A bit more than a month ago, we announced that our Spark instant messaging client was going Open Source. I'm pleased to announce that the code is now availabe in SVN. An official binary release of Spark 2.0.0 will follow in several weeks after we've had a chance to iron out bugs and add several additional minor features.

 

Converting a product to Open Source is no small task. The biggest time investment ended up being replacement of the commercial libraries we were using. For example, we had embedded the excellent JIDE library for UI features in the contact list and for managing tabs in chats. JIDE also has an Open Source version under the GPL, but because Spark is being released as LGPL there was a license mis-match. The best solution ended up being re-writing the components ourselves (Derek is particularly proud of how the tab component ended up). Because our components are more specialized than JIDE's, side benefits of the switch include faster UI rendering and shaving off more than a MB from the Spark download size. Despite the conversion work, there were a few commercial libraries there we just weren't ready to give up yet such as the spell checking.  Our solution was to move that code into Spark plugins -- that way the core of Spark can stay Open Source, while we'll ship a few free plugins that can't be Open Source.

 

There's been a ton of other activity from the IM team over the past couple of weeks. We launched an updated look for jivesoftware.org at the beginning of the week. It's the first step in a series of big improvements we'll be making to the site over the coming months. Today, we released minor updates for Wildfire 3.0 and Wildfire Enterprise 3.0 (the commercial edition of Wildfire). The reaction to both editions has been great so far. If you haven't already tried them, I'd encourage you to do so. Finally, we've started discussions about what's coming in the 3.1 release of the server. If you have ideas for what should be next with Wildfire and Spark, we'd love to hear from you.