Writing software that supports teaching, learning and collaboration is far more than just a job. Since teaching and learning are some of the most fundamental human activities, we all have a vested interest in teaching and learning software. Discussions about the design of teaching and learning software can evoke passions from virtually everyone involved in the process. Passions run high and the stakes are high. On most college campuses, the software to support teaching and learning (Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, etc.) is used more often than any other campus software. Student and teacher lives revolve around the software. A significant outage of a course management system in the last few weeks of class is likely to produce howls of anger from students, teachers, and administrators alike.
Building an open source product and community around the Sakai Learning Management System was far from a mere technical activity. This book is about that journey of making open source software and deriving and changing the rules as to how we would make that software as we went along. It is about software developers, managers, designers, and end users all dropped into a crucible and put under pressure to make something great and do so in record time.