Analysts increasingly recognize Open Source

There’s a nice story on The Open Road about the increasing recognition major technology industry analysts (IDC, Forrester, Gartner) are paying to open source.  It’s worth a read.


Sakai Release Process Proposal

Clay Fenlason, the newly installed Sakai Product Manager, has been busy. Following conversations at the 10th Sakai Conference, he has drafted a release process proposal, which focuses on the release process for 2.x over the next 10-12 months. From an email on July 24th, Clay says:

My plan is to continue to develop/refine this proposal with comment from the community over the course of the next week, and if no ‘blocker’ disagreements emerge in discussion, I will act to coordinate the ‘Next Steps’ laid out in the proposal fairly quickly. Some of the details in the proposal can be revised as we go, but I’m eager to get started and allow as much time as possible to follow through on its aims, so I’ll urge eveyone to take a close look and offer up questions and comment as soon as they can.

If you’re interesed in this I encourage you to get your comments out on list (or in wiki or to Clay directly) by the end of this week (August 2!). Feedback is certainly welcome after that point, but Clay plans to start working on the “Next Steps” next week.

Proposed Sakai Foundation By-law Changes

The Sakai Foundation Board of Directors is proposing two changes to the existing by-laws. To change the by-laws we need to circulate the proposed changes to the community for 30 days of commentary. In addition, for one of the changes we need approval of the Sakai Foundation Membership.

You can read all about the changes and the process for approving them on our wiki.

To briefly summarize:

  • Change 1: To stop requiring that the board to approve/appoint the conference program chair. Even if the Board wants to do this it is an operational issue and shouldn’t be in the bylaws.
  • Change 2: To allow the Board to appoint up to 2 individuals to the board. Today, every Board member is elected. We’d like to flexibility to recruit expertise from outside the community (e.g. financial expertise).
  • Process: After a 30-day period of commentary, the Board and the Membership would officially approve these changes and new by-laws would be filed with the State of Michigan.  The particular details of Membership voting will be announced at a later time.  The goal is to have this completed by the end of October in time for the next round of Sakai Board elections.

Feel free to add your comments to the wiki page or discuss this on the management email list.  You can join the management list here.

End game in Bb-D2L patent fight?

So Blackboard has lost another battle in its patent war with Desire2Learn. The original patent claims been invalidated by the USPTO and the courts and yet, at the same time, there are still four other fronts open (see the good summary on D2L patent blog).

As things move forward, the question increasingly becomes “what is Blackboard hoping to accomplish?”  It seems to me there are only a few possibilities:

  1. Blackboard thinks it will be victorious and this will be a good investment of shareholder resources.
  2. Bb wants to damage D2L specifically. Although they may not make back their investment in the legal action, they feel it is worth it to make a smaller competitor spend scare financial resources on legal action instead of product development, sales or marketing.
  3. They believe that D2L has deliberately violated their valid intellectual property and, regardless of the expense to Bb shareholders, think it is worth fighting in the courts to prove that and defend themselves.
  4. They want to intimidate the others in the industry in some way.

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Sakai 2.6.0 Released!

I’m very pleased to announce that Sakai 2.6.0 is now officially available! Source, binary and demo distributions are available for download. For more information on what’s included in the release, see the release summary (in powerpoint) and the documentation page (in its fancy new format!).

This release is the second time we’ve taken Sakai through a revised process we originally put in place for 2.5. This process took the release through several beta and release candidate stages. While there will always be bugs in large complicated software packages like Sakai, we’re certain that the extra effort an attention that the community put into this process has resulted in a significantly higher quality release. In fact this process caused some significant delays to the release date as we found important bugs that needed to be fixed before the software was released (more on this below).

Also note that our release guidelines state that we will support the 2.6.0 release by producing maintenance releases for approximate 2 years.  And we support one major release back as well, so 2.5 will continue to get maintenance releases at least until 2.7 is available. The goal of the policy is to allow organizations to stay with the same version of Sakai for 2 academic years without needing to upgrade or follow the maintenance branch. The particulars details of how we manage this may change, but that’s the goal.

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Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award (TWSIA)

Last year the Sakai Teaching and Learning Community establiblished the Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award (TWSIA). This year the second set of winners were announced at the 10th Sakai Conference in Boston. A big thanks go to the award sponsors: IBM, rSmart and John Wiley & Sons.  The Sakai Foundation also provides financial support to bring the winners to the conference. You can read more details in the official press release.

The first and second place winners presented as keynotes on Thursday morning. We recorded their presentations and it is definitely worth watching them if you weren’t able to attend the conference. Here is the list of all four winners:

First Place

Dr. Andrea Crampton
Course: Introduction To Forensic Science
Charles Sturt University
Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Second Place

Dr. Edith Sheffer
Course: Germany and the World Wars, 1870-1990
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Honorable Mentions

Cherry Stewart
Course: Design Reflective and Interactive eLearning: Online Professional Development in Sakai
University of New England
Armidale, NSW Australia

Dr. Mark Van Dyke
Course: Spring 2008 Public Relations Case Studies; Fall 2008 Communication Capstone
Marist College
Poughkeepsie, NY

10th Sakai Conference Highlights

Sakai Boston LogoI just got back to Berkeley after an amazing week in Boston at the 10th Sakai Conference. It was an exhausting week for me, starting with Project Cooridnation meetings on Monday, a Sakai Foundation Board meeting on Tuesday, the Newcomer’s Reception Tuesday evening, the main conference and associated receptions and dinners from Wednesday – Friday and a post-conference Project Coordination meeting on Saturday.  Then the long flight from BOS-SFO on Sunday morning (what good does it do to be Premiere Executive on United if you get stuck in the back of the plane next to someone playing Brain Age on her DS for literally the entire 6 hour flight).

But more than exhausting it was exhilirating. I don’t know if you had the same feeling, but I felt an exceptionaly amount of energy and enthusiasm at the conference. Why was that?

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