The full proposal came together over 10 days.

Among the active participants in the current discussion is Google director David Wang, "the man who hacked the iPhone," who suggested a stable build be developed as part of the move to Apache. CORRECTION: The Apache folks note I got my Wang wrong. The right Wang is based in Australia.

Another active participant in the discussions has been Torben Weis, who teaches computer architecture at a university in Essen, Germany. He has been working on HTTP transport issues regarding the proposed Federation Protocol.

The point is that while this appears to be an active and viable project right now, its future depends on gaining support from more talented programmers within the Apache framework, rather than directly at Google.

Google is waving bye-bye, and the question is whether Apache can breathe life into it.

Can that happen? Certainly. Will it happen? It's not guaranteed.

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