Daily Archives: March 7, 2011

(Book) The Battle for Sakai: A Retrospective Diary (0.0.2)

I finished version 0.0.2 of my book titled, “The Battle for Sakai: A Retrospective Diary”. The book is now 230 pages long and covers the time period through December 31, 2006. I am now going to print the book and send copies to a few reviewers for comment and see where I go from there. The book feels much more complete then the 0.0.1 version of the book, even though the last words in the book are “To be continued…”. :)


Writing software that supports teaching, learning and collaboration is far more than just a job. Since teaching and learning are some of the most fundamental human activities, we all have a vested interest in teaching and learning software. Discussions about the design of teaching and learning software can evoke passions from virtually everyone involved in the process. Passions run high and the stakes are high. On most college campuses, the software to support teaching and learning (Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, etc.) is used more often than any other campus software. Student and teacher lives revolve around the software. A significant outage of a course management system in the last few weeks of class is likely to produce howls of anger from students, teachers, and administrators alike.

Building an open source product and community around the Sakai Learning Management System was far from a mere technical activity. In retrospect, the technical problems were relatively mild challenges compared to the challenges of so many people being brought together as a community where we generally made the rules as we went along. This book is about that journey of making open source software and deriving and changing the rules as to how we would make that software as we went along. It is about software developers, managers, designers, and end users all dropped into a crucible and put under pressure to make something great and do so in record time.

This book is about that battle for Sakai.

Charles Severance
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
March 6, 2010

Table of Contents

1   Before Sakai                            1 
2   Forming the Sakai Coalition            11 
3   The Sakai Project Begins               19 
4   The First Summer of Sakai              31 
5   The Big Meeting                        39
6   The Little Project That Could          45 
7   Framework II - The Sequel              49 
8   The Devil is in the Details            59 
9   Sakai 2.0: A Star is Born              81 
10  Lost in Transition                     91 
11  The Great Beyond                      107 
12  Finishing on a High Note              123 
13  Beyond the Mellon Grant               133 
14  Sakai Foundation Executive Director?  147 
15  Onwards, Upwards, and Down Under      155
16  V-Day                                 173 
17  Family “Vacation” Time                179 
18  Educational Community License         187 
19  U.S. Patent No. 6,988,138             203 
20  The Fall                              209 
21  The Winter                            227

If you want more updates on the book, follow me (@drchuck) on Twitter or come back to my blog again. I hope to have the book for sale in both electronic and hard-copy by May of this year.