There’s an important point about the the forthcoming Sakai 3 that probably has escaped most casual observers. It is close to a ground-up rewrite. Sakai 3 is to Sakai 2 as Mac OS X was to Mac OS 9, in the following ways:
- The technological heart (or kernel) of the new version is completely different from the old version.
- That kernel leapfrogs many current-generation architectures (which are really aging legacy architectures, for the most part) for software of its category.
- Some of the applications that run on the old version will be able to run on the new version with some modest to moderate development.
- Other applications on the old system will have to be completely re-implemented on the new system.
- Still other applications could run on the new system with some tweaking (and probably will for a couple of versions), but they will seem awkward in the new environment until they are re-implemented.
- Users who have lots of apps that they want to carry over in the old environment will probably want to run that old environment together with the new one in some sort of co-existence mode. New adoptees will care less about that and skip co-existence mode, provided that the new system has the apps that they need.
- At some point, co-existence mode will go away and adoptees will have to migrate to the new system to stay current. How current adoptees respond to this transition will be largely a function of how well the migration path is done, but some users who are attached to the way the old system worked will have trouble letting go regardless.
- The first release is likely to have some very impressive capabilities as well as some feature gaps and rough edges. It will be suitable for full replacement use by some, for piloting by others, while still others will want to wait for another release or two. (Whether the 2010 milestone release of Sakai 3 is more like OS X 10.0 or 10.1 in this respect remains to be seen.)
- The new kernel will likely enable accelerated innovation and impressive progress from release to release, with feature gaps getting filled quickly and new capabilities that nobody has seen before coming too.
I think there is a good chance that, within a few releases, Sakai 3 will be a trend-setter in its category much like Mac OS X is.