Sakai (software)

This article is about the software project. For other uses, see Sakai.
Stable release
10.2 / October 14, 2014 (2014-10-14) [1]
Written in Java
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in 19 languages (ar, ca, de, en, es, eu, fr, it, ja, ko, mn, nl, pl, pt, ru, sv, tr, vi, zh),[2][3]
Type Course Management System
License Educational Community License

Sakai is a free, community source, educational software platform designed to support teaching, research and collaboration. Systems of this type are also known as Course Management Systems (CMS), Learning Management Systems (LMS), or Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). Sakai is developed by a community of academic institutions, commercial organizations and individuals. It is distributed under the Educational Community License (a type of open source license).

The Sakai Project's software is a Java-based, service-oriented application suite that is designed to be scalable, reliable, interoperable and extensible. Version 1.0 was released in March 2005.

In September 2012, Sakai was estimated to be in production at over 300 institutions and being piloted by considerably more. A list with many of these is available (old list).


The development of Sakai was originally funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation as the Sakai Project. The early versions of the software were based on existing tools created by the founding institutions, with the largest piece coming from the University of Michigan's "CHEF" course management system. "Sakai" is a play on the word “chef,” and refers to Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai.[4]

The original institutions started meeting in February 2004. Each institution had built a custom course management system:

In 2005 Indiana University moved all of its legacy systems to the Sakai implementation OnCourse. On October 5, 2007, the University of Virginia announced that it will be implementing Sakai throughout the university instead of the ToolKit.

Once the first version of Sakai became publicly available, the original five institutions invited other institutions to join through the "Sakai Partners Program". The partner institutions contributed to the program financially and by submitting code to the project. Blackboard is beginning to experience Sakai as a serious competitor.[5]

As the project phase neared completion in 2005, the Sakai Project set up a foundation to oversee the continued work on Sakai. In 2006 the Sakai Foundation named Dr. Charles Severance, who previously had served as Chief Architect, as its first Executive Director. On July 24, 2007 Dr. Severance stepped down as Executive Director, and Michael Korcuska was selected by the Sakai Foundation to fill the role. Following Michael's departure in February 2010, Lois Brooks became interim Executive Director, with Ian Dolphin, a former Sakai Project Board member becoming Executive Director in August 2010. Development work is currently supported by community members (resources provided by academic institutions and commercial affiliates as well as individual volunteers) and the Sakai Foundation.

Sakai collaboration and learning environment - software features

The Sakai software includes many of the features common to course management systems, including document distribution, a gradebook, discussion, live chat, assignment uploads, and online testing.

In addition to the course management features, Sakai is intended as a collaborative tool for research and group projects. To support this function, Sakai includes the ability to change the settings of all the tools based on roles, changing what the system permits different users to do with each tool. It also includes a wiki, mailing list distribution and archiving, and an RSS reader. The core tools can be augmented with tools designed for a particular application of Sakai. Examples might include sites for collaborative projects, teaching and portfolios.

Sakai community and foundation

The Sakai community is an international alliance of universities, colleges and commercial affiliates working with standards organizations and other open-source software initiatives to develop and freely distribute enterprise software applications using Sakai's community-source approach. Many institutions in the Sakai community are members of the Foundation, but joining the Sakai Foundation is not required to use the software or participate in the community.

The Sakai Foundation is a member-based, non-profit corporation. It encourages community-building between individuals, academic institutions, non-profits and commercial organizations and provides its members with an institutional framework for their projects. The Foundation also works to promote the wider adoption of community-source and open standards approaches to software solutions within the education and research communities.

In October 2010, the Sakai Foundation announced its intention to merge with Jasig,[6][7] another organization supporting the development of open source software for education. The resulting Apereo Foundation, founded in December 2012, took over stewardship of Sakai development.[8] This includes the organization of the international annual conference now known as the Open Apereo Conference.[9] Additional, regional conferences take place in China, Japan, Australia, Europe and South Africa, and there is an annual Sakai Virtual Conference.[10]


Sakai is mainly in use at universities. Major releases happen in July or August, in order to allow institutions to upgrade before the new academic year, and many of them do.


Branch Original
release date
Version Version
release date
Support Model Release notes
Old version, no longer supported: 1.0.x ? 1.0.0 ? EOL (Maintained from XX to XX ?) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 1.5.x ? 1.5.1 ? EOL (Maintained from XX to XX ?) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.0.x 15 June 2005 2.0.1 2005 EOL (Maintained from XX to XX ?) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.1.x December 2005 2.1.2 12 April 2006 EOL (Maintained from December 2005 to November 2006 ?) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.2.x 19 July 2006 2.2.3 12 February 2007 EOL (Maintained from July 2006 to May 2007 ?) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.3.x 3 November 2006 2.3.2 21 May 2007 EOL (Maintained from November 2006 to March 2008 ?) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.4.x 21 May 2007 2.4.1 21 September 2007 EOL (Maintained from May 2007 to July 2009) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.5.x 20 March 2008 2.5.6 28 January 2010 EOL (Maintained from March 2008 to June 2010) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.6.x 22 July 2009 2.6.3 26 August 2010 EOL (Maintained from July 2009 to April 2011) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.7.x 11 June 2010 2.7.2 10 September 2011 EOL (Maintained from June 2010 to November 2012) URL
Old version, no longer supported: 2.8.x 18 April 2011 2.8.3 15 February 2013 EOL (Maintained from April 2011 to June 2014) URL
Older version, yet still supported: 2.9.x 9 November 2012 2.9.3 19 August 2013 EOL (Maintained from November 2012 to ?) URL
Current stable version: 10.x 30 June 2014 10.7 19 April 2015 Active (Maintained from June 2014 to ?) URL
Current stable version: 11.x 23 July 2016 11.1 14 September 2016 Active (Maintained from July 2016 to ?) URL
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

See also



External links

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