After Google plugged the life support out of its real-time collaboration tool Wave in August, the open-sourcers' Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has stepped in to give Wave a new lease of life.

Google Wave debuted in June 2009 but died courtesy lack of clarity, as the industry kept guessing as to what exactly was the tool's use. Google halted development of the project in August 2010 citing lack of interest in the tool as a primary reason.

The Apache foundation project for Wave is called Wave in a Box (WIAB), which it says has existed for the past 16 months. It started under the moniker FedOne in July 2009 with an aim to prove that a non-Google iteration of wave could interoperate with Google Wave. Novell and SAP were able to create prototypes of Google Wave which federated with the original code.

The WIAB thus has code supplied by SAP and Novell and also code supplied by Google.

The primary goals of the project are to migrate codebase from the current code repository,, to integrate it with ASF project and to be able to quickly reach a state where WIAB becomes implementable. It also aspires to gain more following to join the The Apache Way.

The WIAB as product is currently a server that hosts and federates waves, supports extensive APIs, and provides a rich web clients.

However, ASF has also attempted to explain Google Wave with an analogy that calls it a mail server with a web client.

Wave combined email, IM and document sharing to allow collaboration in real-time. Each message strand which could include text, images, spreadsheets and links was called a wave. It also allowed users to embed the waves in blogs, wikis and WebPages.

However, the orphaned project has found a savior in ASF but whether it will be able to resuscitate the fortunes of Google Wave, which had few takers like Novell, SAP and US Navy, is subject to how many adopters will join the league.