Open source saves technology, just ask users of the technology formerly known as Google Wave.
Wave is now set to get a second life, under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation. Back in August, Google killed its Wave project, which had been in operation since May of 2009. With Google Wave and its associated Wave Federation Protocol (WFP) , the promise initially was all about creating a new way to help enable collaboration.
Wave is now set to become part of the Apache Incubator for new projects, which could lead to greater adoption and use of Wave.
"By shifting the project under Apache, friction is lowered and support will grow for WFP becoming the way inter-company collaboration is done," Ian Roughley, Novell Vibe Architect told InternetNews.com. "As more organizations leverage the Apache Wave code-base, weaving it into existing and new products, the more federation partners there will be, which benefits the community as a whole."
Novell is leveraging the WFP as part of its Vibe collaboration platform, which is now in beta. Even without an Apache project, Novell had been able to use WFP, as the core protocol is all available in open source.
As an Apache project, Novell will be able to expand its collaboration and contributions to Wave.
"We'll have access to the newest code and be able to provide more input on the design and development of the technology," Roughley said.
Roughley added that Novell is seeing interest in the Wave standard and technology, not just from Novell, but also from other organizations who are including it in products. That said, Roughley noted that Novell has a vested interest in the direction of both the standards and the features that come out of Apache Wave.
"Novell has worked closely with Google, and we see that relationship continuing forward with both the Google employees that continue on with Apache Wave, as well new contributors on the Apache Wave project," Roughley said.
As to why Novell sees promise in Wave, it's all about empowering collaboration. According to Roughley, Wave is a powerful way to seamlessly collaborate on rich documents across an organization in real-time.
Wave and its adoption do face challenges, however. For one, Roughley stressed that there also needs to be a business reason to deploy products using the technology. Otherwise, organizations will stick with older tools that don't have real-time editing capabilities and/or social messaging innovations.
"Additionally, a challenge is articulating clearly explained use-cases that make sense and differentiate Apache Wave from other options," Roughley said.
As an example, Roughley said that Novell uses Vibe as a key collaboration tool. He noted that Novell tends to use Vibe instead of email, IRC, Twitter, IM or file sharing.
"It can be used to propagate information, for direct communication, as well as group/forum communication," Roughley said. "The challenge: when asked what can it be used for, it’s easy to say 'everything,' which makes it hard when trying to show specific use-cases for the solution."