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Do you know some free alternatives to Google Wave to collaborate with other people on discussions/projects. They should provide at minimum the following features:

  • Create private discussions
  • Invite people to discussions
  • Possibility to edit other users posts
  • Simple text formatting (bold, italic, colored font)
  • Notifications
  • Track changes since last visit

Additional nice and welcome features are:

  • Insert polls
  • Share documents (editing capabilities would be great)
  • Share images
  • Share attachments

UPDATE BOUNTY: Now that Google has announced to abandon Google Wave project, I really need an alternative.

UPDATE FREE: Free means that spend money on hosting a script/software is not a solution for me.

UPDATE REQS: I removed sharing of images/attachments/documents from minimum requirements.

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Is using Google Apps for your domain out of the question? –  Myles Braithwaite Jun 30 '10 at 22:51
@Myles Using google apps how? –  OscarRyz Jun 30 '10 at 23:32
Maybe you should be looking at a combination of products, I know a few products that combined together will do everything, but not a single one that does everything. Even Google Wave didn't do all of this. –  mbillard Aug 12 '10 at 17:58
Just install a wiki? There is nothing more corabolative than a wiki... –  rightfold Aug 14 '10 at 6:16
Are you looking for just the server, or a good front end as well? Since the client isn't open sourced that tends to be what people are looking for more than the server side itself. –  Agent_9191 Aug 18 '10 at 5:12

19 Answers 19

Google Wave's source code is open so you could install it on a server and use it for yourself.

If you are willing to use a combination of products, here's what's available for you (there are other options, but these will do):

  • TypeWith.me for dicsussions/text document editing (as suggested by 3rdparty) or Campfire if editing other people's post is not mandatory
  • Dropbox for sharing any other types of documents (images, binaries, etc.), you can even track modifications with their web app

If you truly want to track modifications on documents, bitbucket (1 free private repository) or GitHub (free if everything is public) work well and both provide a good web UI. The downside is that you and your collaborators need to learn to use Mercurial or Git (depending on which one you use).

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Except that is only the server and protocol. It doesn't seem to include the webapp part. –  Zoredache Aug 9 '10 at 18:27
Indeed, it seems they never open-sourced the client-server code, only the "messaging service". –  mbillard Aug 9 '10 at 18:44

You can use Google docs for that.

The discussion part wouldn't be as we are use to, but you can create a document and share ideas over there.

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Google docs even has wave's instant editing now –  Casebash Jul 1 '10 at 12:03
@Casebash: Yeap, you can see how is typing what instantaneously. –  OscarRyz Jul 1 '10 at 15:50

As the founder of pligus, I would agree with thunderror and invite everyone here to try it: http://pligus.com

The main differences and improvements is that you share your screen and draw or comment an image together. Also, pligus has videoconference, which makes the communication part much better :)

I am open for questions and feedbacks. You all can talk to me right here or at gustavo@pligus.com

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I'm not sure how good this is, but I guess it comes pretty close: Pligus

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Off the top of my head I know of at least three. Search for the following:

  • FedOne
  • PyGoWave
  • Ruby on Sails

Update 2010-11-26: Google are rapidly freeing the Wave code in the form of Wave In A Box.

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What about hosting your own EtherPad install?

If that's scary, try:

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EtherPad installation would require an hosting that I don't have. Sync.in is free only for public discussions. Typewith.me seems to allow only public discussion too, or I was not able to find how to create a private one. –  Drake Aug 14 '10 at 10:34

Have you tried Zenbe Shareflow?

They provide 1GB free storage.

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Above the apps and links given in the thread linked by Alex, here is an excerpt of some information given by Google in the mail they sent to every former user of Google Wave:

If you would like to continue using Wave, there are a number of open source projects, including Apache Wave. There is also an open source project called Walkaround that includes an experimental feature that lets you import all your Waves from Google. This feature will also work until the Wave service is turned off on April 30, 2012.

For more details, please see our help center.

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PyGoWave is one of the most promising free clones right now. Emphasis on "promising"; the functionality offered is currently pretty basic. It looks like it's easier to set up than Google's Wave offerings, though.

Alternatively, if you want something that works now and you mostly used Google Wave as a persistent online chatroom, Anologue is great. It doesn't have an inbox, contact list, allow editing of existing posts, or support threading. But it works really, really well as as substitute for chatting on Wave. It's open source too, so you can add an inbox and hook into Google contacts if you have the skillz.

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Check out Flowdock. It should be able to match your requirements.

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I'm guessing the only reason you can't use the public and free Google Wave is because you need some sort of behind the firewall, on premise hosting solution.

If you need Google Wave like functionality inside a firewall or for some other reason can't use the public server, you can run the prototype implementation of the FedOne server. It doesn't have a slick web interface (or any web interface at all last time I checked) but it gives you the functionality if you need it on your own network, you'll just need to create your own interfaces as you need them, but it is free.

Novell is creating Pulse to bring Wave into the enterprise, which will be available for on premise deployment, but of course won't be free.

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You can try Glasscubes which is free.

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Free but only for 2 users and 2 workspaces. Too less –  Drake Aug 10 '10 at 15:56

Maybe the 37signals product line could answer your needs ? In particular, Campfire allow to share text, files, and code in real time.

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HyperOffice is an option, considering your needs. You can collaboratively edit content using wikis. Plus you can upload and share documents and images. You also get calendars to manage schedules. But its not really a Wave alternative per se, because the key differentiating feature of Wave was real time co authoring.

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We think that Wave is a great idea and at this moment we are developing a FREE collaboration tool called #rizzoma, which will have similar functionality.

Code patricianly based on WIAB. We already have an alfa-version here. A stable version with good-looking interface will be available in January.

Project address is http://rizzoma.com/ now. It has requested features (except inserting polls) plus export from Google Wave.

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Yep, Google wave is free and is now available for everyone! (In the US)

But just to give you an alternative, you could try Open Wonderland. Its different than Google Wave, but supports your minimum feature set.

Open Wonderland is a 100% Java open source toolkit for creating collaborative 3D virtual worlds. Within those worlds, users can communicate with high-fidelity, immersive audio, share live desktop applications, and collaborate in an education, business, or government context. Wonderland is completely extensible; developers and graphic artists can extend its functionality to create entirely new worlds and add new features to existing worlds.

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And I thought Second Life is gone... –  neo Aug 8 '10 at 13:04

I haven't found suitable alternatives to Wave yet, but these are two solutions that have open-source community editions and could be expanded upon:



I am hoping they open the source on the Google Wave webapp, and that we see Wave live on through individually hosted servers.

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A service you might want to check out is drop.io. They say it's "Simple real-time sharing, collaboration, and more.". Not quite the same as Google Wave, but similar. They also have an API, so you could probably make something like very similar to Google Wave. I think what they have already is most of what you are looking for.

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You can try Teambox, there's also source code available.

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While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  Dez Oct 25 '12 at 3:10

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