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The sakai.properties file is a central configuration file that is typically stored in a /sakai subdirectory relative to the Tomcat home directory ($CATALINA_HOME). It is a non-XML text file containing a series of key/value pairs that is read using the load method of java.util.properties. Settings in sakai.properties govern everything from setting your institution's name to configuring your database. All settings in sakai.properties are read on startup; any changes you make subsequently will only take effect when you restart web application server. You may want to create a local.properties file in the same directory as sakai.properties. Properties listed in local.properties override sakai.properties. 

For a source installation the default default.sakai.properties file is located in the config module:

sakai-src/config/configuration/bundles/src/bundle/org/sakaiproject/config/bundle/default.sakai.properties

(warning) The bin package does not include a sakai.properties file. This is a deliberate exclusion; it eliminates the possibility of overwriting a local sakai.properties file if a bin package is opened over an existing Sakai installation.

If you need to override the default settings you must create your own sakai.properties file either from scratch or from a known working copy adding new key/value settings in order to customize your installation. We recommend that you review the default.sakai.properties file included in the source installation or in the appropriate maintenance branch.

The default location for your local sakai.properties file is $CATALINA_HOME/sakai. This folder is not created by Maven during the build and deployment process, so you will have to create it manually or via a script. You can also store Sakai's configuration files outside of your web application server's file hierarchy. For example, in a development environment you may find yourself frequently reinstalling Tomcat and unless you create a build script to automate the Tomcat installation and configuration process avoiding having to recreate $CATALINA_HOME/sakai and sakai.properties each time has its advantages.

To locate your properties file outside of your web application server environment modify the Java startup command or the JAVA_OPTS environment variable and set a system property named sakai.home. Make sure your external location is readable and writable by your web application server.

-Dsakai.home=/path/to/desired/sakai/home/
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  1. Should add location of 10.x sakai.properties, or create a 10.x version of this page.