Jasig and Sakai Release Merger-Related Documentation for Review and Comment

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Josh Baron

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Apr 2, 2012, 1:00:05 PM4/2/12
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Colleagues,

The Jasig-Sakai Joint Working Group and the Apereo Founding Board are pleased to be able to share with our communities and the larger public a series of important documents related to the proposed merger between our two organizations. Although some of these documents have been released in the past in earlier versions, all of them contain new and updated information. We are also releasing, for the first time, the proposed Transitional Apereo Membership Fee Structure that will allow current members to understand how their membership fees will be affected by the merger if it is approved. Below is a brief list of each of the documents being released today.

As announced recently, we are releasing these materials in advance of a planned membership vote on the merger as means to allow our members to better understand the rationale for merging, the value we believe it will bring to our work, and the benefits we hope to derive from it over the long term. We are also hoping that these materials will stimulate a broader discussion across and between the Jasig and Sakai communities about the merger and would like to encourage everyone to post your questions, comments and concerns to the previously established Jasig-Sakai Collaboration Google Group (see
http://groups.google.com/group/jasig-sakai-collaboration).

JASIG-SAKAI MERGER-RELATED DOCUMENTATION

(1) Proposed Transitional Apereo Membership Fee Structure - This document will provide the history, rationale and details associated with the initial membership fee structure that is being proposed for the new organization. Both the Jasig and Sakai Board of Directors endorsed this plan
.

(2) The Value of a Common Foundation: A Case of Apereo - This is the third public release of this "living" document which discusses the rationale and benefits associated with the merger and has been updated to reflect prior comments and concerns from our communities.


(3) Updated Apereo Bylaws - This final draft of the bylaws has been updated significantly since its initial release in August 2011 and has also been endorsed by both the Jasig and Sakai Boards
.

(4) Jasig-Sakai Merger FAQ - We have developed an FAQ based on the questions and issues that our communities have raised over the past year and will continue to add to it as additional questions are posed.


All of these documents can now be found on the Apereo web site (
http://www.apereo.org) although it should noted that this basic web site is simply being used at this point as a convenient place to host these files (as opposed to duplicating them on our current web sites) and is not intended to "brand" or market Apereo nor suggest that the merger is in anyway finalized.

Within the next week a series of webinars will be scheduled to provide opportunities for "live" interactions with Jasig and Sakai Board members.  Another email will be posted once the schedule is finalized with information on how to register.

-----------------------------
Joshua Baron
Senior Academic Technology Officer
Marist College
Poughkeepsie, New York  12601
(845) 575-3623 (work)
Twitter: JoshBaron

Steve Swinsburg

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Apr 2, 2012, 6:44:08 PM4/2/12
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Hello,

Is there any possibility of having a lower tier for the SCA fees? The
lowest threshold is currently $200K. This may entice very small
consultancies to be able to become SCAs (i.e. those with one or two
people)

cheers,
Steve

On Apr 3, 3:00 am, Josh Baron <Josh.Ba...@marist.edu> wrote:
> Colleagues,
>
> The Jasig-Sakai Joint Working Group and the Apereo Founding Board are
> pleased to be able to share with our communities and the larger public a
> series of important documents related to the proposed merger between our
> two organizations. Although some of these documents have been released in
> the past in earlier versions, all of them contain new and updated
> information. We are also releasing, for the first time, the proposed
> Transitional Apereo Membership Fee Structure that will allow current
> members to understand how their membership fees will be affected by the
> merger if it is approved. Below is a brief list of each of the documents
> being released today.
>
> As announced recently, we are releasing these materials in advance of a
> planned membership vote on the merger as means to allow our members to
> better understand the rationale for merging, the value we believe it will
> bring to our work, and the benefits we hope to derive from it over the
> long term. We are also hoping that these materials will stimulate a
> broader discussion across and between the Jasig and Sakai communities
> about the merger and would like to encourage everyone to post your
> questions, comments and concerns to the previously established Jasig-Sakai
> Collaboration Google Group (seehttp://groups.google.com/group/jasig-sakai-collaboration).

Josh Baron

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Apr 3, 2012, 7:17:34 PM4/3/12
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Steve,

Thanks for the question and suggestion.

The JGW/Founding Board did discuss this when drafting the current proposal but based on your note I will make sure we revisit it on our next call and discuss it more (and then update then list).  This said, it would be useful to discuss this a bit on list now and also hear from others.

Let me share what I recall our thinking was as we discussed this issue....

We talked about the current Jasig affiliates program which is designed for the smaller consultancies and how to best support this group in the new organization.  This ended up resulting in the current lowest tier of 0 - $200k which we thought would reflect the revenue range for small 1-2 person companies. I should note that there was also a lot of support to adjust fees for groups outside the US but there is complexity there and thus, for now, we have not included that in our proposed plan.  I am noting this as we recognize that the range may not reflect the revenue of a typical small company outside the US which is something we need to address over time (currently, neither organization factors this into fees).  

Although the $1000 fee for commercial affiliates in this revenue range is, I believe, an increase over what Jasig currently charges for "affiliates" it seemed warranted given some of the other factors mentioned in the Transitional Fee Structure document (e.g. Inflation) and because it was lower than prior Sakai fees.   This said, there was also support to allow the Executive Director of the new foundation to make case-by-case decisions regarding fees (as happens on occasion today) and thus if there was a small company that could not pay at this level there is room for flexibility and discretion on the part of the ED.

Again, though, more discussion and input on this would be useful.

Josh

-----------------------------
Joshua Baron
Senior Academic Technology Officer
Marist College
Poughkeepsie, New York  12601
(845) 575-3623 (work)
Twitter: JoshBaron




Carroll, Tim

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Apr 3, 2012, 7:25:12 PM4/3/12
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This is how I recall the discussion ending as well.  I still support this notion.  Ultimately, the ED has discretion.  If a discount is warranted in this case, they can negotiate that with the ED.

From: Josh Baron <Josh....@marist.edu>
Reply-To: <jasig-sakai-...@googlegroups.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2012 19:17:34 -0400
To: <jasig-sakai-...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: Jasig and Sakai Release Merger-Related Documentation for Review and Comment

Steve,

Thanks for the question and suggestion.

The JGW/Founding Board did discuss this when drafting the current proposal but based on your note I will make sure we revisit it on our next call and discuss it more (and then update then list).  This said, it would be useful to discuss this a bit on list now and also hear from others.

Let me share what I recall our thinking was as we discussed this issue....

We talked about the current Jasig affiliates program which is designed for the smaller consultancies and how to best support this group in the new organization.  This ended up resulting in the current lowest tier of 0 - $200k which we thought would reflect the revenue range for small 1-2 person companies. I should note that there was also a lot of support to adjust fees for groups outside the US but there is complexity there and thus, for now, we have not included that in our proposed plan.  I am noting this as we recognize that the rangemay not reflect the revenue of a typical small company outside the US whichis something we need to address over time (currently, neither organization factors this into fees).  

Although the $1000 fee for commercial affiliates in this revenue range is, I believe, an increase over what Jasigcurrently charges for "affiliates" it seemed warranted given some of the other factors mentioned in the Transitional Fee Structure document (e.g. Inflation) and because it was lower than prior Sakai fees.   This said, there was also support to allow the Executive Director of the new foundation to make case-by-case decisions regarding fees (as happens on occasion today) and thus if there was a small company that could not pay at this level there is room for flexibility and discretion on the part of the ED.

Chris Coppola

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Apr 5, 2012, 10:04:03 AM4/5/12
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Sakai and Jasig communities,

We appreciate the open dialog about the potential merger between the Sakai Foundation and Jasig and our respective communities. 

rSmart has reviewed the available materials and we do not believe that this merger is in the best interest of Sakai at this time. We have been an active community source contributor since 2003 when we helped start the Open Source Portfolio Initiative which now serves as Sakai’s portfolio capabilities. Since then, rSmart has contributed across the Sakai platform and community, and now partners with over 50 institutions using Sakai. We are members of both the Sakai and Kuali Foundations.

As a Sakai Foundation member, and direct contributor to the Sakai CLE and OAE projects, we are very enthusiastic about the way these projects are serving the education community—and about how these open technologies are empowering students and educators. We also know that there is much to do. We believe that the best way to maximize the success of these projects is for the full effort of our community—including leadership and Foundation resources—to be very focused on growing membership, growing adoption, and supporting the efforts of these projects. We do not believe that a merger at this time better supports this important priority.

rSmart will vote no on the merger.

In principle we believe that aggregating higher education’s resources to better serve our communities is a sound strategy. We appreciate the effort that has gone into evaluating the potential for Sakai and Jasig to merge and create more value for both communities. We don’t, however, believe that this merger will be positive for the Sakai community at this crucial time. The potential economies of scale seem to be very limited, and it is our conclusion that this is because the projects Sakai and Jasig are supporting are simply too different to achieve those economies. Different licenses will limit the value of common IP management practices, for example. A shared community conference may be of some value, but this can be achieved without a merger. We’ve done this more than once under the Community Source Week title going back to 2006 if memory serves. 

Chris Coppola
Chief Executive Officer, rSmart
Director, Kuali Foundation Board of Directors
Former Vice Chair, Sakai Foundation Board of Directors

David C Ackerman

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Apr 6, 2012, 2:03:34 PM4/6/12
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Chris:

I thought we already heard one Kuali vote against the merger.  Does Kuali get two votes?  :-)

Regards,
David

p.s. NYU will soon come out strongly in favor of the merger.  Oops, I guess I just did!  I should
disclose that in addition to my graduate degree in computer science, I have an MBA in financial
management.  This merger will create financial advantages for a stronger combined organization.

Chris Coppola

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Apr 6, 2012, 2:33:39 PM4/6/12
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Just to be clear... that was not a vote from Kuali... As far as I know Kuali isn't a member of Sakai. :-)

I'm eager to hear more about the financial advantage.

Chris.
--
Chris Coppola, CEO

David C Ackerman

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Apr 10, 2012, 11:25:13 AM4/10/12
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a) More Efficient Deployment of Staff Resources - A combined organization will allow us to better allocate our deliberately limited staff resources towards key foundation roles such as coordination, communication, and quality assurance.
b) Holding a Combined Annual Conference - A combined annual conference will provide cost savings for both organizers and participants through economies of scale. It will also help to promote cross project collaboration and synergy.
c) Consolidating “Back Office” Operations - By centralizing our accounting, billing and administrative functions we will be able to reduce expenditure on a range of operational costs.
d) Consolidating our Technology Infrastructure - We expect to see cost savings and increased synergies from moving towards a common suite of centrally hosted communication and coordination tools.
e) Shared Leadership and Vision – A single board of directors, along with a single executive director, will help to integrate community support structures, grow synergies between projects, and act as advocates for educational software and support communities from a strategic systems perspective instead of a single product perspective.

Josh Baron

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Apr 11, 2012, 7:05:25 PM4/11/12
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Chris,

I very much appreciate you taking the time consider the merger and post this message.  I have a great respect for the work you have personally done for Sakai over the years as well as the many significant contributions made by rSmart in general and very much value your input.   I'm going to take some time to comment on some of the points you've raised and share my perspectives.  I realize that this is a long posting but wanted to take the opportunity to share my own perspectives on some key issues that I thought might be of interest to a large audience.  I should also note that my comments here are from me and not any larger body....I'm only mentioning this as I've not taken the time to have others review drafts, etc. of my comments.

I think that one of the core differences in our perspectives relates to the perceived value of the merger to our two communities and from where this value may (or may not) be derived.  I am therefore going to split my comments into two major categories, first I'll discuss some of the more "near-term" benefits, particularly those that relate of finances, and then discuss some of the longer-term strategic benefits which are a bit less tangible but which are key reasons I've been supporting the merger plans.

So, first, the near-term benefits.  We will see cost savings from basic economies of scale as we consolidate "back office" operations (invoicing, accounting, etc., consolidate our technology infrastructure (JIRA, Confluence, web site) and hold a combined annual conference.  These are rather straightforward so I won't comment on them more here (but we could dialog more in replies) except to note that although I agree with you that holding a combined annual conference could be done without the merger, it would greatly simplify the process from an accounting and administrative perspective, which I recognize is a rather mundane benefit that some may not appreciate unless you were directly involved in this aspect of the conference work, but a factor in noting this as a value associated with the merger.  One might also consider the reasons why there hasn't been a "community source week" in many years.  But again, what I've mentioned first here are near-term benefits which I think represent real value but I'm not suggesting that they are the most significant.

I think a more significant near-term benefit will come from more efficient deployment of staff resources.  Today, Sakai and Jasig both have Executive Directors who often split their time between some of the important priorities you mentioned -  growing membership, growing adoption, and supporting the efforts of [community] projects - they work tremendously hard at this and have done a stellar job at it but there is often a "tension" between focusing time "internally" on community needs versus an "external" focus on growing membership and adoption (which becomes a bigger challenge as we've become a global organization).  Again, I want to stress here that this is not the result of staff not working hard enough or being capable enough (anyone who has worked with any of the EDs knows that is not the case) but more about there being too much work and too many priorities for one person to focus on effectively all the time.  I believe that the merger (if approved) will bring significant value by allowing the Foundation to deploy staff in more efficient ways that could avoid "stretching" them across multiple priorities.  For example, one position might be more internally focused awhile the other more externally.  Over time, I am optimistic that resources would also be available to add more staffing around other priorities as well.

I've highlighted these "near-term" values in part because you've expressed interest in understanding the financial benefits of the merger.  I think some of what I've highlighted, particularly in the first paragraph, have fairly direct financial benefit derived through cost savings.  The staffing efficiencies I've discussed in the second paragraph, I believe, will also result in financial benefit but through less direct paths such as growing membership and adoption over time and improving the "products" produced by our communities.  I do certainly recognize that realizing these financial benefits, particularly through increasing membership and adoption, will depend significantly on our ability to execute "post-merger" but I think that dependency exists in every strategic initiative we pursue, whether it be the merger, OAE, OSP, etc.  I personally have great confidence in our combined communities efforts to execute on these but recognize that this could be debated.

I want to conclude by talking a bit about the longer-term strategic benefits which I think will bring even more value to our work but which are a bit less tangible.

Going into our first formal meeting with Jasig in September of 2010 I was not convinced that a merger was necessarily the right thing but left with a very different perspective.  As we discuss a range of issues that day and honestly asked some difficult questions of each other I began to realize that at a strategic level the two organizations were facing the same challenges as well as opportunities.  We had both encountered fiscal challenges related to the 2008 economic downturn and the resulting impact on higher education budgets and were working to understand how to develop long-term sustainable funding models.  We were both working to better understand how to "incubate" or mentor new projects and move them into stable maintenance modes over time.  We were both working to better understand the spectrum of development and governance models and how to best support communities as they might shift from one to another as their project matured.   We were both making progress but wanting to further close the "gap" between end users and designer and developers.  And, like many open source projects, were trying to increase awareness of open source solutions among institutional decision makers as viable alternatives.  It was also clear that in many cases one of the two organizations had more understanding from which the other could benefit (e.g. Jasig's efforts to introduce an incubation process had met with more success than Sakai's).

As the realization that we shared significant strategic challenges became more apparent it became clear to me (and I think many of my colleagues in that room that day) that there was significant strategic value in coming together to work on them rather than continuing down separate but parallel paths.  Possibly more importantly, coming together would create a more stable and viable organization that over time would attract other communities and projects to join us, further expanding our collective resources (funding, talent, knowledge, etc.).  Of course, with new projects comes new work for the Foundation which places a drain on resources but as any successfully business leader knows, as you scale you can leverages the efficiencies that come with it as means to grow your net resources.  Although it would not be appropriate for me to share specifics, we have had a number of other projects engage in discussions about joining Apereo which I see as a positive indication that the merger will lead to something more than just "Jaisig+Sakai".  Such an organization, in my opinion, would be better able to weather the storms of the future which has been and remains a real issue given the continued resource constraints that higher education is experiencing and will likely experience for some time.  

I recognize that what I've shared in the second set of comments is a bit intangible and it is hard to place a dollar figure on the value of working together to address such strategic challenges.  What I can say is that I think most of us who dedicate time and effort in open source projects have come to understand and recognize the intangible value that comes with a community effort and the power that community can bring to overcoming challenges.  Now, one could argue that Jasig and Sakai could work together on these challenges without merging but I think that has been the case since the two organizations formed and although some collaboration has happened we've not seen a strong strategic alliance around these types of challenges.  By coming together I believe that we will create a new framework that has been missing in the past and which will lead to strategically powerful collaborations across our diverse communities.

My final comment is just to note that I've obviously not spoken here to the potential value that might be derived from Jasig and Sakai projects and communities working together on development efforts, etc. which I took from your email is something you've considered but have not felt would not be realized.  Although I hope and believe that we will see cross-community efforts over time, I feel that this will only be successful it if happens organically and is driven by the individuals who are contributing to these efforts (although I see a role for the Foundation to facilitate such collaboration).  As a result, I am more focused on the value that will be derived from the benefits I've discussed above but do not mean that to discount the potential that leveraging the work of several projects could bring.

 I hope that your posting and this reply will stimulates our communities to more significantly engage around this important strategic issues as quite frankly we would all benefit from a more diverse dialog.

Josh

-----------------------------
Joshua Baron
Senior Academic Technology Officer
Marist College
Poughkeepsie, New York  12601
(845) 575-3623 (work)
Twitter: JoshBaron




From:        Chris Coppola <ch...@rsmart.com>
To:        jasig-sakai-...@googlegroups.com,
Date:        04/05/2012 10:04 AM
Subject:        Re: Jasig and Sakai Release Merger-Related Documentation for Review and Comment
Sent by:        jasig-sakai-...@googlegroups.com




Jonathan Markow

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Apr 23, 2012, 9:36:15 AM4/23/12
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About eighteen months ago, when I was still executive director of Jasig, I remember walking into a Jasig/Sakai Strategic Alliance Committee meeting wondering if our two groups would come to agreement on the key issues that might lead to a successful merger.  It was our first joint meeting following a couple of months of less formal conversation and planning.  

After working together for many years, developing close professional relationships and friendships with Sakai colleagues, I had a strong sense that the two organizations would be closely aligned in several important areas.  Their similar approaches to open source processes, governance, and community development, and their shared values of transparency, meritocracy, and wide international adoption seemed to be good starting points for a harmonious union.  In addition, both organizations were taking a practical approach to software development.  The unique combination of broad volunteer collaboration punctuated by periods of funded, managed development was accepted by both groups as a good way to ensure continued progress.

What's more, it was plain to see that the two organizations complemented each other in ways that could add to their collective strength--Jasig's experiences developing a project incubation process and nurturing communities of practice, and Sakai's successful inclusion of functional stakeholders are some good examples.  

Beyond these similarities, though, I was unprepared for how smoothly the talks went.  Both groups raised concerns about a possible merger, including issues around branding and identity, reconciliation of finances, and combining membership models.  In all cases voices were heard.  And while it was clear that resolving the issues would take time and effort, I think everyone came away with the positive feeling that, with the shared commitment and flexibility shown by the representatives of both organizations, we would arrive at satisfactory answers to these questions.  We left the two-day meeting with the conviction that the work ahead of us could lead to a strong and vibrant new community greater than the sum of its parts.

I left Jasig some months later, having accepted an offer to join the DuraSpace organization.  I've been following the Jasig/Sakai merger discussion since then, I've read the public documents and emails, and I'm very encouraged to see how work has progressed.  Jasig and Sakai have managed the merger planning process as they have individually undertaken other significant community events:  by taking a measured, thoughtful approach, soliciting feedback from all those who are interested in offering it, and putting forward a compelling vision for the future.

I am still very supportive of the merger.  I think the Apereo Foundation, lending its combined strength to help sustain the Sakai and Jasig initiatives, and reinforced by an expanding universe of other open source projects, will live up to its promise--that of a formidable organization offering higher education institutions new choices that are the fruit of their own collective creativity and effort.

-Jonathan Markow

Michael Feldstein

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Apr 28, 2012, 4:21:11 PM4/28/12
to Jasig Sakai Collaboration
I have written my expression of strong support for the merger on my
blog (http://mfeldstein.com/more-on-the-sakaijasig-merger/) and copy
it here for your convenience:

More on the Sakai/Jasig Merger


As I have mentioned here before, the Sakai and Jasig foundations are
in the process of evaluating a merger to create a kind of Apache
Foundation for higher education. The new organization would be called
the Apereo Foundation. The two communities will be voting on the
merger some time in the next month or so. Documentation and discussion
can be found here.

I’d like to tell you why I think this merger is vitally important for
higher education in general and Sakai in particular.


The Economics of Community Source

“Community source” is the label for a particular brand of open source
practiced by the Mellon Foundation-funded family of projects, most
prominently Sakai, Jasig, and Kuali. Its meaning has always been
somewhat fuzzy and has gotten more so over time as the communities
associated with those projects have grown and higher education’s
attitudes toward open source have evolved. But fuzziness aside, I do
think there is a certain attitude that infuses all of these projects
and has profound implications for their sustainability models.
Community source, as a movement, has stressed choice and independence
for schools rather than a desire to conquer a product category. In the
Sakai community, for example, there never was a strong sense that
Sakai should “win” in the market by “beating” other LMSs because it’s
the “best.” Rather, the community has tended to see itself as a group
of fellow travelers who are looking to build something together and
minimize their collective risk. As long as the project had enough
participants to be sustainable, they never worried too much about
growing market share.

The sustainability models of these communities reflect those values.
Ongoing development is funded primarily through direct contribution of
labor or funds from participating schools. There are dues paid, but
that money goes primarily toward maintaining the community rather than
the software. And you don’t have to pay dues to use the software. They
are strictly voluntary support for the community. There are commercial
affiliates who do contribute to the code, but there is no structure
binding their success and growth to the growth of resources for
developing the software, the way there is in Moodle.

Those models work well when the cost of the commercial entrants in the
product category are high and resource pooling makes economic sense.
In the early days of both Sakai and Jasig’s uPortal project, the
commercial entrants in the LMS and portal categories had pricing
power, and there was a sense that they were holding colleges and
universities hostage. It seemed worthwhile to the early investors to
put more money in up front so that they could gain control of their
destiny, and they could be assured that others would follow on at
lower investment levels because their contributions, while
significant, would be less than the license cost of the commercial
alternatives. Kuali enjoys this advantage today; the cost of
commercial ERP software, both in licensing and in implementation, is
so high that they have a compelling economic case to make even to
those schools that don’t particularly care about open source.

But pricing power for both portals and LMSs has dropped in recent
years as other viable open source and commodity private source
candidates have come onto the market. Also, as Sakai CLE and uPortal
have matured, the schools that have adopted them are more or less
satisfied (or, at least, satisficed), making it harder to get them to
invest in ongoing development. A commercial licensing or hosting fee
is something that’s easy to keep in a budget on an ongoing basis; a
developer, less so. These two factors have combined to make both Sakai
and Jasig sustainability brittle. While neither Sakai CLE nor Sakai
OAE is in any immediate danger, the threat of erosion of support below
a critical threshold is always there. These projects are not in the
red zone, but neither are they in the green.

The way these respective communities tend to deal with the problem is
to send their Executive Directors out to be salespeople and drum up
more financial commitments. In fact, the most common concern that I
hear voiced about the prospective merger is that the EDs will be
“distracted” from raising vital funds. But pushing the ED to focus on
squeezing out a few more commitments every quarter is a tactical
approach to a strategic problem. Unless the fundamental dynamics
change, the EDs will always be paddling upstream. We will never get
into the green that way. All we will do is raise the risk of burning
out good Executive Directors.

Affinity Marketing, the Sales Funnel, and Growing the Pie

I’d like to go back to a point I made in passing earlier in this post:
Dues paid to the foundations are voluntary support for the community.
I have been a Sakai Foundation Board member for several years now, and
a community member for more. I have heard many, many versions of the
same discussion: How can we increase the number of dues-paying members
by emphasizing the value of the community? The answer is simple:
Increase the value of the community. The Apereo Foundation, by
creating a brand separate from the individual projects but supported
by those project brands (in somewhat the same way that the Apache
Foundation’s brand is boosted by housing projects like Maven, Hadoop,
and ActiveMQ), could become the place that first comes to mind when
college and university folk think about collaborating around open
source software or related practices. It could attract more
participants. And it is my sense that the barrier to participate in an
open source project is the highest when it’s your first. Once you’ve
had a successful experience with one, you’re more likely to try another
—especially if some of the same folks are involved. There is great
value in building a strong community of practice around open source in
higher education. That value far transcends the value of any
particular project. As such, it can create a halo effect for projects
that are associated with the community.

The objection I typically hear at this point is that Apache has a
common audience of techies who are interested in the bottom portion of
the IT stack, where Sakai and Jasig do not have that common thread
with each other. In my view, that concern misses the point. The real
value is in creating common and neutral ground for higher education to
collaborate on open projects rather than to serve some particular set
of IT functions. Take the case of Blackboard, for example. When they
announced their intention of becoming more involved in the Sakai
community by hiring Chuck Severence, it stirred up a lot of concern.
It feels weird for Blackboard to be involved in Sakai because they are
long-time competitors in the LMS category. But it would be far less
weird for Blackboard (or Desire2Learn, or Instructure) to participate
in an Apereo Foundation, where they could, for example, contribute to
developing LTI-based teaching tools that could integrate with both
LMSs. More importantly, it would be less weird for Blackboard
customers to participate in Apereo on such projects. Likewise, it
would be easier for the IMS to build open source reference
implementations of new specifications that are housed in the Apereo
Foundation than in the Sakai Foundation. Some of these new projects
will have infrastructure requirements. You don’t need to develop your
own single sign-on software to tie a couple of ed tech applications
together with SSO, but it sure is convenient to have SSO experts in
your network. Apereo could be a premier place for schools to work
together on solving their end-to-end academic technology problems. As
such, the community could grow, both in numbers and in value. Some of
the new participants would join the Sakai or Jasig projects as they
got closer to them, thus boosting their sustainability without
requiring us to turn the Executive Director into a traveling salesman.
But even more importantly, the community itself would become valuable
to a wider range of schools regardless of which projects they do or do
not join. A rising tide lifts all boats.

I do not dismiss the questions I hear about the merger. There are many
important tactical details to work out. And precisely since these
projects are brittle (again, not under immediate threat, but not as
safely sustainable as anyone would like them to be), anxieties are
high. These concerns need to be addressed, and I am confident that
they will be. But let me be clear: I strongly believe that this path
is the most viable path to long-term sustainability for all of the
projects involved. If you are a believer in the benefits of Open, then
the best way to support it and prove out its value is to be open. The
health and robustness of the software is a second-order effect of the
health and robustness of the community.
> > Collaboration Google Group (see *
> >http://groups.google.com/group/jasig-sakai-collaboration*<http://groups.google.com/group/jasig-sakai-collaboration>
> > ).
>
> > *JASIG-SAKAI MERGER-RELATED DOCUMENTATION*
>
> > (1) *Proposed Transitional Apereo Membership Fee Structure *- This
> > document will provide the history, rationale and details associated with
> > the initial membership fee structure that is being proposed for the new
> > organization. Both the Jasig and Sakai Board of Directors endorsed this plan
> > .
>
> > (2) *The Value of a Common Foundation: A Case of Apereo* - This is the
> > third public release of this "living" document which discusses the
> > rationale and benefits associated with the merger and has been updated to
> > reflect prior comments and concerns from our communities.
>
> > (3)* Updated Apereo Bylaws* - This final draft of the bylaws has been
> > updated significantly since its initial release in August 2011 and has also
> > been endorsed by both the Jasig and Sakai Boards.
>
> > (4)* Jasig-Sakai Merger FAQ* - We have developed an FAQ based on the
> > questions and issues that our communities have raised over the past year
> > and will continue to add to it as additional questions are posed.
>
> > *All of these documents can now be found on the Apereo web site (**
> >http://www.apereo.org*<http://www.apereo.org/>*)* although it should
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