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Sakai Foundation Board of Directors Conference Call
February 16, 2006

This document contains minutes from the conference call of the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors held on February 16, 2006. Corrections, suggestions should be sent to Joseph Hardin and Mary Miles.

These minutes capture both the discussion and formal resolutions of the board. Simply because something was discussed does not mean that it is the agreed-upon position of the board. When the board makes a formal resolution to approve an item, it will be noted as such in the minutes. If there is no such notation, readers should assume that the minutes are simply the notes of the board discussions.

Board members present: Joseph Hardin, Brad Wheeler, Ian Dolphin, Mara Hancock, Chris Coppola, Jutta Treviranus, Lois Brooks, John Norman, Mary Miles (staff), Lon Raley (staff)

Topic: Housekeeping Items
The term of the Chair and Vice Chair need to be determined and documented. At an earlier meeting it was decided that these individuals would inherit the terms of the individual members. Joseph will draft a proposal and circulate to the board for a decision.

Topic: Staff Updates
Joseph announced that Peter Knoop would assume the role of Project Coordinator, filling the vacancy left when Mike Elledge left the University. The Board had already been polled on this via email, and unanimously supported the position being filled by Peter. Joseph will make a formal announcement, including the job description very soon.

Lon reviewed the budget update that had been sent to the board in an earlier email. (The budget update is attached as a part of these minutes)

Topic: Project Updates
As this is Integration Week in Indiana, there were no project updates presented. Chuck had sent a message that the OSP project is moving along on target for a mid-March release on Sakai 2.1.2. This will be the first time OSP and Sakai will be aligned in their most current releases. Joseph noted that we should celebrate this as soon as it happens. He encouraged more prominent display of the OSP work on the Sakai website. This would be an advantage to both Sakai and OSP. Joseph continued that the strongest advocates in OSP are also Sakai zealots. Chris reported that there is mild concern among some that OSP may loose their identity as an ePortfolio community. If there is a closer alignment and significance given on the Sakai website, this will eliminate some of the concerns.

Topic: Discussion of JASIG Joint Board Meeting Agenda
Ian reported that the JASIG board is more concerned with getting to know one another than anything else right now. There is still much interest in moving forward with Sakai. In building the agenda for the joint meeting, Ian proposed short presentations on future directions for the coming year, as well as conference coordination and community over the next few years. Other items to be discussed should include EduCore and what it means to the two groups. Joseph noted that a wiki page has been added to the Sakai Foundation Board site and potential agenda items should be included there.

In general, they are interested in obtaining a better understanding of community processes and explore common areas of work. One area for exploration is the point between the enterprise CLE and the enterprise portal so each can understand the other and better leverage the direction of both organizations over the next year or two. Ian continued that JASIG is aware of the UBC Student System planning and this may offer an opportunity to do a bit of brainstorming.

Brad also suggested that since representatives from the Kuali Board and OSP organization were present, that at times this could be considered a Sakai-JASIG-Kuali-OSP meeting. This would allow for a larger conversation when desired. The focus will remain on the Sakai-JASIG relationship.

Topic: Discussion of NYC Agenda
A preliminary agenda for this meeting is also available in the Sakai Foundation Board wiki. The board was encouraged to review this agenda and add items of interest to each of them.

A potential item for discussion is framework and tools direction. What should be the focus over the next 6-9 months? Where do we put our efforts? While part of this is a resource question, that should not be a limiter. If more resources were available, what could be done? This could include everything from asking the commercial partners to write the O'Reilly book to asking someone to help with specific tool work or specific framework assistance. While the board would need to interview people who were offered as sponsored staff, the process can start by making it extremely clear that we need a couple of senior developers and are in the process of looking for those individuals.

Chris noted that everything we do is limited by resources. He felt that the board should define some realistic goals and objectives and then figure out how to resource them. The board's thinking should not be limited to what we currently have. If there are clearly articulated goals for something the board believes in, resources can be found for anything we want to accomplish. He suggested thinking big at the New York meeting and coming up with a strategic plan.

It was noted that Chuck has some real concerns about development streams that are realistic. Part of those are based on the number of resources that are available. Chris stated that the board should challenge themselves to think creatively about the how. One of the top strategic priorities should be for Sakai to become something as simple as Firefox for developers to join and extend.

Chris continued that in terms of China, content is the barrier in their minds. To reach the top 3 emerging markets (China, Brazil, India) the board needs to consider how to work better with publishers in enabling free content.

Ian suggested that the board should also take stock globally. This would include Latin America, as well as the North German activity. It might be useful, before drilling down in China, to determine where we are with regard to these. Jutta asked about the status of Sakai in terms of translation. Chris stated that some of that is a tool by tool discussion. They are currently going through the process of translating Sakai into Chinese, but there are lots of places where it works, and lots of places where it doesn't. The University of Amsterdam is doing a tremendous amount of work on the OSP tools to make it easily translatable with the OSP bundles.

Internationalization work group on Sakai. Lot of work is being done on this.

Joseph added that the board owes JISC a response at the moment in terms of how we view working with them, and the kinds of things we wanted to add to that. He will send around a synoptic document for reading prior to meeting.

Lois reported that she would be meeting with Paul Courant regarding EduCore. Chris commented that based on the interviews EduCore has been conducting, their thinking has evolved significantly from what he understood it to be when they started. EduCore is being very pragmatic and Chris was encouraged abut the direction they are taking. Joseph commented that they have been more focused on what an organization could do to sustain multiple projects through supporting common services for the projects, which is a shift from earlier approach they were taking. The new focus seems to be "we need to learn from the people that have been successful to date to help their existing activities move forward." Chris continued that he is hopeful EduCore will also consider building some best practice type services that can be offered to projects so they don't have to be done independently. This discussion will continue more in New York.

Topic: Other Business
Chris reported on the licensing conversation that is ongoing as a result of implementing some of the licensing practices. In parallel, they are trying to understand the willingness of institutions to enter into agreements with Sakai Foundation to contribute code. The licensing group is also having sidebar conversations with UC schools to test that further. The board needs to decide how to handle issues where schools want to make changes to the agreement. Chris felt that initially the board should respond like the Apache Foundation - they don't make exception, ever. You either sign the contribution agreement, or you don't - with no middle ground.

Mara asked if there was any indication as to the number of issues arising from larger institutions rather than individual institutions. Chris responded that antidotally they have very large contributors like IBM. For any contributor who works for an organization like IBM, they require both because the coverage would not be complete without that. IBM has signed an Apache Contributor Agreement as have many of their employees. The numbers range in the hundreds of thousands. Chris stated that rSmart will execute an organizational agreement and will name people from the organization who are able to commit intellectual property under that agreement.

It is worthwhile to ask some of these questions of someone who can answer them. I'm just repeating some of their practices. Two individuals will also sign covering work for hire (on the job) and anything they might do at night (off the job). That's what Apache requires. In the case of Sakai, the gatekeeper (Glenn) decides whether an individual is granted commit rights to the Sakai SVN repository, making sure that right is granted only if the individual has signed. Joseph noted that the question here is really the enterprise and the part that is included in the bundled software release. He stated that Sakai should require contributor agreements for anyone contributing ANY code. The way Chris understands that is that someone with commit rights could choose to bring in any code that is licensed under a compatible license, whether or not it was ever intended to be part of the Sakai distribution. Sakai has chosen to allow that kind of distribution. The person who puts it in our repository would have had to sign a contribution agreement. Joseph stated that there is an upcoming phone call on Monday with Barnaby to work through some of these things.

Chris' position is that if you can't sign our contribution agreement, you can't have permission to put anything in our repository yourself. Apache is a little more rigid than Sakai. Sakai is already beyond that which is a marked difference than the actual result of the Apache processes. Since Apache doesn't allow anything other than that license to go in their CVS, and since everyone putting anything in the CVS must sign an agreement, every piece of code in the Apache code base is fully licensed. Chris will try and get more detail around that.

Joseph noted that Sakai has empirical evidence that three schools will commit to and sign the current agreement. MIT would not say that their entire patent portfolio would be covered, but did make the patent declarations concerning the software directly related to the project work. The general feeling is that we have to keep talking and find out if 75% of the schools are going to be satisfied with the language before we make any further concessions.

The board gave their concurrence that Chris could proceed with this with some number of schools to get more agreement on this. The preference is for contributors license things under the Sakai Foundation .

With no further business before the board, the call ended at 2:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Miles

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  1. Minutes from Board Conf Call of Feb 16 2006. Budget file is attached.