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December 10, 2004

Is Sakai the Linux or Apache for Higher Ed?

One of the themes of this Sakai Conference, which was proposed at the opening keynote by Brad Wheeler, is that the development of Sakai has the feeling and potential of the Linux movement.

I've been thinking about that all conference, there is a lot of energy and excitement about using Sakai, but the real need is to contribute to testing, discussions, building tools etc. The Linux and Apache projects wouldn't have gotten very far if everyone thought it was a great idea but didn't commit to contribute. In talking to folks here there are some who are anxious to get back and start moving, others express that they are sceptical and nervous and don't want to commit.

As for us at Tufts, we came in thinking this would be something to watch, but we're starting to think that we might reallocate some of our development efforts and contribute to Sakai. The idea is that we would net a lot if we worked on moving parts of our system which aren't features of Sakai. Once our tools work in Sakai we could replace our core with Sakai, and open up umpteen possibilities for collaboration with other schools. In some cases we could get a full-featured tool with little work, like the impressive gradebook tool Berkely has developed. A gradebook has been on our list for a long time, but it's such a monumental task we haven't been willing to commit.

I guess you can't really predict a movement like Linux or Apache, and maybe you jinx a movement by saying "we're going to be a major movement." We'll see in another 6 months, when the Sakai schools gather again, how much has been accomplished.

Posted by mike at December 10, 2004 10:48 AM