[Foundation-l] Google Wave and Wikimedia projects

Tim Starling tstarling at wikimedia.org
Sat May 30 05:13:36 UTC 2009

Milos Rancic wrote:
> Probably, some of you already saw that Google made something for which
> I think that it will be the new form of the mainstream Internet
> perception. You may read Slashdot article [1], a good description at
> the blog "Google Operating System" [2] (not officially connected with
> Google) and, of course, you may see the official site with more than
> one hour of presentation [3].
> I expected such kind of tool (a client connected with others via P2P
> XML-based protocol; with servers for identification). However, I
> didn't expect that i will come so soon, that it will be done by one
> large corporation and that it will be done at the right way: open
> protocol, free software referent implementation.

It's not free software. The blog post says they "intend to open source
the code". That generally means the code quality is so bad that they'd
be embarrassed to make it public, and would like to clean it up to the
point where humans can understand it, but currently they have more
important development priorities and no schedule to do such a thing.

> At the official site they said that it will start to work during this
> year. As one large corporation is behind the project, as well as free
> and open source community is able to participate, I have no doubts
> that it will be implemented all over the Internet (and not just
> Internet) very quickly. Probably, in two years the basic component of
> one modern operating system will not be a Web browser, but a Wave
> client. Probably, Web will become a storage system, while all of the
> interaction will be done via Waves.

Yeah, sure. Like the way Jabber killed proprietary protocols like MSN
and AIM, right? It's been 9 years since the first release now.

The proprietary IM networks will steal the best ideas from Wave and
add their own bit of marketing spin, which somehow, to the hoards of
faithful users, will seem even cooler than what Google Wave can do.
That's assuming they even perceive a threat.

Anyway, I'm putting two years from today into my calendar. We'll see
then whether Wave has taken over the world. I'll post a followup.

> This development of Internet is very strongly related to the Wikimedia projects:
> * I want to be able to edit Wikipedia through the Wave client.
> * I want to add my own notes to articles, history of articles etc.
> * I want to have collection of my knowledge at one place, including
> Wikipedia articles and my notes.
> * I want to be able to make a program which would analyze articles on
> Wikipedia and to give program and/or analysis to my friends.
> * I want many more things to be browsable or editable or whatever from
> a Wave client...
> All of those my (but, in one year, not just my) wishes may be
> fulfilled just through work on MediaWiki and Pywikipediabot. So, I am
> calling all of you who are willing to think about it or who are at the
> position to think about it -- to start with thinking :)

You're assuming that they'll be easier to implement using Wave than
just starting from scratch. Note that their widget things are HTML,
and browsers already have rich text editors. An interactive editor
targeting Wave would be quite similar to an interactive editor
targeting the browser.

Browsers are something Microsoft actually supports and packages with
their OS, unlike federated, open-protocol IM clients, which as we've
seen over the past 9 years, they are not interested in. They've even
discontinued their IRC client.

-- Tim Starling

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