EtherPad to become open source as Google changes plans
Google recently acquired AppJet, operator and developer of the online real time collaboration service EtherPad, and announced that it was closing down EtherPad and that the developers were moving to the Google Wave development team.
The response to this plan from EtherPad users was apparently not good and, in a newly announced plan, EtherPad users can continue to use the service while the AppJet developers prepare to open source the code behind the system. AppJet also say that, even though Google Wave does not offer all the functionality that EtherPad offers, they will ensure that EtherPad users get Google Wave Preview invites to allow them to experience Google's collaboration environment.
EtherPad offers near real-time collaboration on documents, with updates happening as often as twice a second. This makes it a very responsive system which avoided many of the contention problems, such as deletions of text while others are editing, that can be an issue when collaborating. EtherPad focusses on plain text, with basic formatting (bold/italic/underline/strikethrough) and indentation with rapid feedback, whereas Google Wave allows richer text and embedded objects in its shared documents, but uses a deferred synchronisation mechanism to keep users up to date.