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April 6, 2004

Sakai open-source project releases draft specifications

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Sakai Project has released preliminary specifications for higher education open-source software using JavaServer Faces.

These specifications, called the Sakai Technology Portability Profile, will ensure software being developed will operate across the systems of participating university partners: the University of Michigan, Stanford University, Indiana University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"The release of the Technology Portability Profile marks the beginning of open-source software components that can be connected together to better support campus research and learning," said Joseph Hardin, Sakai Project Board chairman.

The Sakai Project is a joint collaboration and course management system software development project funded by the four universities and supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The specifications are based on the Java programming language. It uses JavaServer Faces for user interface; a technology defined by specifications released in February by Sun Microsystems Java Community Process. The software will also implement OKI Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs) from MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative.

"The Technology Portability Profile represents the consensus of the Sakai developers from the four universities. It is current technology that is sufficiently stable to support the growing number of students on our campuses. The specifications will be reviewed by our partners before it becomes final this summer," said Charles Severance, Sakai Project lead architect.

The Sakai Education Partners Program is a community of colleges and universities who have committed to extending and deploying the Sakai software and integrating it with their own software developments. The program is funded by contributions from the partner schools, and a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The 21 founding colleges and universities are: University of Colorado at Boulder, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Tufts University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Davis, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Merced, University of Cambridge, University of Hawaii, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Yale University.

Other colleges and universities will be able to adopt the technology that will be available in Sakai through forthcoming releases of JA-SIG's uPortal and the Open Source Portfolio Release 2.0 being led by Indiana University.

The Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) is a community of individuals and organizations collaborating on the development of the leading non-proprietary, open-source ePortfolio software available. Its work is also funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based on the Sakai TPP.

The Sakai Technology Portability Profile is available to the public at http://www.sakaiproject.org/tech/sakai_TPP.pdf.

For more information, contact: Bradley Wheeler, Indiana University, (812) 855-3478, bwheeler@indiana.edu or Charles Severance, U-M, (734) 763-3266, csev@umich.edu.

Contact: Joseph Hardin
Phone: (734) 424-9970
E-mail: hardin@umich.edu