Before the product is even officially launched, Google has announced the availability under an open source licence of two major chunks of it's next-generation Wave communications platform.

The Wave platform – which has been generating quite a bit of buzz since its unveiling at the Google I/O developer conference – is currently only open to a selected number of developers, but despite not being due for general release until “later this year” the company is encouraging development by releasing two big portions of its source code.

As announced on the Google Wave Developer Blog – via The Register – the company has released the code behind the Operational Transform base along with a simple prototype of a Wave-compatible client/server application, both written in Java and representing nearly 40,000 lines of code.

The Operational Transform code is described by the company as the “heart and soul of the collaborative experience in Google Wave” and has revealed that the released code will, hopefully, “evolve into the production-quality reference implementation” of the technology behind Wave.

Interestingly, development on the product is so rapid that the OT code available on the company's website is “actually ahead of the algorithm implemented in [Google's] servers in production.

Both chunks of code have been released to the open source community under the Apache 2.0 licence, and the documentation and protocol specification is offered under a Creative Commons licence.

Can you see any drawback for Google, or is the offering of the crown jewels under open source licences simply the software development technique of the future? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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